In the previous post on winter training ideas, I forgot to mention something I do that has helped me get through the winter and prepare for a summer event like the Ridge Run; Bikram’s Yoga.
It is like doing Yoga in a Sauna
It is yoga done in a room heated to 105 degrees. The major benefits for me are the chances to stretch out and sweat in a hot environment. It is an easy workout that lasts for about 90 minutes. The heat challenges me the most. Withing minutes, I am totally drenched in sweat.
During the winter, I’ll do a Bikrams yoga session about once a week to once every other week. When spring rolls around, and it is warmer outside, I just can’t bring myself to spend 90 minutes indoors in a heated room.
Benefits are: Heat Conditioning, Fluid Assimilation, Range of Motion
Over the course of the 90 minute session I drink about a quart and a half (48oz) of Gatorade, my favorite (no disrespect to the hammer nutrition heed afcionados). Obviously, Bikrams helps one heat acclimate. There have been some years where the Ridge Run has occurred on a hot day. 2008 comes to mind, where even at the 7:00 AM start of the race, it was hot and muggy. So being able to deal with heat and ingest up to 32oz of sports drink per hour is a skill worth having. Then again, some years the Ridge Run has occurred on a day that was just like a winter. In 2005, the course was snowy, icy and the temperature was below freezing most of the day. You just never know. Either way, it always helps to prepare for the heat.
Stretching is most effective and least damaging when your muscles and connective tissues are warm. So take advantage of the opportunity to stretch out in the heat!
Bikrams is a regimented routine that is always the same no matter what class you go to. For some, that can get tedious. Even the verbal shtick from one instructor to another changes very little. Others may find the consistency comforting and familiar.
Cautions – Know Your Limits
If you have trouble obeying your bodies limits or are easily swayed by an enthusiastic instructor that says “go deeper, go to your edge” and get caught up in performance peer pressure, you can easily overdue it. Some of the postures can strain the knees and back. I know of more than a few people that have had bad experiences with Bikrams Yoga. Their bad experiences resulted from over doing it. Remember, you are there to benefit your fitness. You are not there to please the instructor, no matter how enthusiastic or bullying they come across.