Race season over, and I plan on taking this recovery seriously. No running for a bit, and prioritising quality sleep, stretching and mindfulness; then introducing strength and conditioning to build a winter base before getting stuck into marathon training in the new year.
Monday I did absolutely nothing. I’d got home late on Sunday night and dived straight into bed, knowing I had to be up early to receive delivery of my online shop – lots of protein and vegetables – before work. It was quite a long day in work, and then I went home for another early night.
Was an admin day, so I managed to make a day time hot yoga class, and do my admin while utilising my massage machine on my lower back and hamstrings. Then I cooked up a huge hearty crockpot. I threw in beef, chorizo, chickpeas, red lentils, tomatoes, peppers, butternut squash, stock, and spices and slow cooked for about 4 hours. My cousin came over for dinner and I served it with a homemade garlic pizza bread topped with homemade pistachio and broccoli pesto. We did also head to the icecream parlour for a scoop afterwards!
Back to work for a full day of patients and then another hour of hot yoga. I definitely fell asleep during the shavasana, and woke up to the ringing of the singing bowl. I’m really struggling with the yoga at the moment. I know that runners are stereotypically stiff and inflexible, but I feel like I’m getting worse, and significantly so even since my first in this set of yoga classes 2 weeks ago!
I had planned to go to yoga again, but cancelled in favour of a sports massage with Michelle at Body Dynamic in Aylesbury, feeling like stretching is all well and good, but I have some niggles I need some assistance in ironing out. It was a painful one, with a gross crunchy sensation when she worked on my hamstrings, lots of adhesions through there!
Right after my massage, I found out I’d passed a big exam. Such a relief! I celebrated with a tub of Gin & Tonic Icecream under my fluffy blanket.
I came home from work, and after dinner and a bit of TV on the sofa with the cat, I went to bed before 9pm!
Last hot yoga of the week followed by meeting Cristian (who I ran the last 3/4 of the Ironman Wales Marathon with) for a grand day out in London. We started with a 1 mile leisurely swim at London Field Lido in Hackney Marsh. It’s closing at the end of the month for renovations, but when it reopens I’ll be back for a Parkrun/swim combo. Then we meandered around Greenwich Market and feasted on sushi, burritos, Thai pork buns, cannoli, sausage rolls and protein bombs. And walked off the bloat with a trip under the Thames to poplar and back. Another early pre-9pm night followed.
I didn’t set an alarm = bliss. 12 hours in bed. I was going to potter around the house today, but my best friend woke me texting ‘yoga?’, so I spent the morning pottering, filing, cleaning, watching tv and cuddling the cat, and went to an early evening Yin Yoga class then came home for a pink Himalayan salt bath. A mini Sunday roast of sausages, roast butternut squash, peas, Yorkshire puds and gravy completed my week.
I purchased the unlimited 20 days of yoga for £45 from Feel Hot Yoga, with studios in Watford and St Albans. It’s a bit far for me to go regularly, at 40-60 minutes drive each way, and would be impossible to fit in frequently around proper marathon or tri training, but I signed up a week before Athens to kickstart my recovery even before the race and to carry on afterwards.
I absolutely recommend these studios. They do a good range of classes from “yoga for sport” to “yin yoga”. Yin yoga was described as the opposite of yang yoga. Where yang yoga is active, and you might grab your feet or legs to pull your head down further into a stretch, yin yoga is passive and poses are held for 2-4 minutes, with concentration on breathing and letting yourself go into the stretch. Apparently this is better for stretching the connective tissue such as the tendons and fascia rather than the muscles themselves.
So far I’ve been to Yoga for Sport, Hot Hatha Flow Fusion, Dynamic Hot Flow Hatha, Warm Yin Flow, Hot Vinyasa, Warm & Restorative, and Hot Hatha. So a good range of different classes and teachers. I have two more Hot Hatha classes booked for Monday and Tuesday evenings before my 20 days runs out.
I really like the chance to relax before and after classes. But I get a bit ratty when people come in and chit chat before the class starts, and it’s my mediation time.
Oddest experience of the 3 weeks was listening to a new girl turn up and discuss where to position herself with the instructor. She initially put her mat right in the doorway, and he said she was too close to the wall (politely leaving out the fact she was in everyone’s way coming in). She said she didn’t want to get hot and he explained the hottest areas of the room and gradient. But advised she moved out from the wall a bit. She replied she didn’t mind where she was at long as she didn’t get hot. Bizarre. It’s not a yoga centre with an ordinary studio and a hot studio. This is Feel Hot Yoga, so if you don’t like the heat, I’d really recommend you avoid!
I’ll certainly be adding this studio to my list to visit when I need a stretch out and will aim to go every couple of weeks over the winter and through marathon training when I restart.
My favourite studio is Ella & Fleur in Cheltenham, but that is too far now I have moved away, though may go the day after the Xmas party for my old running club.
Then Feel Hot in Hertfordshire & Yoga Venue in Oxford are probably equally accessible for me. I’m yet to try out the Milton Keynes studio I’ve been recommended.