Monday, March 30, 2009

Keep Running and Triathlon Healthy: How Yoga Practice can Prevent Injury

Sunday night I attended a little mini discussion and workshop on how great yoga is for keeping triathletes and runners healthy and injury free. The talk (and following Power Vinyassa practice) was held at NYC's Upper East Side Lululemon store. Dr. Jordan Metzl, from the Hospital for Special Surgery and Erica Goss from Pure Yoga came and talked to a packed room of triathletes, yogis and novices alike. 

Dr. Metzl, who has completed 25 Marathons and 4 Iron Mans (what?!) spoke about common sports injuries, symptoms, prevention, and treatments. He made the distinction between acute injuries (like a freak accident: think Lance Armstrong's bike crash last week that resulted in a broken collar bone) and overuse injuries, which are much more common. 

He helped us better understand common injuries like runner's knee, shin splints, hamstring pulls, and Achilles tendinitis and what these injuries may really reveal. (He writes a regular column in Triathlete called "Doctor's Orders" which you may want to check out for way more detail). Both runner's knee and shin splints, for example, can manifest in two different ways and each means something different. Shin splints can be in the muscle or the bone, the bone being more serious because it can indicate a possible stress fracture.

He also mentioned two common mistakes he sees again and again. The first is people going too fast too soon with training. The normal athletic process is something like "athletic darwinism," where you start off running a mile, do a 5k, then a 10k or half marathon, and then one day train for a marathon. Today, he says, many people want to jump right into the marathon! Without the evolution! Next he says people commonly ignore injuries until they are at their worst and can't do their sport anymore. Early detection of symptoms can help prevent more complicated problems form forming.

Then Erica Goss led a fantastic Power Vinyassa series and we talked about the obvious ways yoga can build flexibility for triathletes and how it can also be an excellent part of strength training. Strength training, both Goss and Dr. Metzl stressed, is essential for triathletes and especially runners. Without it, the bones and muscles may not be able to support intense training necessary for competition. 

The discussion was very interesting and informative, and both Goss and Dr. Metzl were excellent! Thanks Lululemon, for hosting such great community events like this!

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1 comment:

Ulyana said...

I love yoga! And I sound like a broken record when it comes to yoga and running. It really helped me heal all my injuries, and I wouldn't be where I am now if I didn't practice yoga.