Scheduling 101, I’m getting better at this….slowly!

How To Get In A Daily Run, No Matter How Crazy-Busy You Are

We all have that one friend we secretly believe must not sleep because how else could they possibly work full-time, volunteer, stay in amazing shape through daily runs and do it all with style? Sure, they may have super powers, but it’s much more likely they’re getting a full night of sleep because they know it’s crucial to helping them perform their best at everything they do.

So if you also want to become a superhero who manages to run every day, here are five more ways to make sure your workouts happen:

1. Dedicate time and make a daily commitment.

Maybe you love the idea of running a marathon, but your current work and family obligations already have you feeling frenzied. Instead of overbooking yourself and insisting you register for a race, plan a training schedule and juggle other responsibilities, be honest with yourself and only commit to things you can truly give 100% to. If you don’t, it’s a surefire way to find yourself skipping out on runs.

If you aren’t ready to commit to the training schedule, don’t beat yourself up — just readjust your current plan. Maybe you can squeeze in enough workouts to train for a 5 or 10K. Even though these are shorter races, having a more attainable goal will keep you committed to daily runs, and you can use these to build up to a marathon when you do have the time.

2. Plan to win.

There’s a reason the quote, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” is so popular … because it’s true. Similarly to the first thing on this list, if you don’t take the time to plan and commit to a daily run, chances are you won’t do it. This goes beyond having a training plan; make sure to take additional steps to head off any obstacles:

  • Keep a gym bag in your car or at your desk with running clothes so you’re always ready.
  • Know your travel/weekend schedule and shift workouts to accommodate other plans if something comes up.
  • Schedule time with friends when it won’t impede getting your run done (but do schedule it!).

3. Savor your rest days.

If you’re one of the dedicated runners who feels a rest day is simply a waste of good energy, remember you can actually use this day to do other things and think of it as a reset for the following week. It’s time for your body to heal, to plan your training and meals, and treat yourself to some well-earned relaxation.

If you just can’t sit still, why not try a non-running way to get your body moving? Maybe spend some time hiking, paddle boarding or going on a bike ride. Days when you aren’t training give you more time to enjoy free time with other people whose support ultimately makes you a stronger runner.

4. Have an accountability partner.

Being part of a running group can make your runs more interesting, encourage you to push your pace and get you more involved in the entire running community. But having a single running partner can be even more beneficial. Imagining them standing on a corner as the sun rises, waiting for you to appear is the ultimate way to make sure you don’t hit snooze a second time.

5. Embrace morning runs.

I know half of you groaned just reading this tip, but it’s true. The busier your life, the easier it is to skip a run later in the day. There are the rare few who will always run, even if the only time they have to spare is late at night, but if you tell yourself you’ll run after work and then don’t, it’s time to embrace the morning.

Studies show that morning runners are more productive and make healthier choices throughout the rest of the day. I think it’s the endorphins, but maybe it’s just because they’ve started their day by enjoying the world before everyone has woken up and the noise of life has truly begun.

If after all of this you still can’t seem to make yourself run, I’d say it’s time to consider you’ve hit burn out. Explore some new activities and once the urge to run sneaks up on you again, grab it by the laces and go.

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Enough Food, #Opt Outside for your Black Friday!

10 Ways Runners Can Opt Outside

REI created its own Black Friday frenzy by announcing they were shutting their doors and paying employees to “opt out(side)” for the biggest shopping day of the year. Here are our top-10 ways runners can shake things up the day after Thanksgiving (or any time this holiday season) by heading outdoors:

1. Find a new trail to run on. Or hike on. Or meditate on. Just find a new dirt system to check out with a friend, your bae or favorite pet.

2. Try an outdoor yoga class. If you’re living in an area that has sunshine 360 days a year (like us here in San Diego), there are often plenty of options to get your zen on under the blue sky.

3. Do post-run stretches outside. You finish running and dash inside for water, to sit down or just to get out of the freezing cold or stifling heat. Instead of stretching in front of the TV, take a few minutes after your run to shake the legs out in your driveway.

4. Do a workout in the park using the park equipment. If you’re having an off day and are skipping the run, walk to your local park and be a big kid. Monkey bars, bench dips, table pushups—use the objects around you to work up a sweat.

5. Do a lunchtime run at work to get some sunshine. If you’re stuck in a stuffy office all day, shake things up by going for a lunchtime jog around the area. At high noon the rays will feel refreshing even if you need to layer up.

6. Check out a heat mapping device, like Strava, for secret runs around you. You never know what you haven’t tried that’s right underneath your running shoes.

7. Learn how to run in the elements. Okay, maybe the snow can get a little harsh, but it is possible to layer up and down and cruise outside during rain, snow, wind or anything in between. Consider it practicing in “race conditions”—you never know!

8. Go for a mountain bike ride. A popular form of cross-training when you live in the right area for it, hopping on a bike can be a great, sometimes underestimated workout.

9. Check out your local farmer’s market. You know—the kind that comes once a week and sets up shop outside. They always have the best eats, and it’s a simple one-stop-shop to get fresh air, dinner for tonight and tons of drool-worthy samples.

10. Try a track workout. Even if the weather is frightful, tracks can often withstand the elements, and it’s an easy way to stay close to your car but also get some mileage and speed in.

Read more at http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2015/10/just-for-fun/10-ways-runners-can-opt-outside_49271#LDaTBzD7gAJ96Kys.99

Thanksgiving Fun Facts

I’m taking the day off to cook, clean and eat!  But I thought you might enjoy some interesting facts about Thanksgiving!

Fun Facts about the First Thanksgiving

  • The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate the Thanksgiving.
  • The Pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to reach North America.
  • They sailed on the ship, which was known by the name of ‘Mayflower’.
  • They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land.
  • The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. He invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast.
  • The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days.
  • Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, popcorn, milk, corn on the cob, and cranberries were not foods present on the first Thanksgiving’s feast table.
  • Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast.
  • The pilgrims didn’t use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers.

Thanksgiving Facts throughout History

  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.
  • Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
  • Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
  • The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920’s.
  • In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth and extend the Christmas shopping season.
  • Congress to passed a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
  • Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He “pardons” it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

Fun Facts about Thanksgiving Today

  • In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations.
  • Each year, the average American eats somewhere between 16 – 18 pounds of turkey.
  • Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.
  • Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States.
  • Although, Thanksgiving is widely considered an American holiday, it is also celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.
  • Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season.

Fun Turkey Facts

  • The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds.
  • The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
  • A 15 pound turkey usually has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.
  • The five most popular ways to serve leftover turkey is as a sandwich, in stew, chili or soup, casseroles and as a burger.
  • Turkey has more protein than chicken or beef.
  • Turkeys will have 3,500 feathers at maturity.
  • Male turkeys gobble. Hens do not. They make a clucking noise.
  • Commercially raised turkeys cannot fly.
  • Turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.
  • A large group of turkeys is called a flock.
  • Turkeys have poor night vision.
  • It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30 pound tom turkey.
  • A 16-week-old turkey is called a fryer. A five to seven month old turkey is called a young roaster.

Food Week Day 3 My GF Stuffin’ Muffins

This one is near and dear to my heart.  I guess it is either 5 or 6 years ago now, that the week before Thanksgiving I was told I needed to be both gluten free and dairy free.  Welcome to hell.  I couldn’t go into a grocery store without leaving in tears, emptyhanded for weeks.  Now luckily and unluckily in some ways there are many more options.

I spent 5 years trying to get a decent stuffing recipe so this is pretty close as I never write them down…mine look way better though!

Gluten Free Stuffing Muffins
So I start the night before to do all the prep work and try to make this as dry as I can, otherwise I can tell you from experience it comes out like sage flavored wall paper paste.

Night before:

Cube an entire loaf of gluten free bread (makes 12 muffins) and leave sitting uncovered in a bowl overnight.

Morning of:

Chop one red apple, one green apple, a few stalks of celery and saute them with butter and a ton of sage, and a little salt and pepper.  As the veges get soft, start slowing adding a few tablespoons at a time of warmed chicken stock (yes that means 2 pans). Keep adding until it doesn’t absorb anymore.

Quickly add in maybe 1/2 the cubed bread and add in a few more tablespoons of stock or more if needed.  This needs to stay dry in general to hold up at all (after all that’s what gravy is for).  Add the rest of the cubes and another tablespoon of melted butter and just enough stock to sort of meld together.

Grease the muffin tin, and start heaping in the mounds of stuffing.

As this cooks about every 10 minutes or so I add a touch of stock on top.  No one ever said gluten free cooking was easy! Since everything is already cooked just get these warm and not quite gooey.  Keep in the pan until you are ready to serve to help them hold up.

Drown them in gravy and it tastes like everyone else’s Thanksgiving stuffing.   Fyi the muffin aspect keeps the portion control in check….ha, in theory.

Food Week….might as well enjoy a frittata

I know everyone is looking forward to Thanksgiving so I figured I might as well make this food week!   In general I’m looking at recipes that aren’t horrible to make, somewhat healthy but something you might still want to eat!

Bacon, Sweet Potato, Sausage Frittata—-wow.

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Prep time
25 mins
Cook time
15 mins
Total time
40 mins
Serves: 4-5
Ingredients
  • ½ pound bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 small sweet potato or yam, diced into small cubes
  • ½ pound italian sausage (or other ground meat)
  • 8 eggs, whisked
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place bacon in a large cast iron skillet or in an oven safe sauté pan. Cook bacon until crispy. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate. Remove bacon fat as necessary, leaving behind 3-4 tablespoons.
  3. Add sweet potato, coat in bacon fat and let cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  4. Add italian sausage to the pan with the potatoes, break apart with a wooden spoon and cook until no pink remains.
  5. Once sausage is cooked through, remove pan from heat to let cool.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, garlic powder, red pepper, paprika and salt and pepper.
  7. Once pan has cooled, pour in eggs and add the bacon on top of the sausage and potatoes. Mix well to evenly distribute the eggs around the pan.
  8. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the eggs are fully cooked in the middle of the pan.

OMG! Thanksgiving dessert here I come! Pumpkin, Apple Strudel and Caramel…oh yeah!

Thanks to PaleOMG for the recipe and Stephanie for all the recipe ideas that come from that site!

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Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins with Apple Cider Caramel
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
30 mins
Total time
40 mins
Serves: 9-10
Ingredients
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup maple or coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ tablespoon Primal Palate Apple Pie Spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 apple, cored and diced (I used a pink lady apple)
  • ⅓ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the streusel
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda and powder, apple pie spice, salt and apple.
  3. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until combined.
  4. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the mixture into 10 muffin tins (I used a silicone muffin liner).
  5. In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the streusel. Add about ½-1 teaspoon of the streusel on top of each muffin.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. While muffins are baking, make apple cider caramel.
  7. Let cool slightly before removing from silicone liner. Top each muffin with caramel

Rock – N- Roll Las Vegas!

It was an amazing weekend!  I met facebook friends who I have known for 18 months but never met in person who were inspirational, sweet, funny, and amazing.  It is the most supportive group I have ever been in!

The 5K was Saturday night and it was fun.  For me it was a temperature check and just get moving kind of race after flying all day Friday.  My roommate had had some issues so it was a great night to walk honestly. By the end of that day however I already had 8 miles in on some tired feet, maybe not the best way to prep for a 1/2 marathon, lol.

So Sunday rolls around and we decided to spend the morning in the spa pools just to get moving without a lot of foot time. We skipped the Kid Rock concert although we could hear it from our hotel room at Mandalay Bay!  It was a hike and a half to the start line, then our corral.  Eventually we found our group and slowly it started to come together…just in time for the rain to come.  Yes, in the desert.  Ah well, not too bad just enough to make you wet and cold.  I however had enough layers on it wasn’t an issue….all those long runs all Fall in the rain helped for sure.

So the race gets started and about 2 miles in, the hydration plan for the day caught up with me.  Ridiculous I know but the 20 minute port-a-potty stop killed my race but in someways was a blessing.  Although it was ridiculous to have 1 yes 1 portalet at mile 2, it forced me to change my mental game plan without falling apart or getting down.

As a result I ran negative splits the rest of the race, with my last mile being my fastest, despite 50 mph winds….those were ridiculously hard to run in and the best part, it was a head wind the last 3 or 4 miles so might as well have been running in a hurricane!  I have new respect for Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel.

What I learned in part was that if I get out of my nerves and my head in those early miles I can have a good solid race thoughout.  This is new to me as the last 2 halves I would die at mile 10 and gimp, limp and just try to survive my way in to the finish.  This time it was 12 before I started to crash (late game nutrition may still need some work), so that is huge!

While I don’t like it, I have also learned I must obey the foot.  If I start out too aggressive and don’t run/walk it, I am in far more trouble than if i just set the ego aside and listen to my body – all of it.

Lastly I finally got that 13.1 is not 13.1 for me.  The race is still 13.9 by my app so plan for it.  And to get into the start corral and out of the race completely you’d better plan on 17 miles, 18.1 this time to be exact but it is Vegas, they do everything big!

 

 

 

I LOVE THIS ARTICLE!

10 Ways to Be a Better Runner (Without Logging Miles)

*Content courtesy of POPSUGAR Fitness

If you want to be a better runner, the answer is simple, right? After all, the more you run, the easier it’ll become. But what you do off the course can really affect your time and distance as well. Whether you’re trying to improve your running stats or you just want to be able to run two miles without stopping, here are 10 ways to be a better runner that have nothing to do with the miles you log.

  1. Foam roll: If you’re running a lot, you’ll really feel those tight muscles. Loosen them up to help prevent injuries with these self-massage techniques you can do with a foam roller.
  2. Fuel up: Before and after a run, think carbs and protein. Carbs help fuel your muscles, while protein builds them up. These pre-workout snacks are the perfect combination of what you need for a good run.
  3. Cooldown: Your run isn’t over until you’ve spent a few minutes on cooldown stretches. These help relieve muscle tightness and soreness, so you can bounce back and be ready for your next run. Try these postrun stretches after your next jogging session, and see how you feel.
  4. Do yoga: Regular running leads to tight joints and muscles — regular yoga helps undo it. These must-do yoga poses for runners will open up tight hips, relieve lower back pain, and unhitch those shoulders.
  5. Stretch for speed: Certain stretches can help you become a faster runner. Try incorporating these stretches for speed into your regular postrunning routine; they’ll help you improve flexibility and strength over time.
  6. Hydrate: Chances are, you’re not drinking enough water, which is especially important if you’re running a lot. Beat fatigue and muscle cramps by hydrating well every day.
  7. Energize: Need a little boost? Drink coffee about an hour before your workout — it’ll improve your endurance. You can also try beet juice, which studies show may improve oxygen flow in your body.
  8. Strength-train: If you want to become a better runner, you need to cross train. Complement your running routine with workouts that strengthen muscles like your coreupper body, and quads.
  9. Sleep: Your body needs to recharge if you want to have enough energy for a good run, so make sure you get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. If you’re not meeting that number, your nighttime habits probably need a revamp. Here are 20 ways to get better sleep tonight.
  10. Prehab: You’ll want to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to prevent injuries that can sideline your running hobby. While strengthening muscles, stretching after a workout, and foam rolling will all help prevent injuries, specific prehab techniques are essential for areas where you are injury-prone. Try one of these:

Read more at http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2014/10/training-tips/10-ways-better-runner-without-logging-miles_31456#dGty8zrHjtMYmOUz.99

The ankle’s really are at the key of running…trust me on this one.

Why Ankle Injuries Can Have Long-Lasting Effects

*Courtesy of Competitor.com

The first time I sprained my ankle, it was quickly followed by a stress fracture and weeks of hobbling around. And for months after it finally healed, while swearing that everything was better, it seemed like I could constantly feel new injuries coming on—weaknesses I was susceptible to because of that ankle.

It turns out I wasn’t imagining things.

Though many of us have been taught that you can shake off a twisted ankle, that’s not really true. Studies are now finding that the ankle is, quite literally, the foundation of an athlete. An injury to your ankle can have long-lasting consequences.

“What we’re realizing is it’s a much more serious injury,” says Mike Turner, an associate professor at University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Turner and his wife, Tricia Hubbard-Turner, have authored a number of recent studies on the long-lasting effects of ankle injuries.

“It’s not a one-off. There are significant consequences,” adds Tim McGuine, a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. A study of college-age athletes who had suffered multiple ankle sprains in the past found that they were markedly less physically active than their peers, even taking fewer steps over the course over a day. It’s almost like their brains simply didn’t want to over-stress those historically hurt ankles.

The issue is two-fold. We’re only starting to understand the long-term consequences of these mobility-impacting injuries, says McGuine. Similar effects are being seen with recurring knee issues and their long-lasting impacts. The second problem is that the ankle is so fundamental to the entire body’s operation, especially in running. It’s weight-bearing, and the constant force on your ankle makes it hard for the joint to heal. That’s why Turner and his wife have made the ankle a focus of so much study. “She would say the ankle’s the most important joint in the body,” he admits.

RELATED: 6 Injury-Reducing Exercises For Runners

According to Turner, even after ankle injuries start to heal, your brain begins to re-wire neurally and your body compensates in ways you may or may not realize. “You end up running differently, walking differently,” he explains. Video analysis has shown those changes can be fairly significant.

It doesn’t take a ton of research to realize an ankle injury can result in a whole new set of injuries. Researchers are finding that even these “small” injuries—ankle sprains, twists, fractures—can result in significant drops in a person’s quality of life even a year later, per all measures on standard surveys. People find that it’s slightly harder to walk up stairs or do activities that require ankle mobility. Subconsciously, they even avoid things that might cause another twisted ankle.

That’s because a twisted ankle isn’t as small an injury as we may think.

When you badly roll your ankle or sprain it, you’re essentially tearing or stretching the ligaments, which causes scar tissue to form, says McGuine. Scar tissue, in turn, affects your mechanics and functionality. Different studies have found re-injury rates between 40 and 70 percent, and many people struggle with long-term ankle instability for months or even years.

But, says Turner, it’s not yet clear what makes someone more prone to long-term ankle instability or even to ankle sprains in the first place. The vast majority of sprains are caused by people rolling their ankles out—as opposed to in—and very few ankle injuries are actual bone fractures.

What is clear is what you can do about it once it happens. Let it heal, says Turner, as in, don’t try to shake it off or run through it. Go to a sports-focused physical therapist or doctor who can watch how your whole mechanical chain works and make recommendations, says McGuine.

There are also a number of exercises that have been shown to improve ankle strength and mobility. The problem, however, says McGuine, is that a lot of ankle rehabilitation exercises or strengthening exercises—such as calf raises or pulling a band in and out with your foot—tend to move in straight lines or just two to three planes of motion. “But ankle injuries don’t happen in a straight line,” he explains.

RELATED: How To Rehab A Sprained Ankle

Instead, balancing exercises and exercises that work the muscles in the bottom of the foot are more effective. These can be fairly low-tech, McGuine says, such as balancing on one foot with your eyes closed. Then, progress to standing on an uneven surface—even something as simple as a pillow—because it forces your ankle and foot to compensate. Finally, you can try one-legged knee bends.

There’s also some evidence that bracing or getting your ankle taped by a trained professional can help stabilize it and prevent re-injury, says McGuine, but that doesn’t really address the fundamental underlying issues.

“If you don’t do your exercises for 5 to 10 minutes per day, then all the bracing in the world isn’t going to help,” says McGuine.

Read more at http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2015/10/health-wellness/injury-prevention/why-ankle-injuries-can-have-long-lasting-effects_48787#zvZUdOZspKemooJ6.99

Love this!!! 5 reasons why runners practice yoga (and it’s not flexibility)

Thank you to Elephant Journal and Waylon for this article.  One of the best ones about yoga I have found in a long time.  As a Runner and a Yoga Therapist / Instructor myself, I’d like you to understand this so much more than just exercise.

5 Reasons for Runners to Practice Yoga (& Flexibility is Not One of them).

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Sometimes after a yoga session I feel 20 years younger. It is the most energizing practice I have ever tried and it has helped my running tremendously.

This flexibility makes me feel phenomenal, every movement feels easier and I move with a sensation of lightness. It also gives me the ability to lift heavy things with better form and avoid injuries.

But there isn’t any real evidence that becoming more flexible or stretching more helps you run any faster or prevents injuries during running. In sprinting, static stretching before running has been show to slow you down. But this is no reason to skip yoga.

If you’re a runner, here are the real reasons to practice yoga:

Reason 1: Better Breathing.
Breathing is the most important movement that supports all of our other movements, including running. Yoga is primarily a breathing exercise that challenges our breathing in different ways though different poses and as a result we develop the ability to breathe better through any challenge.

A great way to implement this is through a method called ujjayi breathing. If you develop the ability to breathe better, you will run easier and faster through fatigue and discomfort.

Try this: Sit tall and close your eyes. Breathe through your nose and begin to gently narrow the back of your throat so that your breath produces a slight hiss or sigh. Keep your mouth closed and draw your breath so deep you feel it in the lower abdomen and pelvic floor.

Reason 2: Learning to Relax.
Most runners carry excess tension in their bodies. This slows us down by increasing our internal resistance to blood flow throughout our body and our heart has to work harder to pump blood through tense muscles.

You can easily prove this to yourself by running with a heart rate monitor and finding an easy pace where your heart rate levels out. Then clench your fists and tense your arms and shoulders for one minute and maintain the same speed.
Your heart rate will increase immediately and it will feel harder to maintain the same speed. But the opposite is also true—if you can learn to relax your arms, hands and shoulders while running, you will go faster and farther with less effort.
Try this: Close your eyes and breathe through your nose. Notice any areas of your body holding tension. Visualize and feel each inhalation going to that area where you feel tension and as you exhale, visualize the tension dissolving and your breath carrying the tension out of your body.

Reason 3: Strength Exactly Where You Need It.
A large part of yoga practice includes poses where we are balancing our entire body on one leg for an extended period of time. These postures strengthen the system of muscles and connective tissue that absorb ground impact forces with each step.

Ground impact force can be more than 3 times your body weight with each step. With more than a thousand steps per mile, this impact adds up.
Anything that strengthens the muscular and connective tissue system that absorbs these forces will help prevent injuries and make you faster.

Try this: Stand tall barefoot. Slowly lift one foot and find balance on the standing leg. Continue with the ujjayi breathing method from above and find a focal point for your eyes, preferably something that is not moving. Try to hold this for five breathes on each leg. Over time, progress to holding this position longer and longer.

Reason 4: Better Mindset.
A huge part of the philosophy of yoga is non-attachment to outcomes and focusing on the process. Modern sport psychology also points to this habit as a practice of top performers in all sports. Cultivating this mindset is hugely beneficial to a long distance runner who needs to endure the grind of miles and miles of running.

In yoga practice, we get into initially uncomfortable positions and use calm slow breathing to make peace with the discomfort. Eventually, we develop the skill of embracing what is uncomfortable and breathing through each experience.

This carries over into running when you reach a speed that is initially uncomfortable. Rather than fighting it and creating excess tension thereby making it harder, you learn to relax and embrace it, calming your body through breathing and finding a level of serenity within the intensity.

Try this: With the one leg balance exercise above, set a timer for a time that seems nearly impossible. It may be one minute to start. Then hold that posture while focusing on your breath and the sensations in your body. When your mind wanders, consciously bring attention back to your breath and your body.

Reason 5: Movement Variety.
If specific movements were nutrients, most runners would be on a severely unbalanced diet. Just as it’s not ideal for your body to get 80 percent of its calories from one food source, it’s not optimal for one movement pattern to provide most of your movement.

We need an extremely large variety of movements for our bodies to thrive. Overdoing one movement pattern without enough variety will eventually lead to imbalances and injuries. Yoga practice provides a very complete movement practice–we slowly and gently explore the many options of movement your body can perform. This exploration helps all our body’s muscles and connective tissues to remain strong.

This large variety of movements also creates better mind-body connection. Better movement and body awareness allows us to learn to move in a more efficiently and less damaging way.

Try this: Stand tall and spread your feet as wide as possible without feeling a painful level of stretch, maybe around three or four feet apart. Be sure your feet are parallel. Inhale and reach above your head with both arms. Exhale and fold over at your hips and reach for the ground. Inhale and exhale once in this position. Then inhale and stand up while reaching your arms above your head. Exhale and remain standing as you allow your arms to float back down by your sides.

~

Author: Nick Ortego

Editor: Katarina Tavčar