I am conducting an experiment to see if doing regular yoga can make me a better runner, cyclist and small business owner. Before you read on, you should know that this post has absolutely no medical expertise behind it. I barely passed my biology GCSE and so I can only share my experience based on ‘feel’.  The aim is to try and ease some of the injuries that I’ve sustained over the years and to also provide me with a better focus as a self-employed writer. I’ve made a promise to myself to combine my training with as many yoga classes as feels right to see if it can increase flexibility, build strength, help relieve old injuries and teach me to focus on my projects a little better.

THE CHALLENGE

The photos in this post were captured a few months ago, the morning after a half marathon, when I had the great opportunity to attend a Reebok event lead by the talented Tara Stiles. I was so stiff that day I could barely reach my toes and looked like a ruler poking out of a desk-tidy full of elastic bands. It only dawned on me then that years of doing the miles might have had an impact on a few things.

With an ultra marathon in 3 weeks and big plans for 2016 –  it’s time to make some changes and kick bad habits. I signed up to the 30 day introductory offer at The House of Yoga in Putney, London which gives Vinyasa Flow classes which, in my limited knowledge of yoga, seems to be a more active and dynamic form of movement and a good one for someone with a limited attention span like me.

yoga-for-runners-cyclists

Could downward dog be the answer?

3 OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME

My shoulder: I’ve had a weak left shoulder since my backpacking days in my early twenties. It flares up all the time, especially when carrying weight and a bad episode can reduce me to a quivering wreck. I’ve tried physio, multiple sports massages, doctor consultations but no long-lasting relief has ever been achieved. The other day, during one of my many shoulder tantrums, a wise person pointed out that I do absolutely no strength training and therefore the shoulder can’t protect itself against what seems to be an inherent weakness. The poses in yoga offer both strength and a chance to stretch the muscles and so I’m hoping this will help my shoulder gradually.

My bum: Many a runner will appreciate the agony of a tight bum. We need our bums so much to power us around and I am absolutely awful at treating mine with the respect it deserves. I doubt there is anyone worse than me about stretching after a long run or after miles and miles of cycling. Therefore my legs are so tight that they are inhibited from performing as well as they potentially could. With a place in the London Marathon secured for next year, I want to aim for a PB and my legs will need some love to help me to achieve this.

My head: I quit my secure salaried job three months ago to pursue my dream of becoming a self-employed, freelance fitness writer and editor. Part of being a good boss-of-yourself is the ability to hone in on your goals and approach them with a clear focus. The early days of being self-employed can be a frenzy of financial worry and sometimes doubt that you can make it work. I am fortunate that things seems to be working out and I am slowly building a brand for myself with a host of fantastic clients but that doesn’t mean I don’t wake up at 4am with either the fear or a great idea that I need to jot down immediately. It’s a roller-coaster – one that I love being on, but one that could probably use a bit of yogi focus now and again.

RESULTS

I am only ten days into my yoga routine and I can already feel results although there is still a lot of work to be done. Here they are as follows:

I’m standing straighter – be gone the writer’s hunch

My shoulder is hurting less – it’s not cured but my shoulder blades feel more equal and less like Jekyll and Hyde and I can tell it’s really benefiting from the stretching poses.

I hold myself better as I run – my legs don’t want to buckle beneath me

My hips feel looser – and they don’t lie…. (bad joke)

I appreciate taking an hour for myself away from technology – See you later Whatsapp

Anxiety about work is converted into excitement– let’s write this thing!

I enjoy being in a room with people during the day – freelance can be lonely!

I feel less flabby – could this be the way to finally meet those elusive abs?

I am feeling more flexible and less of a smorgasbord – Hello toes.

 

I am very curious as to what the next 10 days will hold and will provide an update in a few weeks….