Road Racing is addictive – I get it, there is a reason why road races around the country made over $100,000,000 in total revenue last year.
We love racing but sometimes that comes without the proper buildup; maybe your friend talked you into it or you chose to run two marathons back to back… chances are you are not 100% prepared to run your best.
I’ve made that mistake at times – we used to think that the best way to train was to race yourself into shape but now we know that you have a finite number of hard efforts in a training cycle, be it mentally or physically… something has to give.
Success in road racing is about patience.
Sometimes racing too much can be detrimental to your confidence if you aren’t ready to roll – but racing can also be a good benchmark for your current training. Racing is a two way street and as a runner you must have perspective and you must have patience – there is a lot of experience that goes into knowing if it is a good time to race. That is where a good coach can be invaluable – knowing when you need a race to test fitness and knowing when it will kill your confidence or wear you down.
I tackled this very issue in one of my A Day In The Life videos:
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my years of yoga practice is the need for rest. We all have this part of us that is the constant seeker. Always feeling the pull to achieve goals, focus on where we are going, willing ourselves to do more and keep moving forward. It’s hard to let go and take the time to rest when your body tells you “stop, I can’t take another minute”. I’m not talking about scheduled rest days in your fitness program. I’m talking about the days or even weeks where you’ve somehow hit a wall with your energy level, your performance, your desire, your discipline, your will power. Perhaps something in your personal life has depleted you emotionally and as a result you are lacking in coordination and balance. Or maybe work-related stress has you waking up, anxious, at 3am and your legs feel like tree trunks the next day. Psychological stress can have these physiological effects. These are the times to take a restorative yoga class, practice Yoga Nidra, or choose poses before bedtime that encourage sleep. And, most importantly, adjust or even put a pause on your fitness routine. Your body is talking to you. If you don’t take the time to listen and nurture it, your body will just scream louder next time and the recovery time could be longer.
Restorative yoga classes emphasize full relaxation by propping up the body in mostly reclining positions that are held for many minutes at a time. You will then be guided into releasing your grip on the body and the mind. You may fall asleep or you may just reach a place of deep relaxation.
Yoga Nidra or yogic sleep is like an extended, more deeply-focused Savasana or Corpse Pose. The instructor uses voice commands to guide you in visualizing each body part. At the start, you will also be instructed to repeat the mantra “I am doing Yoga Nidra and I will not fall asleep”. The CHOICE to enter Yoga Nidra is absolutely key. It is more restful and beneficial for you to consciously practice the deep visualization than it is to nap. In fact, it is said that 20 minutes of Yoga Nidra relaxes you so deeply on both a physical and emotional level that it is equal to 4 hours of sleep! With my online coaching and audios of guided Yoga Nidra, you can do it right in your own home.
Lastly, adding a few forward bends to your nighttime routine will trigger your body to engage in relaxation as it moves toward a sleep state. Forward bends are poses that require full surrender. Telling yourself you are fully surrendering to the need to sleep and rest your body and mind as you are in these poses further encourages deep relaxation and a letting go that is deeper and more trustful. Suggested poses are: Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana), Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Badda Konasa), and One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana). Hold each pose for 2 to 5 minutes as you breathe slowly and deeply.
Maybe one of these choices becomes a daily or weekly habit for you or perhaps only used as the obvious need occurs. Either way, learning to give your body the deep rest it needs is essential for your growth and expansion both physically and emotionally. If you could benefit from coaching to help you incorporate these tips into your daily routine, please contact me.