As a runner, you hear a lot about the benefits of yoga and pilates. They are supposed to be excellent ways of building core strength and flexibility, both of which are hugely beneficial, if not essential for running. These are two things that I have ignored since starting running though, and I have really begun to pay the price.
Following a hamstring injury earlier this year and a couple of months off running I have failed to build my speed back up to quite what it was, and my calves have grown increasingly tight and uncomfortable. A recent physio session confirmed the problem and recommended regular stretching. Therefore I have decided to have a go at yoga.
My mum was very into yoga during her thirties and forties and used to get up at 5am to salute the sun. I had a go at some of the poses, but I was far more into vodka and punk rock at the time and so never really tried it properly. I remeber my mum being very bendy though (she can still effortlessly place the back of her hands on the floor, with straight legs) and so I know that it can work. Having previously tried a couple of yoga classes and found them incredibly dull I have opted for the DIY version – googling poses for runners. Some of the poses I am familiar with, some I am not, but it is easy to find videos online to make sure that you are doing them properly.
I’m not sure how good an idea it is to do this without proper guidance from a yoga instructor, but as I am not one for wishy-washy music and insense sticks, DIY yoga will have to do for now. I’ll just have my mum check my technique (if you can call it that) out next time I visit.
I have been doing the following sequence of poses from this Runners’ World video.
3. low lunge
6. happy baby
I have been trying to do these poses every day for the last half a week and so far I don’t feel any bendier. My pigeon pose does not bear any resemblance to the elegant instructor in the pictures or in the video. It looks like road kill. My back leg abolsutely refuses to stretch behind me. I am therefore using some beginners variations for the time being, which means placing the backleg to the side instead. I’ve got the happy baby pose bang on though.