I’m guessing that many of my readers who came to my blog for the running-related posts may grow tired of all the yoga posts of late. I will admit that the distribution between the two has gotten a tad off-balance. But there is good reason — I think.
The main reason for my step back from running, as you may remember, was my bilateral ankle tendonitis following the Boston to Big Sur Challenge. My ankles are still so vulnerable over a year later. I honestly do not know how those of you who do multiple marathons in a year and/or ultra-marathons do it. I am so thankful that I had some sort of physical activity to keep me active. Although not quite the cardiovascular workout that I have been accustomed to for the majority of my life, it certainly has proved to be an awesome workout.
Even before my injury, when I first rolled out my mat, my goal was stretching my overworked legs. I felt that improved flexibility could only translate to reduced risk of injury. If, in the process, I gained a little more strength in my core that would be a bonus. But I soon found that there is much more to this practice of yoga then initially thought — especially for athletes like myself. This was far more than what I got out the Yoga for Athletes video that I pulled out now and again over the past years.
I recently came across this article on the topic of athletes and yoga. I think it does a nice job of listing out the benefits in a way that the athlete-minded individual can relate to — well, except for the last point. I honestly feel that point should not have been included, even if truthful. In my humble opinion yoga studios, and fitness centers for that matter, are sacred places for cultivating the mind and body. *sigh* I digress.
Strength, balance, flexibility, and mental control are all beneficial to athletic performance. The benefits of strength, balance, and flexibility are obvious. However, establishing a mind-body connection through the asanas or poses, as well as meditation, is invaluable to performance and injury prevention. I speak from experience — though limited.
That said, my step back from running has proved detrimental to my weigh. Although the gain has only been a few pounds, it is huge in my little body. I see it in the mirror and I feel it on the run. For me (it may be different for others), it is essential to maintain your other activities (i.e. running, cycling). In the coming months, I hope to pick up the pace so-to-speak and see if I can’t leave these unwanted pounds in the dust.
See you out there.
Thanks for discussing this. After my next half marathon in two weeks I will be taking a hiatus from racing and have been looking at my options. I was thinking about putting yoga into the mix, but not just yoga. I’ll still run, just not train for races. I’m concerned about the weight gain as well. I’m 5ft 3in and any weight gain shows up right away. I’m thinking about seeking the advice from a nutritionist.
I found myself with what was probably tendonitis in my ankles too (I’m NOT cut out for minimalist shoes). After learning the incredible importance of core strength & stretching, I think I’ll be dealing with sensitive ankles forever…likely due to letting it go too far (& I also believe some injuries don’t go away 100%). Yoga has been a wonderful thing for myself & my running.