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Bit of a stretch

I’ve been thinking more about how I can add some more variety into my training. I’ve said it before, we’ve all said it before, this means cross-training. 

I’m reasonably fit, but I’m geared entirely for running. The bits of me that need to move for running can move pretty well, forwards and backwards, causing the relentless gasping for air as I go. The rest of me isn’t quite so in tune. The classic groan-as-you-sit-down/moan-as-you-get-up routine. 

I’ve written about swimming and cycling as cross-training, but this week I’ve been thinking a bit broader and have targeted some stretching exercises. Apart from some stretches before and after a run, I’ve never taken on a specific stretching workout. As an intro I turned to my watch for guidance. 

I found a couple of useful options under workouts on my watch: Yoga and Pilates. I wasn’t entirely sure what the difference is, or which is the right one to choose, so will have a go at a workout of each. 

I decided to start off with Yoga. There’s a workout on Garmin Connect called Yoga for Runners, the perfect thing for me. Two things from this in hindsight: firstly, this is an intermediate level workout. I am not an intermediate level yoga-ist, I’m barely a beginner. Secondly, the workout lasted half an hour, a duration that can be referred to as “a long time for a beginner to do yoga”.

Looking down the list of stretches before I started, I counted 91 individual poses. There were ones I’d heard of (Child’s pose, Cat Pose, Thread the Needle Pose), one’s I hadn’t (Peaceful Warrior Pose) and technical ones I liked the sound of (Standing Single Leg Forward Bend with IT Band Opener). There was no sense of irony lost on me that the final one was called Corpse Pose lasting a minute (or possibly eternity). 

The workout went as well as could be expected. I didn’t know most of the poses and struggled to meet the demanding timeframes set by my watch. It displayed very helpful graphics of the movements as we went along but with sometimes only ten seconds to do them, we’d already moved on to the next one. 

It’s all a learning thing though, and I can’t expect to be good at it immediately. It clearly needs time to get familiar with the routine. But it felt ok – the range of muscles and bits of body worked out was excellent and it felt good that this was designed for runners. It’s something I’ll return to in the off days, and hopefully will see benefits in my running from it in the future.

With stretching now ticked off I can move on to… no, wait. There’s another: Pilates for Runners; a 30 minute intermediate workout. Oh well, next up then, some pilates!

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