Rule number one during race week is to rest and to NOT CHANGE ANYTHING. Add a few extra carbs to each meal for a few days and before you know it, it’s race day. That being said, I have a confession to make; I just broke rule number one.
My typical race week usually proceeds as follows. Five to six miles at my normal pace on Monday. Four to five slow miles on Tuesday, and Three to Four very slow miles on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday I don’t work out at all and spend time mentally preparing for Saturday’s race.
This week I started with my usual five to six miles at regular pace and felt fantastic. Instead of doing my usual four to five slow miles on Tuesday, I decided I could use some extra stretching and that cross training with a little yoga would be the perfect thing for my body. After seeing the forecast predicting the weather in Ogden to be over 80 degrees on Saturday, I had an idea. Not only would I do yoga instead of my run, I would do bikram yoga to prepare for the potentially hot weather on Saturday. Unfortunately, I followed through with my plan, broke from my usual race week routine, and I went to a 90 minute bikram yoga class.
The stretch I got during the class felt great (at least it felt great during the class). I had done bikram yoga a couple of times before and the heat had not bothered me to much. During this particular class, the heat seemed more intense than it had before. I got light headed multiple times, and, by the end of the class, I was reduced to a lifeless pile of sweat laying on my mat during the last 2-3 poses. In that regard, the class was a success. The heat on Saturday in Ogden will not be even close to what I experienced.
I spoke to the instructor after the class to see how long I should recover and he promptly rebuked me. “You gotta calm down out there bro! (imagine your best surfer accent)” he said. “You were attacking this class like you were running a race! You can’t do that with yoga bro.” I almost laughed out loud and replied “you don’t say. I’m actually a marathon runner.” I continued the conversation by asking him if I could experience any negative problems during my race Saturday to which he replied, “No. No. No. Yoga doesn’t take anything away from your body bro. It only gives.” After that reply, I knew that I was not going to get a useful answer out of him, so I kindly thanked him and walked away.
The class itself was not a bad experience; however, being sore in places I have not been in a LONG time hasn’t been my favorite sensation to endure during the week leading up to a marathon. I said it at the beginning of this post, NEVER change anything during race week!