In order to survive, dare I say, even thrive while training and completing a 50 mile event, I plan to use all the tools of yoga therapy at my disposal.
The key to this isn't in taking class after class or even choosing the right form of yoga during the right phase of training (more on that in a future post) but ultimately will come down to yoga therapy's gift of awareness.
If I'm constantly in a state of body coercion instead of body compassion, I may still manage to check the workouts off the list but at what eventual cost? What part of me will break down and what if that happens before I even get to the start line? I recognize that it's not an if but when scenario for me. Gone are the days of my 20s when my body could be pushed much harder and show more forgiveness.
Even then, when training for my first marathon at the tail end of my 20's several years ago, I ended up with a terrible bronchial infection. Not only did it derail my training enough to prevent me from running the race, every time I restarted my training and reached a certain mileage threshold, I was sick again. It took almost a year to recover. It was miserable and depressing and I definitely don't want to go back to that place.
So then burnout, injury and illness prevention will come down to resisting the urge to push through at all costs, to forcing out the workout on the schedule, to getting one more thing done instead of resting, to skipping meals, etc. Non-harming, in which self-care is included, is a pillar of yoga therapy and the process allows the messages of the body to be felt and acknowledged.
What's even more interesting about all of this is how training for an athletic event can mirror any stressful event in our lives. Have you ever pushed through a really stressful period like taking care of a loved one who's sick or putting in crazy long hours to get a project completed and as soon as it was over, the wheels came off? Maybe you got sick or took a fall and got injured or just didn't have the energy to get out of bed. What if by being aware of the body's signals, you could take better care of yourself during those times so not only do you have the resources to give more of yourself when needed, you come out at the end of it able to meet the next thing coming your way?
Load is load, my friends, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Heed the body, treat it with compassion and see what happens. The tough stuff won't go away but perhaps it can be a bit more easeful. This is the mindset I want to cultivate as I train, work and live.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Have the wheels ever come off for you? What signals do you know to pay attention to? How has awareness and self-care made a difference in your running and life?
In health and happiness,