Running is one of those sports where there is a million and one fads, trends, ideologies, specialists that tout that their methods are best and if you follow you will run faster.
I am guilty at times of falling into the “golden ticket” trap too, so no worries, this is not a post that is putting myself on a pedestal while all others are considered flawed.
While most of the “experts” or latest research have valid points…I have found personally to fall flat on several and never really commit to the long term. I am a big believer that developing a “life style” approach is much better than chasing what is trending right now only to give it up in a month or two, (this is true for my nutrition philosophy as well…I either have clients who love me, because they see nutrition as a life long endeavor or I get clients who want to lose weight NOW and don’t have time for my silly antics).
Side tracked and now I’m back! 😉
I do know something that has been a surefire way for me to gain speed and I am not the only one that is reaping major gains by partaking in this activity.
Are you ready?
Do this and you will get faster
Yoga is great for flexibility, strength, mental strength/conditioning, and a whole slew of other things.
Why do I believe yoga makes you faster?
- You are stretching during yoga. It is a proven fact that muscles perform better if they are properly stretched. I know from personal experience that if I do yoga after a hard work-out I am much more likely, (99% likely) to feel ready for action much quicker than if I skip any form of stretching at all.
- Yoga not only keeps you limber, it works on breath. Breath is huge in races. My last race, (a 5K where I PR’d by A LOT) I was working hard…but, I felt really in control of my breath. I have been practicing on controlling breath for so long now that it becomes second nature when I need it the most. If you are in a more relaxed state, breathing easy, you are less likely to get to that point of no return where you feel like you are bonking. I really saw this at Boston too. In fact, I had someone tell me who was running next to me that my breath was calming 😉 I thought that was the best compliment!
- If you are stronger, you will naturally be faster. Yoga has been a great way for me to gain strength. I know nothing can take the place of actual weight lifting in the gym. But, if you are a mom like me that rarely gets a moment to eat sitting down; then the choice between choosing weights or strength through yoga, yoga wins every time.
- If you doubt yoga’s ability to make you stronger, try Tara Stiles yoga video listed bellow. I do both routines at least 5 x’s/week. My plank has improved immensely and my arms are the most sculpted they’ve been ever, (which is not something I was aiming for, it just naturally happened).
- When I chose yoga over any other activity aside from running, I naturally tend to eat better. I think this stems from not feeling as willing to bend and stretch if you are bloated/distended and yoga just tends to make you naturally more mindful. Why is this going to help with speed? Your body is like a car, (go with me) if you put fuel in it that was designed to make it perform optimally than chances are speed will follow. You wouldn’t put saw dust in your car? or try to drive on empty, (eating too few calories or nutrient dense foods)…the analogies both apply.
- If you are still doubting yoga’s ability to make you a speedier running please check out Ann over at Runners Love Yoga. She is a shining example of yoga producing a speedier runner. On her site she offers DVD’s for purchase so that you don’t have to attempt a yoga flow solo at home. I also recently discovered that she has great singlets to buy and they are light weight, great for the heat, and are super flattering!
While being speedy is great…the biggest reason I will ALWAYS choose yoga is that it brings me closer to people that genuinely make this world a better place just by being in it! Jen, Carly…you know I adore you both!
Last night I got to attend a yoga class outdoors at sunset. I couldn’t have asked for a better evening with a better group of people putting peace and love out into the universe.
This morning when I was running my prescribed double run, (9 in the am and 3 in the pm) I was blown away by how great I felt in spite of pushing my two littles, (who are not so little) in my double stroller. I chalk it up to yoga!