Happy Baby Pose


Benefits:

  • brings awareness to the hip joints
  • stretches the groin and spine
  • promotes relaxation and happiness

Practicing Happy Baby Pose:

Do not include this pose in your practice if you have a neck or knee injury or if you are pregnant. Warm up for this pose by enjoying child’s pose and hero pose. After relaxing into happy baby pose, follow up with downward dog pose.

  1. Begin by laying on your yoga mat with your back supported by the ground
  2. Exhale your knees to your belly
  3. Inhaling, place your hands on the outsides of your feet and widen your knees before raising them up to your armpits
  4. Place both of your ankles above your knees so that your shins become perpendicular to the ground
  5. Flexing through yours heels, push your feet into your hands while you pull your hands toward the ground
  6. Smile!

This pose is beneficial for runners and non-runners alike.


I haven’t been posting as much recently because I have been focused on spending time with my HAPPY BABY (she is 8 weeks old today)


Thanks for reading & have a great day!

Running with Gratitude

I just finished reading Deena Kastor’s book, Let Your Mind Run (which I highly recommend… it’s a great book). In her book, Deena spoke about how gratitude transformed her mind and running. Inspired by this reading, I wanted to share a simple gratitude practice to help you improve your mental and physical training this week. This is an excellent practice for runners but, more importantly, it is an excellent practice for people. Focusing on gratitude can improve mood, focus, and energy.


This practice is simple which is partly what makes it so beautiful. Using the list below for each day this week, identify five things that you are grateful for each day. You can form this list throughout your day or solely focus on it at the end of your day. Challenge yourself to identify things that are different from what you noted on your gratitude list the day before. Utilize the follow-up questions to record other important observations about yourself and this activity.


Gratitude List

I am grateful for:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Follow-up questions:

  • Was this activity challenging or easy today?
  • What did I notice about my thinking today?
  • Did this activity affect my thinking?
  • Did this activity affect my behaviors/ performance?
  • Are there any other observations that I want to note pertaining to my thinking, behaviors, or this activity today?

March Mental Training

“Running is 80% mental.”  – Joan Benoit


3 Tips to Improve Your Running Today

  • Celebrate your successes. By bringing your attention to your successes, you can improve confidence. Runners who are more confident take greater risks and, as a result, can experience greater accomplishments.
  • Practice mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness can promote greater mental control leading to improved focus during running training and racing. Practicing mindfulness can also help you to identify and change unhelpful thinking that is getting in the way of your running performance.
  • Focus on your goals. Remember what you are working towards. By focusing on the “why” to your training, you can draw upon additional motivation to fuel your workout today.

For running coaching that addresses both mental & physical training, please visit: https://elevaterunning.org

For more information on how you can improve your mental training to enhance your running, check out Run Your Mind Training Workbook below.


Run Your Mind Training Workbook

This workbook is designed to both introduce you to general concepts in sport psychology and to help you to implement psychology techniques to improve your running performance. Throughout this workbook, you will focus on enhancing your goal development, motivation, mental toughness, confidence, concentration, and energy management. This workbook contains some information about caring for the body including yoga practices to supplement your running training. This workbook also contains several sample training plans and a training journal section in which you will be able to integrate the information that you have learned throughout this workbook into your training.

To purchase this book, please visit: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1793032904


Other Resources

Mindfulness Resources

  • Online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: This is a free online training course based on the program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn. https://palousemindfulness.com/index.html
  • Jack Kornfield has excellent resources available on his website. https://jackkornfield.com/ His book Meditation for Beginners is wonderful for meditators of all levels.
  • Shauna Shapiro is an expert on mindfulness. She has done numerous talks and interviews which can be found on youtube. Additional resources can be found on her website. http://www.drshaunashapiro.com/

Serenity Cards

These cards will support your mental training by utilizing a variety of techniques from psychology and yoga to improve mood, boost energy, promote relaxation, increase positive thinking, and enhance focus. To view and purchase these cards, visit: https://www.printerstudio.com/sell/designs/serenity-cards.html


Mindset for Greatness Cards

A collection of inspiring quotes designed for runners to promote a mindset for greatness. To view and purchase these cards, visit: https://www.printerstudio.com/sell/designs/mindset-for-greatness.html


Developing a Running Habit


It seems like the hardest part of starting or restarting running is developing consistency. Once we have, the runs flow much easier but the initial steps of forming the habit can be so tough! Here are some tips to help you successfully develop running consistency.


  • Choose your when. Commit to a time to run each day. Most people choose to run first thing in the morning or in the evening after work.
  • Don’t let tiredness be an excuse. Choose to face your run even when you feel tired. Running when you are tired can have both physical and mental training benefits.
  • Write down your completed runs. Take the time to log your miles. Reflecting on the work you put in and the progress you have made can help you get back out there tomorrow.
  • Focus on your effort rather than your results. Rather than focusing on your speed and comparing your times to others or to your previous bests, focus on the effort you put into each run.
  • Reward yourself. Take time to reward yourself for your hard work.
  • Share your goals and successes. Boost accountability by sharing your goals and successes with others.
  • Push yourself appropriately. It can be easy to push too hard too fast which can lead to injury or burnout. Examine where you are starting from and understand how much is enough. Don’t be afraid to walk. Taking it slow has great training benefits for runners of all levels.

For running coaching that addresses both mental & physical training, please visit: https://elevaterunning.org

Legs Up the Wall Pose

This pose provides both mental and physical benefits and can be a great resource for runners.


Contraindications

This pose should be avoided during menstruation or if you have serious neck issues, back issues, or eye issues such as glaucoma.

Benefits

As both an inversion and a restorative pose, Legs Up the Wall Pose offers many benefits including alleviating challenges with:

  • Arthritis
  • Blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Varicose veins
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Migraines
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Digestive problems
  • Mild depression
  • Urinary disorders
  • Menopause
  • Tight hamstrings

Props

Restorative poses are supported and, as shown in the image above, support in this pose can include blankets, a strap, an eye pillow, and a sandbag.

Sequencing for this pose

This pose is typically sequenced near the end of a yoga practice, often just before pranayama or corpse pose. Preparation poses include hero pose, standing forward bend pose, reclining bound angle pose, and bridge pose.

Getting into this pose

  • The first step to getting into this pose is setting up your support. Lay your yoga mat on the floor with the short end next to the wall. Next, place up to 3 folded blankets along the short edge of your mat along the wall as shown in the image above. Optional: place a strap, eye pillow, and sandbag alongside your mat.
  • If you tend to have tighter hamstrings, consider placing your blanket farther from the wall and using lower support (i.e., <2 blankets). If your hamstrings are more flexible, set yourself up closer to the wall and consider utilizing higher support (i.e., 2-3 blankets).
  • Your height will also play a role in how far away from the wall you set yourself up. Those who are shorter tend to need to be closer to the wall than those who are taller. Experimenting with how close you are to the wall may take some time and I recommend beginning with your support about 5-6 inches away from the wall.
  • Move into this pose by starting in a seated position on the right side of your mat with the right side of your body located next to the wall. On your exhale, swing both of your legs from the floor up onto the wall. At the same time move your head and shoulders onto your mat. If you are using blankets in this pose, check that your sitting bones are resting between your blankets and the wall. Notice an arch in your torso. If your torso is flat or your back is rounded, adjust your support by bending your knees and pushing into the wall to lift your pelvis off your support. While your pelvis is lifted, adjust your support so that it is higher and then slowly lower your pelvis back onto your support.
  • Using your hands, lift the base of your skull away from your neck. Feel your shoulder blades extending away from the spine, soften your throat, and allow your arms to reach out to your sides with palms up.
  • While engaging your leg muscles, feel them relaxing into the support of the wall. You may place a strap around your thighs to provide additional support and relaxation to the legs. You may also add to your support in this pose by placing a sandbag on your feet. To do this, bend your knees as if you were going to do bound angle pose and place the sandbag on top of your heels before carefully extending your feet back up the wall. This step should be done before placing the strap. Finally, close your eyes and feel free to utilize an eye pillow.
  • Feel free to remain in this pose for 5-15 minutes. When coming out of this pose, bend your knees and push your feet against the wall in order to lift your pelvis and remove the support from under you. After you lower your pelvis back onto the floor, you may bend your knees and roll to the side before using your arms to push yourself up into a seated position.

Run Your Mind Training Workbook by Julia Raffaini

New Release! Written by Elevate Running Founder, Julia Raffaini, this book was published yesterday.

Description

My intention for this workbook is to help runners become more successful by improving their mental training. This workbook is designed to both introduce you to general concepts in sport psychology and to help you to implement psychology techniques to improve your running performance. Throughout this workbook, you will focus on enhancing your goal development, motivation, mental toughness, confidence, concentration, and energy management. This workbook contains some information about caring for the body including yoga practices to supplement your running training. This workbook also contains several sample training plans and a training journal section in which you will be able to integrate the information that you have learned throughout this workbook into your training.

To purchase the workbook now, visit:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1793032904

February Yoga Practice


This yoga practice is excellent for runners and is designed to increase hip flexibility. Allow your breath to guide you as you move through the poses listed below. Please visit the link associated with each pose for an image of the pose and additional information including pose alignment and benefits.


Opening Cycle:

  • Begin this practice seated on your mat in Easy Pose: https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/easy-pose
  • While in this pose, notice your breath. Check in with your intention for this practice: What brought you to this practice today? What do you hope to gain physically? What do you want to gain mentally?
  • Warm up the spine in Cat/ Cow Pose: https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/cat-pose
  • Follow your breathing: allow your inhale to lead you into cow pose and your exhale to guide you into cat pose.

Sun Salute Sequence

Standing Sequence: remain in each pose for 3+ breaths and allow your breath to support you in moving from one pose to another.

Deepening Cycle:

Inverting & Quieting Cycles:

Pros and Cons of Running Training Services

Deciding to hire a running trainer/ coach is a big decision. It is a financial commitment, and you want to know that the training you’re paying for is a worthwhile investment. In this post, I go over some of the pros and cons of running training services. This post will also help you determine what to look for when selecting quality training services.


Pros

  • Following a customized training plan with effective training techniques designed to propel you towards your specific goals.
  • Increasing mileage and incorporating speed training in a safe manner.
  • Having someone that you check in with about your training to help you stay accountable.
  • Receiving mental training support can have a huge impact on your performance.
  • Being able to ask questions and problem solve with an experienced runner.
  • Building a running community.
  • Being able to access other running resources including strength training, nutritional guidance, and yoga routines to compliment your training.

Cons

  • Cost. Your time and money are valuable. The cost of training services can vary greatly depending on what you’re seeking. Some running training services provide standard training plans while others include customized training plans, weekly guidance from a trainer/ coach, and race strategy. Determining precisely what it is that you would benefit from and that you can afford is vital in selecting a service that you’re going to feel is a good investment for your time and money.
  • Training that damages your running performance. When selecting running training services, make sure that it is being provided by a certified running professional to ensure that your trainer/ coach has received appropriate running training.
  • Training that holds you back. While you don’t want to increase mileage and speed too quickly due to the risk of injury and burnout, you also don’t want to feel that your training is holding you back from your potential. It can be challenging finding a trainer/ coach that will safely push you, and that will monitor how you are doing throughout your training. Reflect on your goals and seek a trainer/ coach who will be able to help you to continue to grow in the long run (pun intended). All trainers/ coaches bring something a little different to offer and understanding their strengths and weaknesses will help you select the best services for you. Explore their website to understand their services and qualifications but also reach out to them with questions and check out their social media.

What do you look for in a running trainer/ coach? What kinds of services do you find most valuable?

Running During Pregnancy


When sitting down to write my first running blog post, there are so many topics that I am excited to write about. Since I am 36 weeks pregnant, pregnancy running seemed like a natural place to begin.


Disclaimer: Every body is different and its always important to consult your doctor before running during pregnancy. There are some conditions that could make running contraindicated and its really important that your doctor evaluate what is safe for your body. 


  • It is absolutely ok to continue to run during pregnancy as long as you already had a consistent running practice before becoming pregnant. In fact, physical exercise is important during pregnancy so if you decide not to run, choose another form of exercise to engage in throughout your pregnancy. Low impact activities such as yoga, cycling on a stationary bike, and swimming are highly recommended.
  • Pregnancy running is not a time to work towards PRs. Training should not include a significant increase in mileage or speed. It is important to keep an easy pace during your runs and to listen to your body.
  • I’ll say this again because it is so important: Listen to your body! As runners, sometimes we are more comfortable pushing our bodies without realizing that we are pushing our bodies. It is really important to continue to monitor how your body is feeling running throughout your pregnancy.
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature. Slow down or stop if you find yourself getting too hot.
  • Stay hydrated. It is easy to fall behind when it comes to hydration. Drink lots of fluids throughout the day and carry a water bottle with you on your runs. Early on in my pregnancy, I had a really hard time staying hydrated due to nausea. If this is the case for you, try to take small sips throughout the day, include an electrolyte drink, and/or make juice popsicles to enjoy when you just can’t stomach drinking your fluids. Also, sometimes herbal tea or juice was easier for me to get down and I encourage you to experiment to see what drinks work best for you.
  • Be aware of the warning signs: breathlessness, vaginal bleeding, cramping, muscle weakness, pain, chronic fatigue, and decreased fetal movement. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop exercise and contact your doctor immediately.
  • Balance shifts during pregnancy. Be sure to run routes that are flat and do not have obstacles that could increase fall risk. If you feel dizzy, stop. I felt most comfortable running on the treadmill farther into my pregnancy because I knew the route would be free from obstacles and I could stop the run at anytime if I started to feel fatigued.