Friday, January 24, 2020

Bikram yoga and the countdown to the Wokingham half marathon

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I’ve tentatively played with yoga and Pilates before. As a triathlete, I buy into the theory that these disciplines can help both with core strength and also stretch out muscles that are severely tightened by weeks on end of running, cycling and swimming.

And so when I was offered the opportunity to try Bikram Yoga this week, I thought “why not?!”.  I was already aware that the main ‘feature’ of this type of yoga is that it takes place in a hot room, promoting both a lot of sweating, but also greater joint flexibility and suppleness.   I was told to bring shorts and two towels, oh and a big drink!

Getting into the studio in central Bristol, I was surprised how many other people were packed into the room, probably close to 40 in a pretty small space.  I also remember thinking “I thought it was supposed to be hot?!”.

We started with the usual breathing exercises before moving on to some initial poses.  Very quickly I was reminded how much I tend to neglect my stretching! My core strength is reasonably good but my back, shoulders and hamstrings were all telling me in no uncertain terms that they were not amused by the different poses I was trying to cajole them into.  And then came the sweat.  The room after 10-15 minutes was indeed almost like a sauna and the sweat was dripping off me.  By the end of the 90-minute session, my shorts looked like I’d been swimming in them. Nice.

Overall, the Bikram Yoga was a pretty interesting and I’ll happily have another go in the future.  But my back has been feeling pretty stiff since the session, so a note of caution to take things easy the first few times!

Running the next day, I did feel really, really heavy. But thankfully this only lasted around 24 hours. And it doesn’t seem to have had any lasting ill-effects, which is just as well as I’m now into my final week before the Wokingham Half Marathon on 19th February.   Fingers crossed everything is looking good.  I had a nice long tough run yesterday (90 minutes with 8x 1km intervals at faster-than-race pace) and felt good.  My new replacement Adidas Adizero Boston 3s are comfortable and their neutral stance suits my race pace (although it seems I am a mild pronator, so the Adizero Tempo seem to be a better choice for my steady runs).   Unlike last year, I’ve also tried to practice my race nutrition beforehand, so hopefully there won’t be any nasty surprises on race day.

And then, after Sunday, I need to remind myself I’m a triathlete! That means focusing my run on 10km off-the-bike and getting back into some serious bike and swim training (not that I’ve been neglecting them completely, but it’s fair to say that running has been the priority in the last month or so).  After Wokingham, it will be back to the Chilly Duathlon at Castle Combe on 26th February.  So far, I’ve managed to PB each of the five times I’ve raced there.  No pressure then!


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Matt Fisher runs - so it's all his fault! He pretends to be a triathlete, but really he is a husband, father and company VP. But he has raced for the GB Age Group squad a few times and is a two-times qualifier for the IM70.3 world champs