BYPS instructor Frank King shares how Bikram Yoga supports and enhances his training for this year’s New York Marathon.
BYPS: How many marathons have your run?
FK: I have run two marathons to date: Philadelphia 2011 and Harrisburg PA 2012. I am currently training for NYC 2014.
BYPS: How have you integrated your yoga practice in the past with your cross training and how is that different today?
FK: In the past I dialed back my practice to only a few times a week. Working a full time job and managing a training schedule that included running five days a week made it tough to balance a yoga practice, as well. Now as a teacher I am able to create a better balance between practicing and running, which has made the training so much less grueling. I now have an easier time with the endurance of the long runs, and the stretching postures in our 90 minute practice decreases the amount of time I need for recovery between runs. In general, the thermal therapy and the deep stretching of Bikram Yoga alleviates a lot of the aches and pains from marathon training, making the process more manageable and less damaging.
BYPS: What are some of the greatest challenges in your Bikram Yoga practice as you train for the marathon?
FK: The other day I took a class and my flexibility had taken a step backwards. This continues to be my greatest challenge in class, although I feel the benefits of the practice and feel significantly better after the class. Like we say in Bikram, the more you need it, the more benefits you receive from the practice.
BYPS: What is the greatest challenge in your marathon training that Bikram Yoga supports?
FK: The greatest challenge that Bikram Yoga supports—aside from learning how to breathe more efficiently while running and the decompression I get on my ankles, knees, and spine from yoga—is the head noise or negative thinking that can make or break a run. Bikram Yoga teaches me how to quiet that noise and helps me to recognize my strength and ability to run long distances.
Before I started practicing Bikram I had not run more than 2 miles straight. After a while of practicing consistently and running a few 5k and 10k races, I thought if I do this yoga for 90 minutes in this heat, surely I can run for several hours. That was the turning point and the beginning of my growth with running.
BYPS: How do you want to grow in your training and can you recommend Bikram Yoga to other athletes?
FK: I have trained for two sprint triathlons. Next year I hope to extend the distances to Olympic, and half iron man lengths. I know that Bikram Yoga with be vital to the training process.
I can recommend Bikram Yoga as a cross training method for other runners and endurance athletes at any level because it
- relieves joint pain pressure that training puts on the body
- teaches you to breathe more efficiently
- helps improve dexterity in movement
- builds the mental fortitude to endure when your body is pushed for hours at a time
Frank teaches at all three Bikram Yoga Park Slope studios. Join one of his classes and be sure to ask him about his training (and perhaps his favorite ice cream) as we get closer to November’s marathon.