Long distance running develops muscular endurance in the leg and hip muscles and is amazing for the cardiovascular system. But over time the body develops imbalances with some muscles being strong and tight and others being weak. These imbalances can and typically do lead to injury over time. For instance, weak abdominal muscles allows the pelvis to rotate forward putting more stretch on the hamstrings. This is a less efficient position and it sets you up for injury. Maybe you have already injured your hamstrings and you know how long and painful the process of recovery is. It is no fun, trust me. That is why you need to add core stability training to your training regimen. This consists of strengthening your abdominal, lower back, hip, and gluteal muscles. You don’t need a gym or machines for this. You can dedicate yourself to doing on your own or even better you can attend a yoga class. All you need to do is bring yourself and your mat to a class and let the teacher guide you through core exercises and stretches that will incorporate all the planes of motion that the body moves in. A certified yoga teacher will pay close attention to verbal cues guiding you to the proper form and technique to maximize the benefits of core strength and muscle flexibility. Yoga can be very rewarding in many ways. Come check it out.
How often should I do yoga during my training?
If you are logging on the miles then you would benefit from attending a yoga class at least once a week but ideally twice a week. That is in addition to the stretching you do on a daily basis at home.
What if I am the tightest person in class?
Yoga is an individual practice. My biggest advice is don’t look at the person next to you. It is not a competition and no one is judging. With that in mind, it is important to let the teacher know of any injuries you have going on in your body or areas in need of attention so that they can offer you advice and provide props to modify. It is not about trying to be the most flexible person in class. It is about feeling the sensations in your own body and listening to them.
For a class specific to the core come join Beth Bowen, Physical Therapist and Yoga Instructor, for a six week series of Core Flow Yoga for Runners at Green Mountain Rehab & Sports Medicine, Burlington, VT on Thursday evenings from 6:15-7:15 beginning February 13, 2014. And Yoga for Runners every Monday, same time and place, www.greenmtrehab.com.