We hope you are enjoying Youth Runner Blogger Ellen's blogs from the UK. This week she gives her take on stretching.

 

Running training makes you faster, and sometimes a little stiff.

Yoga practice stretches your muscles so you stay injury free, meaning you can run more…and get faster! A perfect match? I think so.

 

For me, Wednesday night will always be known as yoga night. Every week my stepdad Nigel and I head off to the local gym to stretch, relax, and attempt to be ‘yogi-like’. Of course, this never actually happens, I just don’t think I have that yogi-nature. To start with, the class always begins with a short chant which is honestly the funniest thing I have ever heard. Not once has the teacher managed to get through the whole ‘Auuuuuuuuum’ without me collapsing on the floor in a heap of giggles. Sometimes I even like to do a short dance whilst everyone else has their eyes closed- it’s hilarious!

 

And then there’s the weekly ‘challenge’ pose for us ‘students’ to try, which I’m pretty sure is just the yoga teacher’s way of showing us a move that she can execute perfectly, and that we’ve got no hope in ever completing.

 

I remember when I first managed to do one of these poses- I’m sure I earned a jealous glance from the instructor because I was able to bend my back more than her!

 

At first, the prospect of attending a class seemed very daunting seeing as I could hardly touch my toes, but once I arrived, my fears disappeared as I discovered that the class consisted of only four people: with two of them being Nigel and I, and the other two students being a man and a woman who, to be honest, didn’t look like the sportiest of gym-goers. I’ve only met a couple of yoga instructors in my life time, and they’ve all been relatively friendly and kind. Luckily, my teacher was no different.

 

So if you have upped your mileage, or you find yourself missing training due to muscle stiffness, why don’t you give yoga a try? I’m pleased to say that I have become so much more flexible since starting six months ago- and now stretch at home (and occasionally up mountains) after my running workouts to stay supple and injury free. If you’re looking for a class, opt for the hatha, ashtanga, power or core styles, but if you just want to stay at home, go online to sites like DoYogaWithMe or Yogaia.

 

PS. At the yoga class, be prepared for the generic yoga-type people. There will almost always be a professional hippie guy in the corner; a show pony (centre stage, naturally); a rather stiff runner; and of course, a complainer. You’ll just have to guess which one I am.

And one last piece of advice: remember to breathe!

 

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