Where do I start?
Finding some simple practices to add to your day, no matter how small, can be helpful. My suggestion is to start with breath and mindfulness off-the-road. Working on your breath and settling the mind can be something you can begin to incorporate in short increments. Deep breathing can be done in the car, at your desk, sitting quietly for just a few minutes. Start with deep breaths and focusing the mind on the inhale and the exhale. Over and over. Eventually, and maybe soon after you begin to incorporate this into your daily practice, you will notice that you are able to stay "present" during your runs. Increased awareness equals less injuries, more mental capacity for long or hard efforts. Increasing your lung capacity with breath practices, will help with endurance.
Next, before your run, do some warm up movements. Moving the spine in the "six directions" while breathing deeply will not only warm up the muscles, but it will oxygenate your blood, getting the body ready for movement. Here's a link to a "6 movements routine".) You can also add some dynamic warm up movements to warm up the hips, legs, and shoulders.
After your run, find a series of yoga poses that work for you. I like to do the six movements of the spine again, especially after a long run. Do these movements slowly. A nice forward fold, hinging at the hips to allow blood flow in the opposite direction, is a good pose for after a run. Some other good poses include: downward dog, pigeon or reclined pigeon, triangle, bound angle and legs up the wall.
Developing a pre- and post-run routine will help you to stay on track. The mind-body connection is key to creating awareness and reducing injuries. Feel free to email me with questions or come to one of my classes. Enjoy!
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