Born to Run!

Posted Aug 13th, 2014 by Kiran Matsko

Whether you are just starting out or training for your 10th marathon, running is a great way to stay active and in shape. As a running program intensifies, so does the risk of damage to your body. Every twinge, ache and pain starts to feel like an actual injury. Adding Yoga practice to your training regimen can help you cultivate a deeper connection to your body. Some poses are a challenge and maybe even uncomfortable. Working through shapes that are complex on your yoga mat can prepare you for those miles when you want to quit, when your mind (not your body!) is telling you to stop. Meeting your edges through yoga practice and learning when to push through barriers and when to take a step back can mean the difference between injury and just a few days rest. On a more personal note, I was unable to complete my first marathon due to improper training, which in turn led me to spend more time practicing yoga. Through a steady yoga practice I realized the importance of consistent cross training and listening to my body. Armed with that awareness, my next attempt at a marathon was a success, marked by my elated high-five with Mayor Nutter.

Learning to regulate your breath in yoga can help as you move through speed work, hill training and begin to extend your distances. Taking the time to explore the space in the lungs and working with your breath can also be beneficial during the often stress-laden moments before a race. Parking, bathrooms, the corrals….. making post race brunch plans can feel overwhelming (I’ll take a grilled cheese and glass of Pinot Grigio, thanks!). Learning how to work with the waves of anxiety and use the breath to come out on the other side will help you in yoga, on race day and beyond.

Generally, running is a solo endeavor, with each person competing against themselves, whether it’s that nagging voice telling you to pull the covers back over your head or working towards a personal record. The repetitive, often melodic rhythm of running gives you the opportunity to sort through all kinds of thoughts, leaving you with a clear head and heightened endorphins. That being said, even if you are a solo runner in the strictest of senses, it’s nice to meet fellow runners that are training for the same distance, have successfully completed the same race, or provide a bit advice to a new runner. As race day approaches and training tapers off, your body will have all sorts of energy and no outlet. It is my hope that a group setting will give runners the chance to find solidarity in an endeavor that sometimes feels isolating.

Let’s be honest: sometimes the last thing you want to do before or after a run is stretch. Occasionally it’s all you can do just to get your gear on and get out the door, especially in the fall when weather can be unpredictable #SidewaysFreezingColdLateOctoberRain Making the commitment to weekly yoga practice is a great way to ensure you lengthen and strengthen the muscles that absorb the impact caused by running. Most of us have sedentary jobs or commute by car which causes the body to feel stiff and the lactic acid in muscles to really sink in, compounding the damage. Lastly, many runners neglect upper body and core work; after a long run additional exercise can feel overwhelming. Our 6 week Runner’s Yoga Series will give you the opportunity to balance the body and strengthen the core, which in turn will give you more overall strength as you make running progress.

Hope to see you on the mat!

Kiran Matsko, runner and yogi, will be leading Nava Yoga Center’s 6 week Runner’s Yoga Series starting Thursday September 4th 6:30-7:45pm. Beginners welcome, $78. Enroll here

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