Yoga for Runners

I just got back from an awesome yoga class at The Green Yogi with Mkunde, our new sixth grade math teacher who just moved to Los Angeles from New York City. We have challenged ourselves to visit a new yoga studio every week until we find a few favorite studios to make our more permanent yoga homes. We have already taken Rudy’s infamous yoga class at Santa Monica Power Yoga and next week I’m thinking about suggesting the Yoga Collective in Venice. I love yoga. I love its ability to help me find a sense of peace, calm and relaxation in moments of challenge. Over the years I have gone through yoga phases where I have practiced three-four times a week, but it typically meant less running time, less husband time after work and less cash. Running is cheap and less of a time commitment. Although I will always be more of a runner than a yogi, I think it is manageable to commit to a studio class once a week. Especially because I think it makes me a stronger runner.

yoga_classThe-Green-Yogi2

Much like running, yoga gives me a reflective space.  Yoga poses can be incredibly difficult, but the practice has taught me to remain calm especially when it gets tough. I have learned to embrace the feeling of so desperately wanting to move out of a challenging pose, but instead forcing a smile and moving into the pose more deeply. It is a skill I can translate to my work with students and families. I’m encountered with experiences were I need take a deep breathe and demonstrate self-control and calm on a daily basis.

I also find that a regular practice helps keep my hips healthy so that I can keep running injury free. Yoga strengthens the muscles that prevent me from acquiring ITBS, what killed me at my first marathon back in 2008.

Runner’s World also has an awesome collection of short online yoga classes. They are tailored for us mileage junkies, designed to strengthen our weak muscles that often result in injury. I’ve found them really helpful when I’m traveling. Sitting  on plane, trains and automobiles tightens hips.

A few questions I have for other runners out there. Comment below.
1. How do you balance running and yoga?
2. Do you think a regular yoga practices makes you a better runner?
3. SoCal residents, where do you practice?

 

Oh also, TOTALLY unrelated to yoga, last night I was complaining about my need for a desk and proper work space at school. Amazon reads minds. I woke up this email this morning. Very tempting!

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NYCRUNS Firecracker 5K-Governor’s Island Race Review

I like gifting experiences rather than stuff. Meredith (my NYC roomie) celebrated her 29th birthday earlier this month. Last summer I got her into running, so I figured entry into the Firecracker 5K on Governor’s Island was the perfect birthday gift. Meredith is a transformative educator at Columbia Secondary School in South Harlem. She teaches sixth grade English, built the school’s community garden and directs the school musicals. If she can make time for running, anyone can. Last summer Meredith had no running experience and in just two weeks we were consistently running three miles together. Meredith has always averaged 29/30 minutes for three miles, and today she ran an incredible 25:13!!!

I haven’t run a 5K in years. There’s no easing into a 5K, you have to run fast the whole time! A few months ago Lauren Fleshman wrote a great article for Runner’s World entitled 10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome. She calls for a 5K revolution, arguing they result in less injuries, require no gels or blocks, and are cheaper. The two-time U.S. Outdoor 5000-meter champion wonders why value a slow marathon time more than a hard effort at the 5K when she states, “I want to talk about how, with three laps left, my body felt engulfed in flames, and how alive that feels compared with the slow burn of the marathon.” She’s right. If you run a 5K right, it is incredibly painful, and you don’t get any of that marathon glory.

I didn’t have a goal for this race. I love not having goals for races because I go in so much more relaxed and never experience disappointment. I surprised myself averaging a 6:27 pace with a 20:04 finish and was the third female finisher. I felt great the whole time, but it just finished so quickly. I’d love to run another 5K in the near future and use a little more strategy. I learned that I didn’t need to pace myself much for the first half, I just need to GO!

After the race I went to Carmen’s in Brooklyn. Brent and Marta were already here, and Mama and Papa are on their way. Looking forward to a fun family weekend (and work). Happy Fourth of July!

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Thinking of running a NYCRuns Race?

Pros:

  • Relaxed community feel
  • This course was gorgeous! Great view of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty
  • The race director was hilarious, cracking jokes on the mic before the race
  • AMAZING bagels after the race
  • Inexpensive
  • REAL BATHROOMS!

Cons:

  • Huge race shirts (I gave mine to Brent)
  • Getting to Governor’s Island was time consuming (but it was worth it!)