Monday, May 13, 2013

Finding My Inner Shanti

Last winter, when I decided that I would run back-to-back half marathons, I knew that I would need a training program that would help me get faster, build endurance, and keep me from getting injured.  Well, I would be happy with two out of three.

I searched the Internet far and wide, wading through half marathon training programs that were either too simple, too complex, too ambitious, or too obviously developed by retired East German Olympic coaches looking to torture poor unsuspecting athletes-in-training out of a need to relive their glory days.  Alas, I became frustrated, mostly because none of them were flexible enough to fit into my life.  Because, yes, I deserve to run half marathons while still being a mom, having a job, and taking care of business.

Finally, I stumbled across this plan.  What I loved about it was that I ran 4 days per week, not 5 or 6.  And it was unique in that it incorporated yoga into 2 of the non-running days.  It was something different, and it looked interesting.

The plan didn't include specific yoga workouts, so I went searching online again.  I stumbled onto this place, which led me to a series of yoga workouts specifically for runners on You Tube.  They were short - 20-25 minutes - meaning I could get it done early in the day and get on with life.

Immediately after doing this workout a few times, I began to build speed in my running, my endurance improved, and my core got stronger.  I am now the proud owner of a 4-pack (childbirth be damned, I fear that the rest of the pack might be gone forever)!

Over the months I have begun incorporating other yoga workouts into my normal routine.  Core workouts, gentle hatha flow workouts (for rough days), and hip-opening workouts have helped increase my flexibility, reduce pain, recover from injury, and hopefully prevent more injuries.  I also credit it to increased running speed, and getting faster in the pool, too.

So, now I am kinda hooked on yoga.  I don't chant or talk about my third eye or anything like that.  But I do look forward to my morning and evening yoga workouts.  They bring me physical and emotional relief.  They allow me to clear my head, which is not a very easy thing for me to do.

If you can't afford to go to a yoga class, or if you don't like classes (like me), plop your laptop or iPad down on the floor, get on your yoga mat, download some yoga workouts, and get to contorting that body!  I promise you won't have to put your feet behind your eyes once (but what you do within your four walls is not any of my business!).  If you are lucky, and you stick with it, hopefully you will begin to feel stronger, more centered, and just generally better about your workouts, your training plans, and life in general.

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