I’m a nearly 50-year old oft-injured runner. I love to run. It’s my sanity, my therapy, my time for myself. I’m just not copasetic with the world unless I’m running regularly. My partner believes there is a strong link between the fact that I love to run and that I’m often injured. I hate to stop and a little further is just a little further, can’t hurt, right? However, from the number of times I’ve been sidelined with Achilles tendon issues, IT-band issues, strained muscles and other related ailments, perhaps she has a point (not that I will admit that to her).
So I spend a fair amount of time trying to stay uninjured. Foam rolling, massage therapy, buying and using various accoutrements intended to keep my on my feet, anything but take time off of running. Rest days are only recently making their way into my training regime. I’ve tried a couple of cross training activities, including biking and pilates, both of which had their advantages but neither seemed to have a lasting effect on the nagging injury issues. I’ve long thought that yoga would be a great cross training activity, but hadn’t found the right opportunity to try it out.
About two months ago, I read about an interesting new business in Lakewood, Container Collective Yoga owned by Brittany Hopkins. I liked her business plan and her approach to teaching yoga, so I signed up. I go at least twice a week and enjoy the classes very much. I had no specific expectation about how yoga would affect my running and I tried just to appreciate the classes and the experience. I’m currently in training for a 25-mile trail race in May and I have been pushing the envelope on a calf injury since January. It hasn’t been enough that I’ve had to stop running, which means it hasn’t pulled or torn, but it has been ‘talking’ to me most every step of the way. Again, stretching, massage, foam rolling but none seemed to help much. In steps yoga. I started the classes and I continued to run and slowly it dawned on me that the chatter from my calf had lessened. It continued to lessen and I kept running. I logged16+ miles today and while I heard a bit of chatter about mile 5, it stopped shortly thereafter and I cruised through the remaining miles.
I can’t definitely say that yoga is the difference, but I can say it is the only thing that has changed in my routine. My running is feeling easier and stronger than it has for a long time. I will continue to enjoy my yoga practice with Brittany and while I don’t think it will guarantee that I will never be injured again, I do think it hedges my bet.