As I have written on many occasions, I am constantly plagued by injuries. My most bothersome one is plantar fasciitis, although ever since I ran the Silver Strand Half Marathon in November I am bothered by intermittent glute pain (I'm still not sure WHAT it is, whether it's muscle or nerve). Regardless, my plantar fasciitis is much better, although I still have it somewhat. I have tried everything I could think of to ease the pain, from rolling my feet on frozen water bottles, golf balls, specially-nubbed balls, acupuncture, wearing the Strassburg socks to bed, and, most recently, several sessions of ART (active release technique).
While the ART was somewhat helpful (if not the most painful thing I have ever experienced; I cried during most sessions) I did get one piece of valuable insight: that my tight muscles are affecting my feet! I have very tight muscles, from my quads and hamstrings to my calfs and hips, and apparently they are all working together to cause pain in my feet. I've always been inflexible--I've never been able to touch the floor when I bend over, I can only touch the tops of my feet--but I never thought much of it. I guess it's a big problem! They advised stretching the muscles, with the theory that looser, more flexible leg muscles will make for happier, pain-free feet.
With that advice, I decided to try yoga. I have never done yoga before (well, I tried it once, about 15 years ago, and hated it) but know that yoga promotes flexibility, as well as strength and posture. So, three weeks ago, I bit the bullet, bought a yoga mat (I didn't want to use a gross, sweaty one that they provide at the gym) and went to my first class at my gym, a Vinyasa class.
Oh. My. Goodness! I knew that yoga would be hard, but the classes are kicking my behind! Many poses I am able to do fairly easily, but others are too hard for me, as I am too inflexible. Luckily the teacher preaches moderation, to do what I can, and I do my best. I am loving the stretches; they feel sooooo good! And I can see how this will help my strength training. Even though I have strong arms and shoulders--as a triathlete, I swim and lift weights and am pretty toned in that area- holding myself up in Downward Dog gets hard after a while! It's challenging my muscles in new ways.
Today was my third class, and I'm hooked. I truly look forward to going each week, and am trying to figure out my schedule so that I can go more than once a week. I hope that by continuing to do so, my muscles will stretch a bit more and I can run injury-free!