Two for Tuesday : A back-to-back workout for runners
I winced, coupled with a swift exhalation of breath and a small hiss of pain as I felt a sharp stretch in my hamstrings. “That’s better”, said the yoga instructor as she corrected my downright awful downward dog. Yep, Yoga. In case you didn’t already know, range-of-movement is not my strong point. In fact, it’s probably the weakest area of my running. So tonight I went to yoga.
I’ve known for some time that yoga has great benefits for runners, flexibility, core strength and balance just to name a few, but I’ve just never really got around to doing it properly. I’ve done the odd class here or there over the years, but I’ve never seen it as an addition to my training schedule. Well, it turns out the gym I have been a member at for a year has yoga classes. Who knew? I learned this yesterday, thanks entirely to my girlfriend joining my gym on Sunday and immediately booking herself into classes for the next seven days. Including the Tuesday night yoga class.
Come this evening I was at home and about to go out for my run when I realised I’d be finishing about the same time that my girlfriend’s yoga class would be starting. I recalled a comments exchange I had with Angela of mindmargins.wordpress.com where she told me yoga was a favourite exercise of hers and recommended I try it. Plus my girlfriend has been doing yoga for years and has excellent flexibility. I asked her if she would mind if I joined the class also, and could set up my mat behind her so I could copy her in the moves. Complete newbie thing to do I know, but the best way to learn is to ‘see’ and then ‘do’.
I turned up at my gym after my run, found the yoga studio and nervously entered. Turned out I was the first person there and was able to talk to the instructor where she reassured me that as a newbie she would go easy on me (Liar!) and that I would be fine. Well, every single muscle and joint which had been slowly building up gripes as I peak for the marathon let me know of their existence during the class. And every single one was stretched, pushed, pulled and twisted in all the right ways. Unsurprisingly to me, poses requiring hamstring and calf elongation were the most difficult for me (and therefore most useful for my running), however I was pleasantly surprised how well I was able to cope with the balance poses and the ones requiring core and upper body strength. All that cross training must be doing the job!
Going to a yoga class straight after a short run was a revelation for me. It’s basically an hour of stretching with some strength/balance work thrown in as a bonus. I did more hamstring stretches in all the downward dogs than I do in a normal week, not to mention the other areas stretched in other poses. Overall, a fantastic way to complement a run and get a back-to-back workout in for a Tuesday. Next weeks session is already booked in and you never know, I might just make this a habit.
Who else does Yoga or Pilates as part of their exercise routine? Do you find it helps with your running?
Happy running everyone!
Get Going, Get Running!