How yoga has enabled me to run again

How yoga has enabled me to run again

I started running in 2013, and have since gone for 6 full marathons (42.195km), N half marathons and 10km races (N because I've stopped counting them). I enjoyed the "pain train", the long slow distance (LSD) runs, the adrenaline and most importantly... the feeling I'd get after running (irreplaceable!) I enjoyed the morning races, the night runs, the #runcommute (aka commuting from office back home through running).

Until December 2018.

It was Standard Chartered Marathon (SCSM'18) and I had signed up for the full marathon category. I went ahead in spite of my lack of training, & in spite of having ran the Bali Marathon 2 months prior. At the 20km mark, I started feeling pain in my knee -- and at the 30km mark, I broke. I dropped out of the marathon. It was my first DNF and I was devastated.

The pain lasted even after the marathon and I had to stop running in order to heal. I also could not take up HIIT as it was not friendly for the knees. I felt really empty (sounds really dramatised, but it's true! I think runners can relate). That was when I thought, maybe I could try yoga.

If you'd asked me 2 years ago, I wouldn't have imagined myself practicing yoga. My very first practice was in 2013 (from YouTube) and I didn't enjoy it a bit. Although it was "slow", it was actually really challenging (in hindsight, I realised it was because I had very little strength as I was only focused on doing cardio). By the end of the 20min video, I was perspiring so much. I never did yoga again after that.

So in December 2018, I started going for yoga classes. After going for 2-3 classes.... I was hooked.

I started with Basic and Hatha classes before slowly transitioning to taking more Vinyasa classes (after a few months). I hated the long-hold poses and the stretches at first, and I couldn't fathom how people could "breathe through poses", especially the challenging ones. Surprisingly, I grew to really, really like it over time.

It was only through yoga that I realised the importance of having stability and strength in the body. I was always cardio-driven and tended to discount the importance of strength. Our body functions best through a combination of stability, mobility and flexibility. And yoga helps achieve those. It really helps to

1) reduce the risk of injuries (esp. for athletes/runners),

2) improve awareness of our body (& anatomy) and

3) we become less fatigued (I recently just learnt that lack of flexibility & mobility in the body actually makes you get fatigued easily!)

I have since consistently practised and have noticed changes in the body. I feel stronger and more energised. More importantly I have less pain in the body (back & knee).

And of course, no prizes for guessing who has started running again 😉



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