This entry in my series on recovery at Ironman.com exhorts you to put your feet up and enjoy that egg nog.
This time of year, articles offering advice on how to keep your weight down during the holidays are as numerous as cans of pumpkin in the grocery store. Just look at any health magazine. But for those who are really serious about this sport—those who work and train to near-exhaustion through much of the year–the holidays offer a welcome respite to the racing season’s relentlessness. Contrary to what you’ll read elsewhere, I’m going to propose using the holidays to indulge and—gasp!—even to gain a little weight.
Some may call the holiday season time off, but it’s actually an invaluable part of your training cycle. Think of it like an extended night’s sleep after a busy year, instead of a busy day. As you rest, your body actually works hard, repairing the effects of a year’s worth of heavy training. Micro-tears heal, inflammation leaves the joints and, yes, fat pads the system, preparing it for more work in the new year.
Read the full piece: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2014/11/recovery-series-holidays-as-recovery.aspx#ixzz3L2fSKemh
And for more on recovery, please enjoy The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery.
Is there a ski trip in your near future, or snow outside your window? My latest piece for Yoga Journal features poses to complement your winter sports.
As you head out into the snowy wonderland for winter endurance sports like skiing and snowshoeing, be sure to bring yoga with you. Yoga helps you develop the focus, breath awareness, and balance you need to stay present and healthy all winter. The repetitive, rhythmic movement of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing helps you develop dharana, single-pointed concentration. (Try using a mantraas you move.) The movement of your body coordinates with the movement of your breath, and the entire trek can become a meditation in motion.
Asana will help, too. The following poses lengthen and strengthen your body for better performance and enjoyment of winter sports. This sequence releases your upper body and builds stability in your lower body. It focuses on the glutes, which power your pushoff; the hip flexors, which initiate the next step; and the lower leg, which has to stay stable and engaged over uneven surfaces inside winter boots.
Read the full piece and view the slideshow here. There’s also a video showing how to flow from pose to pose. Enjoy the snow!
The latest in my articles on recovery at Ironman.com asks what dead legs are telling you. (Hint: it’s to rest!)
Serious triathletes have a host of words to describe the way their legs are feeling. On the positive side, this includes fresh, snappy, springy, zippy and many more. The converse terms are dead legs, or legs that feel heavy, gunky, shot. These terms are a way to qualify the state of our fitness and recovery. When you are under-recovered, you have dead legs. When you are fit and rested at the same time, you have springy legs.
Read more, including my advice on how to revive dead legs: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2014/12/recovery-series-dead-legs.aspx#ixzz3LbRXsDxg
I have a slideshow up at Yoga Journal featuring three warming breath practices for wintertime. Taken out of context, the photos tell an amusing story:
I check my breath!
I make a silly face!
I regret eating that burrito!
Click here to enjoy the full thing, with explanations of what’s really going on. There’s also a video to explain further.
I’ve got a series on recovery and the off-season running at Ironman.com. The first one asks, “Do you know the most powerful factor in the recovery equation?”:
In my book, The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery, I include in the appendix a post-race recovery chart. This chart lists the number of days an athlete should plan to recover, based on the race distance and other factors (such as whether the race was an “A” race or simply a stop en route to another goal race). Based on a fantastic table that Olympic coach Gale Bernhardt designed (available on Active.com), the chart clearly lays out the effect of training, race plan execution, and post-race care on the length of your recovery.
These life factors, which include your training progression, your daily stress, and your nutrition, play a critical role in your recovery. A foam roller or compression socks are not going to make up for deficient rest and stress management. But the most powerful factor of all is simply time. You must give your body time to repair itself, not only between workouts, but especially after a peak event like a long-course triathlon.
Read the full piece: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2014/11/recovery-series-how-much-time.aspx#ixzz3L2Wewqyp
For more on recovery, please read The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery—also available as an e-book and in German, Spanish, and Japanese!
I’m already looking forward to February, when I’ll be returning to present at the Running Summit East. This fantastic event features wonderful speakers—I’m eager to hang with Matt, Peter, and Wendy again, and a little awestruck that I’ll get to meet Jonathan Dugas, from the great Science of Sport blog. My presentations are both brand-new: one based on Racing Wisely, and the other a simple template for building everyday core routines for yourself and, if you coach, your athletes. If you are a coach, you’ll get CEUs for USATF, USAT, and the NCSA. But even if you’re a casual runner, you’ll be blown away by the caliber of speaker and the wealth of information this fun event offers. I hope to see you there!
The Running Summit returns to New Jersey as Running Summit East, February 7–8, 2015, at the Morristown Medical Center in Morristown. This event follows in the foot steps of highly regarded and well attended Running Summits in New Jersey (August 2012, March 2014) and California (February 2013). The event will bring together five top coaches and authors in the sport to share their expertise: Matt Fitzgerald, Jonathan Dugas, Sage Rountree, Peter Thompson and Wendy Winn Rhodes. The Running Summit will feature two lectures by Matt, Jonathan, Sage and Wendy, and one by Peter. One session by both Sage and Wendy will be a learn by doing presentation. Eligible coaches can earn CEU credit for USATF Level 3, USAT, and NSCA. The event is open to all coaches and runners regardless of their previous experience or certification level. Participants just need to be willing and eager to learn.
Read more and register here!
Coach Joe Vigil and Sage at a previous Running Summit
Racing Wisely: Developing and Executing a Race Plan
You’ve dialed in a training cycle for your key race-are you ready to pace it properly? All the training in the world is useless if you can’t plan and manage your effort correctly on race day. Coach Sage Rountree explains how to use your mental and physical skills to execute your race to the best of your ability. If you or your athletes have ever run out of gas before the finish or think a negative split is impossible-or if you’re eager to land on the podium before the season is out-you won’t want to miss this presentation. You’ll learn how to set your intention and appropriate time goals and paces, and how to stick to them when things get intense; how to manage your efforts to race for your personal best time; and how to race for competitive placing. Along the way, we’ll investigate training and taper workouts to dial in your skills for race day. You’ll finish inspired to deliver your personal best at your next race.
Everyday Core: Accessing Your Powerhouse for Better Running
We know the core muscles are critical for running, but many of us throw in only a few perfunctory crunches or planks and call it a day. By shortchanging your core strength, you’re undermining your ability to train without injury and to keep good form throughout each run. Coach and yoga and Pilates teacher Sage Rountree guides you through the anatomy of the core, then explains a simple approach to creating balanced core sequences. We’ll also cover ways to modify these sequences to help you and your athletes progress over the course of a season. Using the techniques outlined in this presentation, you’ll be able to design and execute short routines to practice everyday to improve your posture, strengthen your abs and glutes, and access the full power of your body for better running.
I’ve just scheduled a special workshop at Carrboro Yoga Company for New Year’s Eve focused on goals, intentions, and release. (Goals and intentions are a critical part of my latest book, Racing Wisely, but they apply to everyone, especially at the new year.) Please join me! As it’s Cyber Monday, you can sign up for only $20 using the code NYE. Register here.
Join studio co-owner Sage Rountree for this year-end treat. We’ll explore goals, intentions, and release in the context of a fun, flowing, hip-opening all-levels practice. Consider and commit to what you want from 2015 and cultivate a sense of playfulness as you move through the first hour, then find deep release in low-to-the-ground poses and a long, sweet savasana in the second hour. You’ll let go of 2014 and leave ready for a great new year.
$30, $25 before 12/25
Sign up today!
I get lots of great questions about my offerings at Kripalu (Yoga for Athletes and Teaching Yoga to Athletes, about which you can read more here). Here are some of the usual inquiries, with my answers.
Q: I’m not athletic; is the weekend still for me?
A: Absolutely! We focus on finding ways to include yoga in your daily routine, no matter what you do with your body. Even if you spend most of your time behind a desk, you’ll learn how to use asana to balance your body and yoga’s approach to breath and meditation to sharpen your focus.
Q: I’m not a yogi—in fact, I’ve never done yoga; is the weekend still for me?
A: Absolutely. We will not be putting our feet behind our heads! Athletes are often very tight, and the easygoing style of yoga we practice will accommodate all levels, ages, and abilities.
Q: I’m intrigued, but I’d like to know more about your work and teaching before committing. Where should I look?
A: Poke around my website, and check out these free videos that will give you a sense of my teaching style.
Q: Which of the two sessions should I do? I’m interested in teaching yoga to athletes.
A: If you can make Teaching Yoga to Athletes, the five-day (Sunday–Friday), that’s designed for teachers who want to offer classes to athletes and teams, so it’s the best fit. If you can spare only a weekend, though, come to Yoga for Athletes—you’ll be able to reverse engineer based on what I offer the athletes. Better yet, come for BOTH. Each year there are a few wonderful students who do both programs (you get a discount on registration; ask when you sign up).
Q: I’m not a yoga teacher; is the intensive still for me?
A: Sure! Every year, we have a handful of folks who are coaches, personal trainers, physical therapists, or simply athletes interested in learning how best to incorporate yoga in their training. Join us!
Q: I have an injury (or will be late in a pregnancy)—how vigorous is the teachers’ intensive?
A: We practice every day but NONE of it is that rigorous. As I explain in the first moments of the intensive, as I see it, yoga for athletes is not athletic yoga. Instead, it’s yoga to complement and balance the training athletes do. Each day starts with lecture and discussion, then an hour or so of moderate practice with lots of modifications. After lunch, we do a Q&A, some group work, and a shorter gentle practice. I think you’ll be fine, and you’re welcome to sit and observe the asana practice if that feels better.
Q: What’s the difference between the in-person and the online version of Teaching Yoga to Athletes?
A: The five-day at Kripalu is a slightly condensed version of the online course. It all depends on your time and learning style. More details on cert vs. content are here: http://sageyogateachertraining.com/online-yoga-for-athletes-teacher-training-and-certification/ and here: http://sageyogateachertraining.com/online-course-faq/
Q: How much time do we spend in the program itself? What can I do while I’m there?
A: Three hours in the morning, two in the afternoon. Outside of program hours, there’s so much to do! You can take an early morning class, enjoy a delicious breakfast, shake it at noon dance, enjoy a delicious lunch, go for a run or hike, take an afternoon yoga class, enjoy a delicious dinner, attend a lecture or concert in the evening—and you can also enjoy the fantastic services at Kripalu Healing Arts!
Q: How do the days go in the five-day?
A: Here’s a schedule!
Sunday evening, 7:30–9:00 p.m.
Intentions, introductions, overview
Monday morning, 8:30–11:30 a.m.
Lecture and discussion: Philosophy
Practice: Yoga for balance
Monday afternoon, 1:45–3:45 p.m.
Discussion and workbook: Sport-specific demands
Tuesday morning, 8:30–11:30 a.m.
Lecture and discussion: Physiology
Practice: Yoga for strength
Tuesday afternoon, 1:45–3:45 p.m.
Discussion and workbook: Sequencing for the sport
Wednesday morning, 8:30–11:30 a.m.
Lecture and discussion: Psychology
Practice: Yoga for recovery
Wednesday afternoon, 1:45–3:45 p.m.
Discussion and workbook: Sequencing for the period
Thursday morning, 8:30–11:30 a.m.
Lecture and discussion: Pedagogy
Practice: Yoga with modifications
Thursday afternoon, 1:45–3:45 p.m.
Discussion and workbook: Modifications
Friday morning, 9:00–11:00 a.m.
Lecture and discussion: Business of teaching athletes
Discussion and workbook: Goals and action plans
Q: I have more questions—can I ask them?
A: Please! Add them to the comments or use the contact form at the bottom of the page!
I’m so excited to join my friends Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell Davis and my soon-to-be friend and colleague Coach Christine Hinton for the first ever Another Mother Runner Retreat in Little Rock, Arkansas, April 16–19. This fun long weekend will include running, inspiring goal-setting sessions, usable nutrition advice, lots of laughter, and yoga led by yours truly.
Dimity, me, and Sarah this spring
No one can describe all the fun we’ll have better than Sarah and Dimity, so click over to their Retreat page to read all about it. This would make a great destination for you and your running friends, or a gratifying solo escape from family life. And it’d also be a great holiday or spring birthday gift! I really hope to see you there.
Meanwhile, enjoy Dim and Sarah’s great Another Mother Runner podcast. You’ll hear me discuss yoga on episode 116 and Racing Wisely on episode 61—but the episodes are all worth your time, and they make a great long-run companion.
Last year’s teachers’ intensive group
In January, I’ll be returning to one of my favorite places: the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Massachusetts. I’ve been traveling to teach there since 2009 (read pre- and postviews from my previous visits here, including detailed notes on what we’ve covered in each of the sessions). There are two offerings for you to enjoy:
Yoga for Athletes: Strength, Flexibility, and Focus
For all levels of athletic or yoga experience; no prior yoga experience required.
Athletes are often turned off by yoga because it seems too hard, too easy, or out of sync with their training. Triathlete, coach, and yoga teacher Sage Rountree demystifies yoga and explains exactly how it fits with training and competition. Yoga’s emphasis on form, focus, and breath translates to increased efficiency and enjoyment in your sport and your life.
This weekend, learn poses to increase your range of motion and flexibility, especially in the hips and hamstrings. Spend time cultivating sport-specific core strength and balance, examine yoga as mental training, and learn how incorporating yoga’s approach to mind-body integration can make you a better athlete. Practicing the poses and techniques taught in this workshop increases your flexibility, core strength, stability, balance, and physical and mental endurance while lowering recovery time and risk of injury.
Friday, January 23 (starting at 7:30 p.m.)–Sunday, January 25 (ending at 11:30 a.m.). Read more and register here!
Yoga for Athletes Five-Day Teachers’ Intensive
As more and more athletes credit yoga with taking their performance to the next level, the field of yoga for athletes is growing in exciting directions. Specializing in yoga for athletes allows you to share yoga’s benefits with a new, receptive population. Sage Rountree, a pioneer in the field, has multifaceted experience as a coach, athlete, and teacher working with endurance-sports athletes and collegiate teams.
This five-day intensive on yoga for sports training is designed for yoga teachers interested in working with athletes of all sports; it will also be useful for coaches, PE teachers, and personal trainers. In lecture, group discussion, led yoga sequences, and practice teaching, we will cover:
- Philosophy: learn clear and easy ways to describe yoga philosophy in ways your athletes will appreciate
- Physiology: consider the role yoga plays in the context of a training cycle so you can best serve your students
- Psychology: understand the needs, abilities, and limitations that athletes bring to a yoga practice
- Pedagogy: learn to modify classes for athletes of various sports, differing levels of experience, and all points in the training cycle
- Profession: define your business goals, structure a working plan, and embark on a successful career teaching yoga to athletes and everyone
Participants will gain a new awareness of the parallels between yoga and sports training and will leave feeling empowered to teach yoga to athletes in studio, gym, team, or one-on-one settings. The workshop may also be used for CEUs and CECs, including Yoga Alliance contact hours and five USAT CEU credits; contact Sage for details.
This intensive parallels the content of Sage’s online course on teaching yoga to athletes. After the training, you can choose to upgrade to a certification track. Upon completion of a take-home exam and submission of a teaching video, participants who are already teaching at the Yoga Alliance 200-hour level or have comparable experience will receive a certification in teaching yoga to athletes. In addition, the certification track includes free access to the online version of the course, which contains resources and specific sequences for working with different sports and needs, as well as ongoing support from Sage and your colleagues.
Sunday, January 25 (first session begins at 7:30 p.m.) through Friday, January 30 (last session ends at 11:00 a.m.). Read more and register here!
The Stockbridge Bowl seen from Kripalu in winter