Dopey Challenge Training Part 2: Yoga Mobility is Key

Why I’m Running

I am so excited to be taking on my first Dopey Challenge. I am running for the Multiple Scelorsis Association of America in honor of my Mother In Law and all those who suffer from MS.

I am thrilled and proud to be running for her and would love your support. I am looking to raise $3,225 and every dollar counts towards finding a cure and showing our support.

To learn more about my “why” please visit my fundraising site HERE!

Where I’m At With Training

Marathon training is in full swing. If you caught our previous blog post on the subject, I announced that I was training for Dopey Challenge 2021. What is Dopey Challenge? Dopey Challenge is running all four races that are a part of Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

Dopey Challenge 2021 is taking place January 6-10, 2021 and throughout my training I will be checking in with you guys, touching base, providing tips and just talking about what is working for me.

A quick recap of my athletic journey. I started running in middle school. It was miserable. I hated it. I was also a swimmer and played softball. High School is when my life really started revolving around athletics and that has never stopped. I have completed 3 full marathons and 14 (I think) half marathons. This will be my final full marathon…. probably. Never say never.

I am doing an extended season of training. Typically, I train for about five or six months prior to a full but I am training for over eight months for Dopey. There is a simple reason why. I have no cartilege in my knees. In addition, I am injury prone due to issues in my joints and muscles. I suffer from chronic pain. An extended training season gives my body more time to adapt to long distance runs instead of throwing myself into 50 to 60 miles a week in two months. It allows my body the opportunity to adapt back to training and hopefully stave off injury.

In part 1 of this series, I talked about some of the things I do for mobility but I have actually already adapted that to include even more mobility, stretching and feel good stuff.

Be sure to check out Training For Dopey Challenge 2021 Part 1: Mobility to learn more about my running story.

As I have started to increase mileage I have started to incorporate more speed training and crosstraining with Orange Theory and at-home Crossfit workouts.

Yoga Practices I am Incorporating Into my Training

There are some specific FREE yoga stretching practices that I have incorporated into my training. Depending on how my body is feeling and where I think I need to focus some extra love, I do one of these yoga stretch practices typically four to five days a week.

Yoga For Low Back And Hamstrings

I have an incredibly tight IT band. Your IT band can affect your knees, back, hamstrings, quads and more. This yoga practice for lower back and hamstrings has really helped ease my pain not only in those specific areas but also in other trouble areas for me. All of these things are connected.

I discovered Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube at the beginning of quarantine. When I started looking for some free online yoga, I was experiencing a lot of anxiety and needed to center myself and I thought Yoga would be a great way for me to do so. I have now worked several of her practices into my Dopey Challenge training to help keep me as limber, stretched and mobile as possible.

I have learned over the years that just because something hurts doesn’t mean that is the problem. My knee pain often stems from my tight IT bands and hamstrings or back issues.

This is a low impact yoga stretch practice that takes you through some great stretches and poses to help release tensions in your muscles and reduce pain and stress.

Yoga For Piriformis

If you caught part 1 of our Dopey Challenge series this was the yoga practice that I highlighted. Your piriformis is essentially your side butt. The muscle is located deep in your buttock and helps the hip to rotate. A tight piriformis can be incredibly painful so stretching it often is essential.

Tight piriformis can also can lead to joint pain in the hips and knees which because of my arthritis is something I struggle with. A 20 minute practice like this is perfect at the end of a long run to stretch out that muscle and release it.

The first time I tried this practice, I cried. I was so tight and in pain and I found this on YouTube and did it once and it was a total game changer.

Yoga For Psoas

Three years ago I tore my psoas. I was floor ridden for seven weeks. I wasn’t able to sleep in a bed I had to sleep on the flat, hard floor and was unable to really do much of anything. I couldn’t sit at my desk, I had to either work from home or work from the office but had to lie flat on the floor. It was miserable.

Although my psoas has healed. I still have a lot of residual issues from that time. My back gets sore easily and I am constantly having to stretch it out and keep as limber as possible. This is a great, short practice to help with a tight lower back or psoas.

Yoga For Hips And Lower Back

Tight hips are something most runners deal with. Like most of the other issues that we have discussed in this post can affect many other areas of the body particularly the knees.

During this practice you will be moving through a slow stretch yoga practice. I love this when I just need to relax and open my hips and release my lower back.

I never practice these before my workout, I almost always save them for the end of the night before I go to bed or before I take my shower. These are also, especially this one and the next one that we will talk about, great for immediately following your run or workout. Your muscles and your body are already warm so it’s a great time to get the most out of your stretch.

Yoga is designed to help you communicate and connect with your body and mind. This makes it perfect for running and for stretching because it works not only your muscles and joints and helps to eliminate pain but also helps with the mind. Running is a mind game and incorporating yoga practices like these are a great addition to training your mind. Essential for training your body.

Yoga For Runners

This practice is a bit different. This is the first yoga practice I have utilized from Shona Vertue but this is one that is best immediately following a run or a workout.

In this flow you will walk you through a number of stretches and yoga poses that are perfect post-run or workout. Use this practice to help you stretch and keep your limbs, joints and muscles limber while you are still warm.

This is the longest sequence that I am using right now. Full disclosure, I rarely make it through the whole thing at one time. I don’t have the patience or attention span for yoga. I’m only good for about twenty minutes.

Often, I will break this into two sessions. One immediately following my run and one a few hours later. This is a great full body stretch sequence that incorporates more flow than most of the other videos I have attached. Similar to a typical yoga flow sequence not just a series of stretches.

In Conclusion

These are the stretches that I am incorportating into my training. I am currently running between 25 and 35 miles a week with my long runs at 8 – 10 miles. As things ramp up, I am promising myself that I will remain in tune with my body and keep up with my mobility and these yoga practices as well as banded stretching, rolling out and more.

Staying healthy. Staying mobile. Training smart. Stay tuned for more on my journey to Dopey Challenge 2021. If you aren’t already, be sure to follow us on Instagram at ForLoveOfMouse, on Facebook at For The Love of The Mouse and on YouTube at For Love of The Mouse. 

Thanks for stopping by. We’ll see ya’ real soon.

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