Featured Athlete — Robyn Hefner, Marathoner
Marathoner Robyn Hefner was born to run — literally. Growing up with two athletic brothers (she is the only girl in a set of triplets) and a marathon runner father, Robyn has been running since she started walking. Though she dabbled in different events, sprinting in high school and running the 800m at the legendary track school, University of Oregon, Robyn eventually found her niche at age 30 when she ran her first marathon, thanks to the encouragement of one of her former teammates. She hasn’t looked back since. The student athlete development coordinator for the University of Washington Athletic Department now runs about two marathons a year, cross-training with yoga to keep her loose and limber on the road.
Jasyoga chatted with Robyn about flexibility, LUNA bars, and how yoga has helped her avoid the dreaded “marathon shuffle.”
When did you first start doing yoga?
I actually started yoga when I started training for my first marathon — I was totally freaked out about how I was going to run such a long distance given how inherently inflexible I was. I know how important flexibility is to maintaining a good long stride for that long, so I started doing yoga twice a week while training. I’m convinced it helped me avoid the “marathon shuffle,” which comes when runners have tense muscles, which leads to weak strides, making them look like they are shuffling along rather than running.
What other benefits have you noticed?
The benefits are countless. When I am consistent with my yoga practice, I feel the difference in my hips and hamstrings and my stride is more open. I also feel like the flow-like nature of it is really cleansing and calming and really helps me keep my focus when I’m racing.
What makes Jasyoga different from other yoga classes you’ve tried?
Taking Jasyoga classes is one of the perks of working in the UW Athletic Department and it is really one of a kind. Other yoga classes are all about the poses but Jasyoga is very centered around stretching and moving through the poses in a way that really steps up the benefits. I also like the emphasis on breathing. Breath is so important to running — the more you can control it and slow it down, the more efficient runner you can become. As a whole, I feel like Jasyoga has helped me find that internal rhythm and flow that runners seek out, where it feels like you’re in your own world where nothing can touch you.
What’s your favorite pose?
I don’t know if I have a favorite pose but I do love the regular sun salutation because it wakes me up and stretches out the whole back of my body and my hips.
Other than yoga, how to you relax and unwind?
I feel I’m always so consumed with working and working out that when I get a moment to myself, I try to spend time with either my family or alone with my thoughts through writing my blog www.RunPrettyRunFast.com, where I chronicle my adventures in life and running.
Favorite post-workout snack?
Luna bars! They are great when I want to get a little protein in my system after a run. The chocolate peppermint ones are my favorites.
When I run, I feel...
Follow Robyn's speedy adventures on her blog, www.RunPrettyFast.com!