It’s more important than I thought.
Maybe not yoga, per se… I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. (It’s not mine.) But I think the idea of really stretching out when you run a lot, and working on your strength, balance, and flexibility – all that good stuff yoga does for you – is an important component of running.
Earlier in my 52 in 52 adventure, when I was in my hiatus months, I visited the gym at least three times a week (in addition to my half-marathoning weekends).
Part of that was yoga classes. I never thought much of it. “Oh, it’s just yoga. It’s not all that super tiring. I’m not all that super good at it. I’d probably be about the same with or without it.”
I didn’t think any of the little things I was going were having any sort of profound impact on my life or my body, because you know, they were little things (such as an hour or two of yoga in a week that contains 168 hours).
Little things actually mattered. I haven’t gone to yoga in probably at least two months, maybe even more. As I said, I’ve never really loved it, but I did it because I figured it probably helped balance out all the running. Now that I’m not doing it, I can tell you with certainty, it did.
My hips don’t lie. (Yeah, 2006 reference. I’m up on the trends.) And they are getting heavier. I’ve gained a little weight (not a ton, but a bit). I didn’t do a single half marathon last month. I drove myself crazy in classes four nights a week, and spent a lot of time living in my head (and sitting at a desk, and sitting on a bus, – not running a lot on a treadmill).
My hips are also tighter. My body is begging me to take care of it. When I do, my life is better – not because I look better, it’s because it just feels better. That’s the deal with biology… (There’s that “biology” catchphrase of mine again. I’m thinking if I remind you that it’s my catchphrase, it won’t sound as though I’m being a jerk when I say the word “biology” in the context of hying up exercise.)
During this past half marathon, my body was tired. (Now, even though I am saying that I think missing out on yoga (and to some degree cycling and other exercise I used to do during the week) is a big culprit in the struggle of that half marathon, I’m sure it didn’t help that I was coming straight off of a night of basically no sleep, and an extremely long bus ride.)
In that race, all I was able to do was walk the whole thing – which is is special brand of torture. When I run (even if it is my kind of slow jog-running), I feel amazing. My head feels clearer. I feel like I’m flying. Life is beautiful.
When I walk a whole bunch of miles alone, it takes a long time, and all I hear is chatter, chatter, chatter in my head of what I want to do, what I need to do, what I should be doing, and all that life stuff.
I’m not poo-pooing walking. Some people love it. More power to them. But I need to be building up to more running, not tearing down to less. Running is absolutely one of my greatest joys in life. I’m sure I’ll still be walking a lot with so very many half marathons to the end of the year – especially with so many double weekends coming up and such. But I will fit jogging in somewhere – even if not in the races, at nights at the gym, or sometime, somewhere.
It’s not impossible to carve out time in my life for yoga. So, I will. It helped more than I thought, and I’m bringing it back!
I suppose my point in all of this rambling to you or me or whoever can use it is that sometimes when you’re not making humongous changes, you may think that you’re not really doing anything. But that doesn’t mean stop what you’re doing! Small changes can make big differences.