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“Running is about finding your inner peace, and so is a life well lived!” – Dean Karnazes

Whether you’re preparing for 4, 12, 21, or 42 km, we know you want to give yourself the best possible chance to finish the race with a smile on your face. Many elite runners, including ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes, rely on yoga to help get them over the finish line.

For those of you who haven’t heard of him, Dean Karnazes has completed some insane distance events. He finished 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days and ran to the South Pole without snowshoes. He also swam across the San Francisco Bay.

As Dean has discovered, yoga complements the intense running training required of distance athletes. So when the opportunity arose, partnering with Myall Wellbeing seemed like a natural step for this year’s Chevron City to Surf for Activ.

Here’s how yoga can help you become a better, stronger, and faster runner:

Strength

Yoga is an incredible way to improve your strength (and balance) without even realising you’re doing so. The flows in Vinyasa classes will challenge your core, your legs and your arms, while highlighting any imbalances along the way.

Developing your strength as you move through the poses mimics the way that you’ll use the muscles as you run. The movements are fluid, repetitive and don’t stress the muscles in the same way that going to the gym might – making it the perfect addition to your training schedule.

Moving purposefully and slowly through the poses strengthens and tones all the muscles you need for running. You’ll think about how your body is tracking as you move, while being reminded to “keep your hips facing forward”, “make sure your neck and shoulders are relaxed” and “gaze straight ahead”.

Remember to tone down the intensity of your yoga sessions during bigger training weeks! You don’t want to overdo it.

Running Posture

Holding your shoulders up around your ears is a common mistake made by runners, especially those who work at a desk. Tensing your shoulders this way will cause your arms to swing across your body (side-to-side). This inefficiency will make you more fatigued over the course of the race.

A regular yoga practice can help you to create muscle memory that draws the shoulders away from the ears and allows them to loosen down the length of the spine. Your yoga instructor will help you reset your posture by developing awareness of what your body is doing and stabilising your shoulder muscles.

Learning this awareness in yoga class and practicing the correct posture, especially when you’re fatigued, is the best way to banish high shoulders for good!

Relieving Soreness

Sore knees and ankles occur when your connective tissues, your tendons, become irritated and inflamed. Asymmetries in the body may cause your body to overcompensate – resulting in soreness that you don’t want, need or deserve.

For instance, knee pain during or after running is often caused by an irritated IT band. The interesting thing is soreness or weaknesses in other areas of your body, especially your glutes, calves, quads, or psoas, are frequently to blame for a sore ITB.

Yin yoga is a particular type of yoga that is really good for slowly and gently releasing irritated connective tissue – like those sore IT bands!

In a Yin Yoga class, you can expect to hold the poses for 45 seconds to a few minutes. For runners, holding poses for this amount of time can provide relief for sore leg and lower back muscles and tendons.

Experts say that your yin yoga practice can mean fewer injuries, better running form and even faster times.

Mental Focus

Yoga is a great way to practice breathing through it when the going gets tough. It gives you an avenue to practice focussing on the task at hand and clearing your mind of uncomfortable and unhelpful thoughts.

The ability to clear your mind and focus on running becomes very important when your body is screaming at you to stop.  Practicing breathing through tough times means you’ll be ready when you hit the wall or during your last push to the finish line.

So if you’d prefer to run 10km than to hold pigeon pose for 3 minutes, yoga will challenge your mind and body in new and interesting ways that will be beneficial during tough runs.

Better Breathing

Runners should be belly breathing during their runs. Belly breathing is when you breathe deeply – so it feels like you’re breathing into your belly. This type of breathing also relies on your core to squeeze out the breath.

If you don’t practice belly breathing, you might revert to hyperventilated breathing when you get tired. This type of breathing is where you breathe using only the upper part of your chest. Breathing like this can lead to stitches, excess stress on the body, and general discomfort throughout your run.

Yoga can teach you to use your breath as a tool. Practicing belly breathing in these classes encourages your body to naturally breathe this way while you run.

Deals for Perth City to Surf Participants

Myall Wellbeing are excited to help as many Perth City to Surf participants over the line as they can. If you’ve signed up for the CTS, you can access a $12 yoga class or a $49 massage through the Myall website.

The classes cater to people of all levels and are available at various times throughout the week – including lunchtime sessions. And Myall studio is conveniently located on St George’s Terrace, so there really are no excuses!

If you don’t have time to squeeze in a class before the event, get on board afterwards. Myall have generously extended the offer through to 30 September.