Posts

3 Reasons to add YOGA to your Weekly Training Program

Nicole Grace completed the Florence Marathon in 2014 – she learnt many lessons along the way. Below is her story…

As a marathon runner I know how important a well-balanced training program needs to be. I have been guilty of over-training, under-recovering and not listening to the warning signs my body was giving me, to the detriment of my health. During the peak of my marathon training I was more concerned about pounding the pavement, interval training and climbing more hills. Replenishing, restoring and nourishing my body (and mind!) was never a priority. Sure, I used to stretch before and after runs and completed the ocassional strength and yoga class – but it wasn’t enough for a well-balanced programme.

Fast forward a few years later, with hindsight on my side and the knowledge I now have as a Yoga Teacher, I have no doubt that if I had included a weekly yoga practice into my training and integrated the tools of yoga into my life, not only would I have been a better athlete, I would still be running today.

Injuries and mental burnout inhibit the athlete’s ability to consistently train and progress. Athletes ranging from novice to elite (across all sporting disciplines) are turning to yoga to offset these challenges.

Below are 3 key reasons that support the benefits of yoga:

  • Physical Benefits
    Endurance athletes spend the majority of their time in the forward moving plane of movement. Runners and cyclists propel their bodies forward through recruitment of the hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. Swimmers propel their bodies forward through the repetitive movement of rotating the shoulders, utilizing the chest muscles, upper/mid back muscles, and the core. The repetitive nature of these sports (overusing some muscles while underusing others) put the body at risk for muscular imbalances, which could eventually result in injury and poor performance. Yoga restores balance and symmetry to the body, making it the perfect complement to runners and athletes.
  • Mental Benefits
    Endurance sports take an incredible amount of focus, persistence, patience, and adaptability. An athlete can be in the best shape of his or her life, but if on race day their head is not it, neither will their body be. The practice of yoga improves mental focus by utilising both the breath and the body as an anchor for the mind. The practitioner becomes more aware of their own thoughts as they improve their ability to be fully present with their body and breath. Yoga teaches the individual to stay calm, focus, and breathe with whatever shows up on their mat, and athletes can certainly take these skills with them into their sport when the going gets tough.
  • Improved Breathing
    Lung capacity is of prime importance for runners and endurance athletes because it creates the ability to maintain an even breathing pattern through all phases of running. The better the lung capacity, the more oxygen is circulated through the system, which is most helpful for running long and strong. However, the breathing pattern used in running and other forms of aerobic exercise involves quick and shallow inhalations and exhalations. This uses only the top portion of the lungs, leaving the middle and lower portions untouched. Yogic breathing involves slow, deep inhalations and long exhalations, making use of the upper, middle, and lower portions of the lungs. Yogic breathing has been shown to increase lung capacity, and greater lung capacity increases endurance and improves overall athletic performance.

Nicole Grace
Nicole is a Yoga Teacher at Holistic Movement Studio in Collaroy. She is passionate about working with runners and endurance athletes to create a balanced approach to their training.

Resources: Yoga for the Endurance Athlete (Sarah Oliver) | Yoga for Runners (Christine Felstaed)

➺ Click here for details of our 10-week Yoga-FIT program

Ready for a Marathon?

I often get asked “Do you think I can run a marathon?” My answer – “if you can run a half-marathon, you can run a marathon!”  Trust me, this is not a case of me saying…”Rah, rah you can do it if you set your mind to it!” (Which of course is very true.) Marathons are hard! They are humbling. They are physically exhausting. They will break you physically and mentally.

But with the right training and preparation, a marathon is THE most special experience ever. Words cannot express that feeling of crossing the line and achieving something incredibly special. It is something that everyone should experience in their life.

So what does it take to be ready for a marathon? Here are my top-5 tips for considering a marathon:

  • Run consistently for at least a year. Your body is better prepared – it is stronger, more efficient and will be able to adapt to the demands of the sport. On the flipside, if you are starting from a fairly sedentary level, you will be vulnerable to injury that could prevent you from running for months (or years).
  • Commitment. Training for a marathon takes approximately 20 weeks. During which you are running 4-days per week. The days you are not running, you need to focus on strength training.
  • Buy-in from your family. Goes without saying – you will need the support from your family. They will need to be there to cover things for you when you are out training, or let you rest up after a long run. It’s a big ask – but it’s not often you run a marathon.
  • Awareness of the risks. The marathon is a big distance and not to be taken lightly. Injuries are very common. It is important to follow a periodised training program that includes body maintenance (rest days/weeks), strength training and biomechanical check-ups.
  • How bad do you want this? If this is something that you’ve always wanted to do; get excited talking about it; get butterflies in your tummy thinking about it; dream about doing it… then it is definitely a ‘HELL YES’ moment!

You will be a fundamentally changed person. You will discover the marathon is one of the mostlife affirming experiences you’ve ever had.

 


“The marathon was everything I hoped it would be and more! If any of you are thinking about doing a marathon, I would say do it! You will certainly find out what you are made of. The lessons it taught me about determination and perseverance will never be forgotten. If you believe in yourself you can do anything!”

Peita Hillman, New York Marathoner 2016


“What a fabulous run I had yesterday competing in the New York Marathon. I’m so proud to have ticked off one of the world’s major marathons (only 5 left to go). The crowds the entire way were amazing. They really made you feel as though you were a celebrity and their energy was honestly the best! Everyone needs to DO a marathon in their lifetime! Everyone! I finished the race by running past another Aussie in Central Park. I said “C’mon Aussie, we have 2.5kms to go you can’t walk now. Just go left, right, left, right”. We did it! I’m such a proud marathoner! The best bucket list tick ever!”

Sarah Jefferson, New York Marathoner 2016


“Self-belief and hard work got me to the start line. I committed to my tested plan and drew in the energy of the awesome NY crowd.  I was high-5’ing and blowing them kisses. The thrill of the experience is hard to describe as the body and mind were constantly battling each other. Yesterday I ran out of my comfort zone and had the time of my life! I am a marathoner… a very happy one!”

Sue Addison, New York Marathoner 2016 

 

RUN BETTER Workshop

We’re thrilled that Dave Robertson (Robbo) is able to make himself available to deliver his highly recognised Run Better workshop. Designed & delivered by Robbo himself, a qualified physiotherapist, you will come away with loads of professional advice on running anatomy, skills, drills & prevention/management of running injuries. Suitable for anyone who wants to become a better runner – first-timers to ironman-triathletes.

If you are struggling with your running and are looking for expert advice on how to improve your technique and performance, then this workshop is for you.

Date: Friday 13 March

Time: 6-7.30am

Cost: First-time program $110 | Refresher program $70.

Limited to 10 x participants.

More info: http://beautyofexercise.com.au/portfolio-item/run-workshop/