using yoga to set your intentions for running

Carly’s preparing for her second tour of Boston.  She’s ready to make minor changes that will help her cover 26.2 miles quicker and more efficient.  Read her great post below (originally seen here.):

Carly working on her form for Boston.
Carly working on her form for Boston.


In yoga, one of the first things the instructors says to the class is to “set an intention” for your practice.  This can range from whatever you want it to be; nail that handstand, try wheel for the first time, take a break when you need and not force it, or just have fun.  But I find when I start a practice with that thought in mind, I become more focused and don’t just mindlessly go through all the poses.

However, with running, which I have been doing consistently for about 18 years, I just head out the door giving no thought to it.  Sure sometimes its for a long run, sometimes its for a tempo run but I never really put any thought into the steps I take.

Running Form

I say all this to say, that over the years I have been resistant (I would not say stubborn….) to working on or changing my running form.  From coaches to runners to non-runners, many people have commented on my ‘individualistic’ way of running.  But I always told them, “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it”.  Not that I am some elite athlete or anything but I have always been proud of my running accomplishments and I don’t get injured often so I just figured everyone should just let my running form be.

But finally, after a few years of a combination of yoga and running, it hit me.  I put all this time and energy into running but I am just out there slogging the miles.  But when I am in a yoga studio, I am present in each move (okay 90% of them). So this time around in marathon training, I am going to set an intention to working on my running form.  I am going to focus on my arm swing for each and every run.  Sure, this will be difficult when I am tired and struggling through a long run.  But I am going to start with the intention and hopefully a physical change is not too far behind.

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