Athlete for Yoga: Sarah Mac
Sarah Robinson aka Mac has been an Athlete for Yoga since 2012 when the Jasyoga mobile studio first rolled up to Oiselle HQ. Read on to learn how she uses Jasyoga in her training and life.
I’m all in on a half marathon — training exclusively for a 13.1 mile race for the first time since 2014. After a few disappointing races, I knew my goals and game plan needed to be clear for this half. My overall goal is to run a PR in the half marathon distance. My game plan and secondary goals included:
- Prioritize recovery
- Work on mental game
- Address imbalance physical + mental
- Continue to explore my relationship with the sport
- Enjoy the training block, use the weeks to learn + grow...
- What does 'trust the process' really mean?
- What does running mean to me right now?
- How does this practice affect the other parts of my life?
Running is not my profession and even if it were I believe training and competing must be part of a whole. We are whole people, boundaries crossing over each other, not walled off segments. When I take a holistic approach to training I am most successful. And my perspective is healthier and gentler. Sport should build us up, not tear us down. The balance I've found through Jasyoga helps me make that a reality.
I've accomplished the above goals with the help of Jasyoga (details on how below). And the PR? Well that will be seen on June 18. But I feel confident that I am in a strong position to achieve it after this steady build up and the journey was rich regardless of the outcome.
The tips below are how I use Jasyoga in my training at its best, and certainly how I used it in this block and my strongest marathon to date, CIM 2015 where I qualified for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.
Prioritizing recovery for me means really believing Erin when she says it's just as important and equally productive as everything else I do. Really, anyone can train hard, but when you give yourself time and space to absorb the work it makes a huge impact. I kept an eye out for short time windows to Hit Reset. And always Hit Reset after the run, even if it was just five minutes. I also used yoga to get better sleep.
Pause, Reset After Every Run
Whether it's five minutes or 15, I do a body scan and choose a video to address where I feel stiff or imbalanced. My top hits are:
Commit to Daily Reset
After my toddler PJ goes down I made a point to do at least five minutes of yoga. Again, a body scan and then addressing imbalances with as much time as I have.
TIP: open a few videos in new tabs, and use it as a ‘playlist’ of Resets. That way you search for them all at once and hit one after the other. It's a great way to customise your Reset.
Sleep is so important and I’ve been dealing with consistent insomnia this winter. I started taking a melatonin, rubbing lavender oil on my temples, playing ocean waves on my white noise app, and doing How to Improve Sleep Meditation before bed. Huge help.
ADDRESS IMBALANCE: PHYSICAL
Strength and flexibility are both vital. I always think, "Get long, get strong." Also a big part of staying in balance is being intentional with my warm up. It gives me a place to check back to on the run to find optimial posture and calm again.
I need to warm up to avoid imbalance and injury. Whether I have five minutes or 30, I need to activate my core including (and especially) my glutes. And since my hamstring strain and because I sit most of the day, I need to add fluidity to my hammies before I run out the door. My go to's:
Find Balance #yogaforreal
In toddler life, I don’t fire up videos as often as I just hit my favorite routines. Like I have Flexible Running Hamstrings and 5-Minute Hip Reset completely memorized and go through them a couple times a day at the park or next to PJ’s crib at night.
Favorite poses to hit anytime, anywhere:
ADDRESS IMBALANCE: MENTAL
Mental game is a huge part of the sport. And I try to spend time training my mind, talking through scenarios, and practicing mental techniques on every run to push through discomfort. It's good to remember just like getting faster or stronger it's a work in progress. One workout where you battle a lot of negative self talk doesn't mean you can't move away from that the next workout. Keep practicing.
Lose All or Nothing Attitude
All or nothing is an attitude I’ve been working on removing for years. I would let my confidence be shaky if I didn’t “do enough.” And if I didn’t do enough, I would just do nothing. So either I needed to do yoga for 45 minutes or not at all. Lift three times a week or do nothing. But during my CIM build up and this build up I was firmly reminded that doing a little work every day is extremely effective. And I’m talking sometimes I would hit Figure 4 on my daughter’s floor when she couldn’t sleep and that was it. It is enough. Let it go.
I focused on growing my confidence and resilience through meditation. I’m still working on letting go of past performances. But that was important work to do. We aren’t our past selves. We are here. Now. Meditating on “I am. Here now.” whenever possible is helping rebuild my confidence. Using it to show up for workouts I was afraid of was helpful practice as well. I only have what I have on the day, I know I will do my best, taking each step as it comes, the rest isn’t in my control.
I practiced my mental strategies during tough runs and workouts, making adjustments as needed.
When I feel myself falling off the back of a workout or race, I can start to panic. I used this panic in workouts as a time to practice my tools to calm down. One that works well for me is a body scan to find ways I can invite ease. Everything from grimacing to shrugging your shoulders up is wasted energy. I start at the top of my head and quickly take inventory of wasted energy, then I release it. I use “invite ease” or “make it easier” mantras to quickly trigger this tool.
Mantras I use are:
- Run calm, run strong | Calm, strong
- Invite ease
- Make it easier
- I am, here now
When all else feels too hard, I remind myself that my breath is my most powerful tool. I remind my body to optimize my breath. For a couple strides I will actually open my palms up skyward to physically remind my body to open not collapse. I invite the positive energy to come through my hands, this sounds weird but it works for me.
We'll be fangirling Mac hard this weekend as she runs down her 13.1 PR! Keep up with Mac on Twitter and Instagram @thatsarahmac.
And keep sharing your own journey with #athletesforyoga!