I was delighted to find out about Lululemon’s Heatwave 100km challenge back in the middle of November last year. The challenge was to clock 100km with Strava app from 1st to 25th November for an in-store surprise. Without much delay, I joined Strava, clocked in the mile and then attended the community run on 25th November.
Here are highlights of the event:
- Runners turned up for 10km or 15km run at Labrador Park. Not much interaction among runners like any usual running community club because after all, this is a Strava online member of this Lululemon club.
- Good short session of warm up in pairs by Reagan Kang from Haus Athletics turned out to be a good fun.
- I ran the 15km distance and really enjoyed the Southern Ridge course mixing road and trail with some elevation. The route was no marked and I didn’t download the given GPS, so I relied on chasing the fast runner.
- Met a wonderful bunch of Lululemon amazing crew and volunteers including Jesse Timm, who pushed me at the last bit of the run.
- Wonderful breakfast awaited us. Delicious granola provided by The Daily Cut and much needed Cocoloco Thai coconut water quenched the thirst on a humid day.
- Finally, shoes off! A yoga stretch session by Lululemon’s ambassador, Katheryn Cofone made my legs lighter and untightened my hips post 15km run.
Thoughts and benefits of Yoga to runners:
Below are the benefits I encountered with practising yoga as endurance runner in general, or trail runner specifically:
- Mula Bandha– It means ‘Root Lock’ in Sanskrit. It’s the holy grail of yoga which involves contracting the anus (or pubococcygeus/PC muscle) to create stability on the pelvic floor because the pelvis is the seat of our spine. With Mula Bandha practised during running, my running form feels easy, relaxed, and aided me to prolong long hours of the run.
- Strengthening– Upper body work out is often neglected among runners. Yoga practice strengthens entire body especially arm and core (e.g. plank and Chaturanga). Yoga leads to stronger running through improvement of the powerhouse i.e. the core.
- Flexibility and mobility– Not just for overall body flexibility and agility, yoga strengthen key joints, ligaments, and tendon. The ankle stability is important when running on uneven terrains for trail runners, and yoga practice help to achieve this.
- Beyond stretching and prevent injuries– Yoga is a medicine that prevents injury associated with running overuse. The movements in yoga counteract the repetitive motion that running put on the toll to the body. It helps to heal muscles stiffness or soreness.
- Focus– Yoga teaches about concentration and focus. The focus is on instructing the mind to find a settling place as well as finding the gazing point. This is important when running on the trail to help to navigate through obstacle on the ground. The antenna eyeball constantly adjusting and oscillating between look forward, look closer to ground and check out the surrounding.
- Visualise– The power of visualization taught at the end of yoga class is not just for medication. Aside from getting to the top of big hill or finish line visualisation, I envision any elite runner and then instruct every piece of running muscles to emulate the running form.
- Mantra – A mantra is a positive affirmation that connects our awareness to energy and consciousness. ‘Shut up buttercup’, ‘Don’t be a pussy’ and ‘Climb the spine’ are few examples of mantra I used when the going gets tough in ultra running.
- Calm and Equanimity– The mindfulness in yoga help to reduce stress by being calm. When running after long hours, the element of stress exerts on the body. Uncontrollable factors can add to the challenge and heighten the stress. The relaxed but alert mind is key to help runners think clearly when issue or problem arises.
- Breathing– Practicing yoga helps to regulate my breathing so it’s becoming more about breathing easy, slow, deep and rhythmic. Breathing certainly helps with nausea and dizziness I usually suffer in ultra-race.
- Appreciate and gratitude– The most intangible benefit of practising yoga is possessing gratitude. Appreciate the privilege of being a runner by feeling the utmost gratitude for the physical capability to run, to have the freedom and choice to run. Yoga helps a trail runner to feel at peace with the surrounding – despite having a tough course and when the body gives in to fatigue.
Runners, do you gain the benefits mentioned above from practising yoga?
Btw, the in-store surprise was simply awesome – a pair of running shorts by Lululemon.
Visit Lululemon at www.facebook.com/lululemonSingapore for more events like this.
Live To Thrive,x