I’m a runner. I love it (not so much when it’s raining and very cold, but I still go out). This is why I’ve recently started going to yoga classes in Wicklow.
I’ve talked before about running. Recently though I’ve found myself obsessing about injuries, or more to the point, about avoiding them. This is where Yoga comes in.
Us runners are a fragile breed. Running alone leaves you prone to injuries. Some muscles are overly developed and others are not targeted enough. This is why cross training is important. For some that means cycling or swimming. For me it means yoga. There is sound logic behind it too.
Ask any runner how important stretching is and they will tell you it is absolutely essential. Ask a physio how important core strength is for preventing injury and you will get a similar answer.
Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise for a runner. There is plenty of focus on flexibility and stretching while at the same time developing core strength. In fact it is not just runners that benefit from yoga. Plenty of athletes from all sports now make yoga part of their routine.
Yoga opens you up. In my case I have very tight shoulders and yoga is helping to loosen them up which in turn helps improve my movement. That means that I run with better motion, while at the same time lessening the chances of injuring my shoulders by forcing them to do things they are too tight to do while running.
When I started running I was surprised by just how much you use your arms. I’m not sure if that is because of the hills of Wicklow (my kingdom for some flat ground to run on!) or whether its running in general. Either way, yoga is making a big difference to how my arms feel the day after a run. In fact my whole posture is improving, and not just for running. I also don’t have any more ITB (iliotibial band syndrome) problems. My back is strengthening and I feel altogether more robust.
It was after reading an article in one of the running magazines that I decided to try yoga. Happily, there was an open day on in a new yoga studio in Wicklow that weekend, so I signed up. I was a little nervous, being a man, but Claire, the instructor was brilliant at putting me at my ease.
What I wasn’t expecting from the classes was the mental side of it. Yoga is already helping me become more focussed when I run. I’ll never be a top athlete, but I now run with ever increasing confidence and enjoy it more.