If I had to choose one thing that is getting me through marathon training with ease, I would choose yoga. I’m not big on energy drinks or gels, and I have yet to invest in any Body Glide (although with next week’s 20 miler looming, I might be well advised to do so). I haven’t read any books about running, and I’ve never taken an ice bath. Instead, yoga is what I use to combat all the discomfort and muscle soreness and tightness brought on by long runs.
Normally, I do a bit of yoga after each run, just five or ten minutes. Then, I do a half hour or hour yoga session on the day following my long run, as well as the day between my tempo run and my speed run. The difference this makes to my training is huge.
Sunday, I ran 14 miles. I missed my regular yoga yesterday, though, and the muscle stiffness set in halfway through the day. I woke up this morning with incredibly sore quads, but the tightness dissipated within the first five minutes of a hip opening yoga podcast. Pain erased, flexibility restored.
Sometimes I hit up the yoga classes at the gym, and sometimes I head to Yoga to the People. Usually, though, I fit yoga into my schedule by doing podcasts. This is how I got into yoga in the first place, and I especially recommend it to anyone who is new to the practice or far from a gym or studio. Bonus: it’s FREE.
Here are some of my favorite online yoga resources:
- Yoga Download: Their longer classes cost a little bit of money, but you can download excellent classes that are between 20 and 30 minutes on a donation basis. They come with slideshows (and occasionally videos) so that you know you’re doing the poses correctly, and the instructors are awesome.
- Yoga Today: Their free video classes are mostly pretty short, but they’re good, especially if you don’t have a lot of time but want to get a good stretch in. Sometimes their instructors get a bit too new-agey for my liking, but I usually just laugh, go with it, and have a pretty rewarding practice.
- Yoga to the People: Their podcasts are simply recordings of actual, hour-long classes from the studio. I love these because I actually feel like I’m there. The instructors are very animated, and they have a light and fun attitude about yoga while keeping the poses pretty challenging.
I have been using these yoga podcasts on a weekly basis for a couple of years now, and I’m convinced that they play a major role in keeping me running without injury. If anyone knows of other great internet resources, let me know!