why runners fall over

3 Reasons Runners Fall Over – and how Yoga can help

Some of us seem to fall over more often than other runners – years ago, I used to have the occasional tumble, maybe you do too?!

Now, obviously there are rogue factors that we can’t do anything about: someone else falling/ crashing into us, a huge root/ rock that came out of nowhere (more on that below) – but here are the 3 most likely reasons that a runner will fall over, that with the help of yoga, we can over-come.

      1. Lack of core strength. There it is again, the ‘core’ cropping up in my posts but it really is the key to great running, including staying on your feet! Firstly, a strong torso means we can run with correct alignment and proper technique, making the second point below easy. Secondly, if we do trip on something, having great core strength often means we can recover from the fall before we hit the ground. What to do? All my classes, other that recovery/ Yin, involve core strengthening. But here’s a recent, core targeting video: 

      2. Not picking up the feet. We need to be actively lifting our feet up and back (heels towards butt), as soon as they touch the ground. This ensures that feet are landing in the right place for proper alignment and technique, keeps our cadence around 180 and means we are never ‘shuffling’ and risking tripping over that rogue rock/ branch. We are purposefully lifting our feet and not shuffling or striding forwards, this will prevent the majority of falls from occurring. What to do? Get your technique checked out (perhaps on one of our courses/ retreats), work on core strength and overall posture with yoga and start thinking about lifting the heel behind, not lifting the knees or feet forward.
      3. Not concentrating on what you’re doing! I love that running can be social – however, you cannot deny that chatting away means a lack of awareness on the task at hand: running efficiently, so that we can run for longer, faster, injury-free!! For the runner with the perfect technique that comes naturally with ease, this is less of an issue but for so many runners, running with proper technique requires focus. Even when correct technique becomes natural, staying mindfully aware of our body and surroundings is going to greatly reduce falls and other injuries. What to do? The gaze should be forward, so that we can see any obstacles ahead, occasionally dropping the gaze down but generally keeping the head upright. The right combination of yoga will help with strength and posture, but also with the ability to become really aware of our own body and surroundings, and to actually help us enjoy the process of the running itself, not just the social aspect 😉

Let us know your experiences in the comments just below!

If you’re interested in ‘running better with yoga’, take a look at our One Day Course, and the Weekend Retreat here.

Vegan – no – pasta – Lasagna!

This year, over half a million people are expected to pledge to be vegan for January, in Veganuary 2019. With increasing reports that only by drastically cutting animal farming, will we have any chance of saving the planet, in addition to the greater awareness of benefits to our wellbeing, is making veganism the choice for many – including top athletes. Great news in my opinion!

I personally choose a vegan, plant-based diet, free from gluten and refined sugar, as much as possible. Because this is what gives me the most energy. And feeling the best that I can each day is my top priority, so that I can create and teach optimally to serve others. Green plants, in particular, contain an abundance of energy that I believe cannot be found in meat. Plus, consuming low Glycemic Index foods provides constant, sustained energy without the peaks and troughs of high carb and sugar foods, as they slowly enter the bloodstream and provide more sustained energy. This makes low GI foods ideal before endurance exercise, such as running 😉 

At home, we have great fun creating new and modifying old recipes to fit our diet of choice!  This lasagna recipe is very loosely based on one I found in the Bosh cook book but it ended up being so different, and so delicious, that I thought I would share my recipe with you! It’s perfect if you’re vegan, or looking to cut down meat, whilst being gluten-free and low in carbs.

Makes enough for 6 (or 2 people over 3 days!)

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • Some sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 6-8 chestnut mushrooms
  • 2 sticks celery
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • chilli powder optional

The sauce:

  • 200g cashews (soak 3 hours)
  • 400 ml plant based milk (I used almond)
  • glug olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50g gram flour/ other flour
  • tbsp nutritional yeast
  • squeeze lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 100 ml water
  1. Cut the squash in half length ways and roast in the oven, drizzled with olive oil, at 180 for 25 minutes.
  2. Pan fry the red onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped mushrooms and diced courgette. Add optional chilli flakes or powder.
  3. When the squash is mostly cooked, cut into small cubes and spoon out of it’s skin. Add to pan.
  4. Add chopped celery, tins of tomatoes, seasoning and a few springs of rosemary.
  5. Let it simmer whilst you make the sauce.
  6. In a Vitamix or other good blender, blend the drained cashews, gram flour, oil, garlic, almond milk, water, salt, pepper, lemon juice and nutritional yeast until smooth, fairly thick sauce that can be poured.
  7. Thinly slice your aubergine.
  8. In a baking dish, spoon enough of the veg mix to cover the base. Place the aubergine slices over and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Repeat until you run out. Finally cover the last layer of aubergine with the white sauce. (You could even put layers of this throughout)
  9. Cover with tin foil and bake for about 35 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle nutritional yeast over and put back in for another 10-15 minutes.

 

Ta da!

Note: whilst I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible with my quantities and timings, I always make adjustments as I go, and suggest you may need to do the same!

 

Yoga and Running Retreat Chamonix, September 2019

21 – 28th September 2019

From £1450

I am so excited to have been invited to teach and lead this retreat, so I’d love you to join me there!

This retreat will help you to move forward with your running and yoga practice, whether you are an experienced athlete or just starting out. There will be a Yoga Flow Running workshop with tips and techniques from myself, trail running with experienced guides, daily yoga classes designed especially for runners, healthy nutrition based meals and ultimate relaxation in a luxury Alpine chalet with spa and on-site massages included.

This retreat includes:

  • A full body welcome massage
  • 7 nights accommodation in a beautiful chalet
  • Healthy and delicious meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (apart from one free evening to enjoy a meal at one of the fabulous local restaurants)
  • A Yoga Flow Running workshop
  • Guided running on Chamonix’s stunning trails
  • A full week of excellent yoga classes
  • A whole day at a fantastic spa just over the border in Italy
  • Transfers to and from Geneva airport

How amazing does all that sound?!

Find out all the details and BOOK HERE, via Blue Rise Retreats.

Use the code : HELENYOGARUNNING2019, to save 10%!

 

yoga and running retreat

yoga and running retreat

yoga for feet and legs

Yoga for Runners: feet, ankles, Achilles, calves, shins

Healthy feet and lower legs, that are strong and flexible, are absolutely vital for finding your optimal running technique and staying injury free in this area. Don’t let this area be overlooked! 

This is a flowing Vinyasa yoga based class that covers all areas, including hamstrings, hips and core, but our main focus is taken to the feet and lower legs. We explore some creative ways to help maintain the stability that the foot should provide, how to maintain a strong, yet flexible Achilles tendon and calves, and stretching the elusive top of the feet and shins 😉 

Ideally do this 28 minute class on a non-running day, as much of it is standing sequences but we wind down with some floor based poses and a little myofascial release. Have a tennis ball to hand if possible.

Check out these previous blogposts, if you haven’t already! Yoga for Feet and Yoga for Achilles

Enjoy!

Yoga for hip flexors

Healthy Hip Flexors – tips and tricks

So, whilst reading this week, I was surprised to read that tight hip flexors are the most frequently seen problem in runners! Yet, considering the fact that many runners are over-striding, it’s obvious.

The job of the hip flexors is clear: to flex the hip, ie. to lift it. But if actively doing this when running by lifting the knee, placing the foot too far ahead occurs, causing a multitude of problems! What we want is to lift the heel and extend the hip back – meaning we need flexible hip flexors for great running technique.

To test hip extension:

take a low lunge position, on one foot and one knee. Find a square in the shape of the legs, with knee over ankle and hip over knee. Posteriorly tip the pelvis (tip it back), lengthening the tail bone. This will isolate a stretch in the iliopsoas, the primary hip flexor. Other than the most flexible of people, I think pretty much everyone will have at least some stretch here but if it feels really intense and difficult, you know you need to work on lengthening the hip flexors!

Lack of flexibility here means you’ll end up placing the foot too far in front of the body when running, losing efficiency, as this adds force and impact, increasing the risk of injury but also really losing the stability of the core, which is vital for great natural running.

As we move forward with our energy, we need to send the hip and heels back behind to drive us forward and for optimal alignment.

What to do? Great for any runner – remember, don’t wait until you have a complaint to take action! All of these steps are more thoroughly explained in the most recent video in the Run Better with Yoga Facebook community.

Morning or pre-run:

  • Daily morning Sun Salutes Watch on YouTube, or buy my Yoga for Runners Collection
  • Pre-run drill: Lift heels behind you on the spot, gradually getting faster. Take this into your running! Lift the heels up, not the knees!

As part of a longer session, possibly on a non-run day:

Anytime:

  • Use MFR ball on Rectus Femorus, TFL and Vastus Lateralis
  • Lie over a block under the sacrum, draw one knee toward chest

What’s your experience? If you suffer with tight hip flexors let me know in the comments below what you’ve tried and how you get on with these tips.

Learn how to run better with yoga on a Yoga Flow Running course next year: 1 Day courses are 26th January and 6th April; a 6 night retreat in Portugal 21-27 April and the full weekend is 7-10 June.