Yoga For Runners


Yoga and running. These two forms of physical activity couldn’t be any further from one another on the exercise spectrum, but together they can help any runner reach new personal bests through breath and stretching that strengthen the whole body. By introducing yoga into your training, I can guarantee that you will offset the effects of running’s one- dimensional nature AND as an added bonus you and running will live happily ever after.

As a yoga instructor I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the following excuse reason why one does not have a yoga practice “I’m not flexible enough”. To anyone who says this I say “Ah, heck to the no”. Yoga is not just for people who can wrap their leg around their head, it is about the journey towards touching your toes (or wrapping your leg around your head – if that’s what you’re in to) and allowing your breath to carry you from one position to the next.   As runners, we often forget about the breathing part, especially when faced with those pesky things called hills. Instead of focusing on our breathing, we often hold our breath till we reach the top. Let me ask you a question, when you do that, how do you feel once you reach the top? Tired, heart racing, and maybe like you can’t go on? Whatever you are feeling, I am sure that it falls into the negative category. With something as simple as proper breathing, you will find that you can calmly run one kilometre to the next – including hills, with ease.

As runners, we experience a ton of pounding, tightening and shortening of the muscles and not enough restorative, elongating and loosening work.  The body starts to compensate to avoid injury by working around any instability, which means our body compensates by putting stress on muscles, joints and the entire skeletal system. If you’re off balance, every step you take forces the muscles to work harder. Tight muscles get tighter and weak muscles don’t have a chance to strengthen, and this is when you end up spending more time in recovery than in training.

Runners can use yoga to develop strength, increase range of motion, and train the body and mind.  You learn how to coordinate your breath with each subtle movement. The result is that your body, mind, and breath are integrated in all actions. Through consistent yoga conditioning you can engage, strengthen and correct muscle imbalances which will improve posture and help with recovery. Mental focus is also extremely important for us distance runners and yoga has a meditative component that can help keep you calm and focused through any training run and/or race.

From personal experience, I can vouch that if you only run during training for a race, you are not giving yourself your best chance on race day. When I last ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon back in 2008, all I did was concentrate on adding miles and speed (putting my regular yoga practice on hold), and wouldn’t you know it, that failed me.  At the 24km mark, I developed tremendous IT band pain and spent the rest of the race in agonizing pain. Since adding regular yoga classes (in addition to teaching) into my training routine I have become a new runner. I am more in tune with my body; I spend more time training and less time resting/recovering. I am stronger, and on race day I am not only physically ready, I am mentally ready.

Still think that the benefits to yoga for runners are overstated? How does this grab you; with a straighter spine, a stronger core and better focus — you’ll find that you will become a more efficient runner.

Check out Get Fit in the City where I take you through a short yoga flow you can do at home. You can also join me on Sunday, July 7th  at Chopra Yoga Centre, for a special Yoga for Runners Workshop, click on events and then scroll to the bottom.

**until then you can look for my name on the schedule (Lisa Davidson) and drop in for one of my other classes**

See you on the mat/pavement.

Photo Credit: Eva Redpath BCBD Retreat, Cabo San Lucas 2013


Energybits Review

Energybits reviewSince my horrendous experience with gels a few years ago, I have been on a mission to find a product that I could stomach and give me a much needed boost during long training runs and races.

There has been quite a bit of chatter on twitter the last few months about Energybits. I was intrigued, so I looked into it. I have to be honest, when I first read that Energybits were algae….I almost threw up right then and there. I mean really? Algae?? I put off trying these “bits” for awhile but after a horrible 15K run, which was supposed to be longer, but I had to cut short due to hunger and a lack of energy, I finally gave in and decided to give Energybits a try.

I received my sample from the kind folks in Boston a week later. I woke up one morning for my usual training run, I got dressed, I laced up and then I opened the tin that contained the bits. First impressions….I felt I was about to pop fish food into my mouth. Following the directions, I swallowed 30 and 10 minutes later I was out the door. I was especially tired that morning. My legs were sore from a tough strength training session the day before, but as I was running I was thrilled with how my alert I was and how I was able to push myself a little bit faster as I ran.  When I got home and looked at my Garmin to see my time, I was shocked and thrilled to see that I shaved 2 minutes off my usual 10K time, and I didn’t feel wiped out at all. In that moment, I knew I was hooked on these little green bits.

A little bit of information for you. Straight from the Energybits website:

Algae is no overnight success. It was the first plant life on earth 2 billion years ago and it’s thanks to algae, we have oxygen on earth. So just imagine what it can do for you and your body.  They are 100% green, 100% nutrition, 100% natural and 100% carbon neutral.

Spirulina Algae has been used by Olympic athletes for over 50 years! 50 years. Heck, if it works for Olympians, and I’m a wanna be olympian..sign me up! Spirulina algae’s benefits include:

  • Increasing Energy – Check!
  • Increasing Endurance – Check!
  • Increasing Stamina – Check!
  • Increasing Mental Focus – Heck yeah check!
  • Increasing High Quality Protein –  Check!

So will I be ordering some more for myself? Of course, and I will be frantically checking my mailbox until that little package arrives. Thank you so much to the team at Energybits, you have made me a “Bits Believer” 🙂

Curious about these little bits yet? You can receive a 10% discount on your order by entering the word “BLOG” into the website coupon box.

Have you tried Energybits yet? What did you think?