How Yoga Has Helped My Marathon Training


It's hard for me to believe that I am almost on the down side of 50. I ran my first full marathon one day short of 51 and my second and final one when I was 53. I ran in a couple of 1/2 marathons and am presently training for one that will fall on my birthday, early next year. Nothing is different about how I am training except that this year, I am fully participating in my yoga practice- breathing, meditation and yoga exercises- and I am on a gluten free diet.

For years, my running practice consisted of running 10-15 miles per week, regular massages and adjustments and some stretching. I had aches in my hips, back, feet, knees and neck and always attributed them to stress and not enough stretching. I would try to stretch more and, yes, the intensity of the discomfort would lessen but it would not abate. Since I have been paying more attention to my yoga practice, I have found that, without doing anything else, it is easier for me to follow a training schedule, I look forward to my morning runs and my strength and stamina have increased. I also seem to be running consistently faster and I have not experienced the discomfort that was common in the past. I told an old running partner that if I were able to do only one thing to train for this 1/2 marathon, I'd be inclined to pick yoga!

In the past, I also found that as the training intensified, so would my appetite. This is usual as activity increases but I could not satisfy my appetite and I was experiencing a lot of gut distress. About a year ago, I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant. Gluten is a complex protein found in wheat, rye, barley and some oats. Statistics show that about 1 in 7 persons suffers from some sort of sensitivity to gluten. Symptoms range from an occasional tummy ache to life threatening malnutrition. Fatigue and depression are common symptoms and as my training would intensify, I would feel as if I had no energy reserve. Although treatments for gluten problems can differ greatly depending on the severity of the disease, the one consistency in all treatments is to remove gluten from the diet. When I started to look at foods contain gluten, the task of removing it from my diet appeared daunting. I am lucky, however, because my partner shows his love through cooking. As soon as I was diagnosed, he read up on gluten free diets and we've been eating gluten free ever since! Another thing that helped me was the meditation part of yoga. It gave me a way to focus on today's meals rather than focusing on never being able to eat gluten again.

How can this help you? Well, I believe that we are all on this path together and the more we share with each other, the more we can help and be helped. When I decided to actually train and participate in marathon running, I was half a century old. I actually never thought I'd be able to finish. I was so focused on completing every aspect of the training that I missed out on a lot of the fun. Now, I realize it's more about the process. I see myself running the course the night before a run. I find myself smiling when I run, thinking happy, positive thoughts. I can miss a couple of runs, change my schedule around, listen to my body more and I'll probably finish. Even if I don't, it's (almost) OK. One of the ways I find balance, peace and harmony is through running. Adding yoga and getting my diet right has exponentially helped me fell better physically, mentally and spiritually. Are there any changes you can make?

Source by Hermine Muellerleile