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Top Benefits of Incorporating Yoga with Running

Tracy Riggs, Rigazzi Mobile Wellness

Often called runner’s high, the joy of making it to the place where you lose sense of time and simply connect to the road in a run is why many runners continually return to the open road. Running is a minimal gear activity and one you could start today by literally stepping out your front door. Being a runner can take you throughout the seasons – add a rainproof layer, a breathable wool top, and the run continues in even the most extreme temperatures. Runners love their hobby. However, if running is all that you do, you may begin to see injuries creep up as imbalances could occur. One helpful way to keep injuries at bay is by adding yoga into your training. Yoga has been touted as a runner’s best friend and there are many reasons to incorporate yoga into training.

Increased Body Awareness Can Lead to Injury Prevention

Running is repetitive action with the same muscle groups being used continuously. The quadriceps, IT band (iliotibial band), hamstrings, glutes, and calves are the major muscles engaged during a run. Using these muscles, repetitively, without cross-training or stretching could lead to injury. Tendinitis or stress fractures occur by trauma from repeated actions, especially as we age. Introducing the stabilizing, strength building, and stretching found in yoga can decrease the chances that injury will occur. Not to mention the added benefits of mindfulness and breathwork found within a yoga practice. Mindfulness teaches an individual how to listen to their body and this practice of noticing the body is one of the best ways to prevent an injury from ever happening. Mindful awareness protects us by assisting us with knowledge of being present with what our body is trying to say. A mindfulness practice, found within yoga, can draw attention to your body if joints hurt or ache during physical activity, this mindfulness can prevent injury, as we are attentive to the pain, recognize the pain, and then stop instead of trying to push through pain – specially in joints.

Tracy Riggs, Rigazzi Mobile Wellness

Breathwork, developed in a yoga class, assists runners with increased stride, power during hill climbs, and helps with maintaining an even pace for longer. Increasing VO2 max, or aerobic capacity, is crucial for racing and running successes. VO2 max is the volume (V) of oxygen (O2) that you consume while running. If an athlete has a high VO2 max, then they carry the ability to pump large amounts of oxygen-rich blood to all the muscles that are working. This maximum oxygen intake is vital physiological variables which lead to increased performance and endurance for runners and athletes. In yoga, the breathwork associated with a physical practice is called pranayama. Pranayama translates from Sanskrit as “breath control.” Practicing breath control increases a runner’s ability to control their breath while racing. There are numerous studies and practices available which point to increasing VO2 max by learning proper breathing techniques. It has been shown that when a runner learns to change unconscious breathing patterns, then body oxygenation and VO2 max will also greatly improve.

Oftentimes runners, who maintain a balanced running career, get by without injury. When preparing for longer runs or races, adding yoga into the mix strengthens and stretches muscles of the body, keeping runners safe, as well as stable during a run. With increased oxygenation and body awareness, the mix of running and yoga do seem to be ideal.

Tracy Riggs, Rigazzi Mobile Wellness

Yoga Impacts Concentration for Runners, Taking Them the Extra Mile

“I first went to yoga back in 2016. I was regularly running, so why not do yoga with beer?” Dylan, an avid runner in Knoxville states. “I enjoyed the mindfulness that came. Figuring out what I needed to do with my body required all my focus, and all the other daily chatter got quiet. This mindful element was not something I noticed until afterward. A refreshing difference with yoga and running is that in yoga it is never a competition. You focus on becoming better at ‘your’ practice. This mindset is also beneficial for running, race or not. On a happy side note, I met my wife, Mary, for the first time at a yoga class.” The added benefit of improved concentration for a runner is huge. Maintaining focus on the miles that are between you and the end of the run or the finish line takes a huge amount of focus.

One of the Eight Limbs of Yoga (the core philosophies of yoga tradition) is all about focus. In Sanskrit, the ancient yoga language, Dharana, the 6th limb of yoga, means focused concentration. Runners often talk about having focused concentration, or dharana, when in a race. Look at any runner’s face during a marathon, or intense race and you can visibly see this concentration or dharana. If you’re struggling to maintain focused mindsets while running, this is another situation where yoga can provide assistance. In yoga poses, such as tree, the yogi must maintain focused concentration, dharana, on a single point that is not moving in order to maintain balance. This concentration in tree pose is maintained while the yogi lifts their leg, raises arms overhead, and perhaps even says. This is one example of where concentration is ‘taught’ in a yoga session. This concentration learned in a yoga class, trains the mind for daily life. Concentration during a yoga session increases focus, and this practice carries off the mat into daily life and therefore into running. For additional training with concentration, we recommend meditation, which is the next limb of yoga, dhyana.

Wellness for All Athletes Across East Tennessee
Runner, cyclist, walker, hiker, you name it and we think that any form of movement benefits from the added practices of mindfulness and breathwork. With this article, we partnered with @865running to bring the benefits of yoga added into a runner’s cross-training. At Rigazzi, we custom create classes and programs for the athlete, or inner athlete, in all of us. Why not take add yoga to your training routine to reap the benefits? Check out one of the community classes, or reach out to schedule a private class for you, your workplace, or school! We guarantee the practice will improve not only your run, but also your mind and overall fitness goals.

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Take Your Running to the Next Level with RunKNOX

RunKNOX Training Group

We hear it all the time: “I don’t need to pay someone to tell me how to run. It’s easy and I can do it for free.” Yes, running can be an individual activity. I enjoy solo running as much as the next person, but when it comes to setting big, bold goals, joining a training program provides significant advantages.

Why do runners need a coach?

  • Our coaches are runners just like you. We’ve been there and love to share what we’ve learned through personal experience. We’ll literally be there every step of the way. Want some help hitting your paces? We’ll run with you!
  • Our coaches are certified and educated. We understand the physiology of exercise and we design workouts to specifically elicit changes at the cellular level. Nothing is arbitrary as every run has a specific purpose. We follow a systematic approach to incrementally change you from the inside out. We know when to push you harder and often more importantly, when to reign you back in.
  • With a coach, comes a team. We work with a wide variety of clients from walkers to Boston Marathon Qualifiers. Whatever your background, you’ll have an entire support network to help optimize your training. Joining RunKNOX might be the step that takes your training to a new level.
Early morning track workouts

What is RunKNOX?

  • The Knoxville Track Club’s coach led training program. We work to reach individual goals in a group setting. Upon joining, you’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire so the coaches understand your background, experience, injury history, and future goals. You’ll get personalized training pace recommendations based off of a time trial, or recent race performance. We meet as a big group and split up into small groups of individuals of similar ability. You’ll run at your personal pace, but within the group setting. Team camaraderie and group accountability are powerful tools that we utilize regularly.

What do you train for?

  • Most participants are targeting KTC’s big seasonal events such as Pigeon Forge 13.1/5k (Fall), Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon 26.2/13.1/Relay/5k (Winter), Expo 10k/5k (Spring), and Fireball 5k/Carter Mill 10k/Pigeon Forge 8k (Summer).
  • We’re happy to program for any race that you wish to run. For example, we recently had folks participating in the CrossKnox 15k, Air Force and Chicago Marathons, multiple trail races, and Baltimore 13.1. Indianapolis, Chickamauga, Secret City, Philadelphia, Cali International, and Kiawah are coming up next.
  • Some participants don’t race. They are simply involved for the accountability and social support.
RunKNOX Yoga at Physio Lab

What does a RunKNOX membership cost?

  • Just $10/week. It’s a steal. One random drop-in yoga class in Knoxville will cost you at least 10 bucks. KTC is a nonprofit and RunKNOX is here as a service to the community, so we work hard to keep costs down. We have multiple discounts available and a scholarship program as well. If you need some help, just ask!

What does membership entail?

  • Weekly detailed Training Program via email plus regular access to 3 coaches
  • Monday Evening Core Workout 6:15 pm at The Long Run
  • Tuesday Evening Quality Run (intervals/tempo/hills) 6 pm at Tennessee Sports Medicine Group
  • Wednesday Morning Quality Run (same as Tues night) 5am at West High School
  • Wednesday Evening Quality Run (same as Tues night and Wed morning) 5:30 pm at Melton Lake Park in Oak Ridge
  • Thursday Evening Yoga 6:15 pm at PhysioLab
  • Saturday Morning Long Runs (time and location vary by season)
RunKNOX Core Workout at The Long Run

My question back to those of you who don’t train with a coach and/or in a group: Why aren’t you plugged into a program? For the cost of going out to eat once per week, you can get a full week’s worth of coach led training within a fun, supportive team. If you have questions, give me a shout and I’ll be happy to chat!  

Coach Scott Schmidt, RunKNOX

Community Contributor: Scott Schmidt, Head Coach & Program Director of the Knoxville Track Club’s RunKNOX training program  http://www.ktc.org/RunKNOX.html

Website: http://www.ktc.org/RunKNOX.html or search “RunKNOX’ on https://runsignup.com/

Email: runknox@gmail.com   

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Scott Schmidt is the Head Coach and Program Director of RunKNOX. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, receiving his bachelor’s degree in Education (Exercise Science concentration) in 2003 and master’s degree in Exercise Physiology in 2006. He works for the Department of Energy as an Exercise Physiologist, focusing on employee physical fitness testing, training, and wellness promotion. Scott is an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and RRCA Certified Running Coach. Scott ran the 2007 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon to check “marathon” off his bucket list. That “one and done” marathon has turned into 20+ as he’s now working toward checking a marathon in all 50 states off of his list. He and his wife, Angie, are extremely active in the Knoxville Track Club and received the 2013 Ginny Canfield Memorial Service Award in appreciation of their volunteer efforts. Scott volunteers time by serving on the Board of Directors, Road Race Committee, and as a Race Director.

Shoe Advice from New Balance

New Balance 860

When purchasing a new pair of running shoes, it is important to be mindful of the fact that even though there are hundreds of excellent running shoes out there. This does not necessarily mean that all of these excellent running shoes are good for specifically you and your feet. People are so use to fitting themselves and almost always do so incorrectly.  Many people do not know how a properly fitted shoe should feel.  For example, your toes should not hit end of shoe.

New Balance 1080

What to expect-

Upon being greeted by one of our staff here at New Balance Knoxville, we always begin the conversation with customers with a series of questions to discover what brings them to the store, primary activities, foot issues, preferences, etc. After the initial analysis, it is important for us to measure both feet here at New Balance Knoxville, as New Balance’s sizing tends to run differently from other shoe companies. To ensure that the customer is achieving the correct fit, we measure both feet with our Brannock Foot-Measuring Device®. Additionally, we have a Fit-System here in store that we like to use to check a customer’s arches, as well as specific pressure points that may be alleviated by a certain shoe and/or insole. We can also check a customer’s gait if we have not yet spotted signs of over-pronation and/or supination. 

If you have always had a lower arch, then a cushioned neutral shoe may feel best.   However, if your arch has become more flexible with age we typically recommend starting with a shoe with a bit more stability. For those with flat feet, we typically recommend a bit of stability or a motion control shoe, depending on the severity of the collapsed arches, or flexibility of the arches. On the contrary, for those with higher arches we tend to recommend neutral cushioning shoes, as supination can occur.    

New Balance Fresh Foam More

It is crucial for people to be educated about their feet and proper shoe  (foot) wear, specific to them, as there are many great shoes out there on the market that could potentially cause harm to their bodies even though they might be a perfect fit for their peers with foot issues. This is where shopping online has its negatives. Not every piece of information is provided when shopping online. Certain shoe brands run differently in sizes than others, and certain shoes of ours even run different from New Balance shoes. Shoes are made on different patterns/molds/lasts so they will fit each of us differently. One should not assume that they wear the same size in every model.

This analysis is just a place to start. It’s always a journey to find the right pair of shoes, and we hope that you will stop by our store for an astute analysis and proper fit. 

New Balance Knoxville, locally owned and operated since 2000

Eric Alley, New Balance Knoxville

865-539-1100

8027 Kingston Pike

Knoxville, TN 37919 

Instagram: @Newbalanceknoxville

Patience in the Process

Patrick Thomas Gildea, Director/Head Coach for the Knoxville Distance Project

One of the more beloved anthems in the Grateful Dead arsenal is “Shakedown Street” and it can be a metaphor for increasing mileage and building endurance from the beginner to the advanced runner. Bear with me here… In a similar fashion to way the original jam kings took their time, improvising and delicately maneuvering their way through each song until the final note was played, you can find a like-minded approach to your own running. A verse in the song states, “Maybe you had too much too fast,” and if you take that into consideration and place in the context of your own running when making a jump training it makes total sense. You can’t simply add more miles all at once. You’re headed down a slippery slope or facing uphill battle – whichever way you look at it. If you read in between the notes of the song, really, it speaks about patience.

I think, as runners, the most important lesson we can take away from training is always practicing patience. Success doesn’t occur overnight. Sure, we’d all love to feel great each day, have our best workout or set a PR in every race we run. It’s not practical though. Taking a long-term approach to training, making adjustments with your coach, if you have one, along the way can prove to be very valuable if you want to reach and exceed your goals. Understanding where you are and where you want to go is important.

“Sure don’t know what I’m going for, but I’m gonna go for it for sure.”

Whether you’re starting out on Barren Ground or you have more than a few races under your belt, there’s no good advice in being Runaway Jim and Throwing Stones to the wind when increasing your training load. If you train appropriately and manage each day accordingly, you too, can Run Like An Antelope. Taking a cautious approach and being mindful that your body can handle an amount which is appropriate for where you are is a safe approach. Some things to consider when increasing mileage and building your endurance:

  • Recovery – Make sure that you are adequately rested before you head out on your next run. In order to run more and build that base, it is imperative that you stay healthy, minimize injury and recovery is the major component. Foam roll, stretch, strength and conditioning – all keys to recovery and injury management.
  • Consistency – A simple way to increase mileage and build endurance is to get out and run. Add to the frequency at which you run while making sure that you’re taking each run easy and not pressing. Your body responds to stress. It’ll learn to manage it. A soft, easy, short run has benefit. Get out and go!
  • Pace/Effort – Take your time. There’s no point in rushing your way to success. Working your way through training “on feel” can be a good way to progress from one step to another. Simple checks along the way; using a sliding scale of effort can be beneficial.
  • Focus – On the details. Feel things like rhythm, cadence, breathing, form. Get to know them well. Having a joyful approach to your training as opposed to having to hit a desired amount of mileage. Mileage is just a number. Time well spent can be seen as much more valuable.
  • Mileage/Minutes – Whether you go by one or the other, take it slowly. It’s not practical to go from a 5 mile run to a 15 mile run. When increasing, be mindful on the physicality of the run. For someone just starting out, allow your body to adapt for about a month before making an increase in mileage.

We all wish we had the exact answer, that Estimated Prophet appearing and telling us everything will be okay. The reality is that when you’re putting together a training program you want a philosophy Built to Last. There’s more than one bridge that leads Across the River. Take your time, there’s Pastures of Plenty and if you set out in believing that – you will find success.

Patrick is a Tennessee graduate where he was a standout distance runner for the Vols. He competed professionally and qualified for two IAAF World Championships in cross country and half-marathon. He’s run PR’s of 14:01 for 5k, 28:38 for 10k and 63:43 for the half-marathon. He’s coached runners of all ages and ability. Patrick is the Director/Head Coach at Knoxville Distance Project where he values training with balance, structure and flexibility. You can contact him at knoxdistanceproject@gmail.com.

Postpartum Running: Make Breastfeeding and Running Coexist

Community Contributor: Whitney Heins, Founder of Mother Runners, Knoxville, TN

Whitney Heins, Founder of @themotherrunners

Know what breastfeeding babies don’t seem to mind? Sweaty boobs! Know what they do mind? A mama who isn’t around to feed them whenever they want because she’s out running.

I got into good routine with my kids while breastfeeding—nurse, run, and nurse immediately afterwards again. But there were plenty of runs cut short or full or worry as I left my mama-loving babies at home.

Indeed, breastfeeding can pose a big challenge for Mother Runners. First, there’s the gargantuan-sized chest that can make a light jog pretty uncomfortable. Then, there’s the baby who wants to cluster feed and goes ballistic when mom’s chest isn’t nearby. Honestly, I never needed a run more than while nursing my children which also happened to be the toughest time to have that escape..

I asked other Mother Runners how they survived breastfeeding and running. Here are their best tips.

Get the right support. Chances are, your prepartum sports bra isn’t going to fit your postpartum chest. You need more support and room. Our Mother Runners loved this Motherhood Maternity racerback nursing bra. In fact, they wore it running, under outfits and to sleep. They also liked Lululemon’s Enlite bra for its support and comfort..

Nurse or pump first. Empty those bad boys before you go. In a perfect world, you can feed your baby and have a nice three-hour window to run. Maybe even have time to stretch, shower and drink a smoothie afterwards (!). But sometimes babies don’t play by our rule book. They don’t want to wake up for a good feeding or you don’t want to wake them up because you just got them to sleep. For those times, pump and have fresh milk ready for your partner to give to your baby should they get hungry when you’re out.

Stay close to home. But then there are those babies who won’t take the bottle. (My daughter was one no matter every trick in the book we—and professionals—tried). For those babies, stay near so you can run back if needed. Surely, this isn’t ideal. By the time you get home and do a feeding, your window to run is likely gone. When frustration mounts, remind yourself this won’t be the situation forever. Running will be there for you after you’re there for your baby.

Recruit your husband to your team. One Mother Runner’s husband would kill me if he knew I was sharing this story—When confronted with a screaming baby, he put on his wife’s pink fuzzy robe that she wore while nursing—and lo and behold, the baby settled! Another Mother Runner’s husband would take their baby boy to the track and jog with him while the mama did speedwork. That way she was close by if needed. Her husband preferred this option to being home with a hysterical baby. In fact, the baby’s attachment to mama became a good excuse for the husband and wife team to exercise together.

Take cover. I would often run with my baby in the BOB stroller where I stored a nursing cover and blanket. During those cluster feeding stages, I’d stop and nurse my kids under a tree or on a bench, and then keep running. It wasn’t the best workout—but I’d make up for it during those times she wanted OUT of the stroller and I would have to book it home (spontaneous speedwork!).

Pack your equipment. One Mother Runner would pack a hand pump with her in case she needed to express milk while running (like if a baby only fed on one side during a run). (Check out this Mother Runner who set a world record in an ultra-marathon and pumped milk for her baby along the way. Incredible.) Another Mother Runner got an adaptor for her breast pump so she could pump in the car on the way to her starting point.

Feed, run, repeat. For those of you ready to race while still nursing—you’re a badass—and be prepared to sandwich that race in between feeding sessions: breastfeed, warm-up, race, breastfeed, cooldown.

Then take a nap. A loooong nap.

Whitney Heins is the founder of The Mother Runners, a place where moms who run or want to run can find information and inspiration to chase their dreams. Whitney is a former journalist who works from home with her two small children. She is currently training to qualify for the Olympic trials in the marathon this fall. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @themotherrunners

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