Sweat Studios’ has long encouraged runners to take up yoga to help them achieve their greatest potential and smash personal bests. One runner who recognises the performance-enhancing qualities of regularly practicing yoga, is Katie Tucker – aka – ‘Clean Coach Katie’- a local running superstar here in Milton Keynes!
We had the pleasure of catching up with Clean Coach Katie to talk about how yoga has helped her reach her inspiring running achievements.
How long have you been doing yoga?
I’ve been practicing yoga for around 3 years but found the wonderful Sweat Studios last January. My Mum was keen to get into some form of fitness and saw the newbie offer and asked me to join with her. I’d started training for my second London Marathon so was keen to make yoga a part of my weekly routine. We tried a variety of classes and I really enjoyed the Sweat Hot Classic and Sweat Hot Mix sessions. Mum preferred the slower flow classes, so we quickly found the ones we liked.
I did attend another hot yoga studio previously, but since being at Sweat Studios I haven’t returned as I love the friendly welcoming nature of Sweat, the clean and fresh facilities and the amazing staff that make the classes what they are.
How often do you do yoga?
When I am training for an event i.e. a half or full marathon, I try to make sure I get to one class a week. I love the 10am class on a Monday. It’s a perfect recovery for me after completing a long run on a Sunday and I feel it’s a really good way to start the week.
I also love the fact that you can completely disconnect with the world for an hour. Running my own business means I am constantly thinking or working. I am very bad at relaxing and taking time out, so to me, yoga is a really important part of my work. I have no access to my phone or any reason to talk to anyone. It’s just me and my body for one hour.
If I could get to two sessions a week I would, but I run 5–6 times a week and strength train 1-2 times a week too. Trying to fit it all in can be difficult, but I understand how important it is for recovery and injury prevention so I make it as important as one of my long runs.
How does yoga help you with running?
I have experienced so many benefits from yoga. The main one being injury prevention. I must admit I can neglect additional stretching at home, so stretching out on Mondays is really important after my long runs. It’s a good reset for the start of the new week.
It’s great for core strength and flexibility which is ideal for runners. Having a stronger core helps prevent injury, reduces aches after longer runs and all of this further improves my running efficiency.
The heat really helps me to stretch out further as my muscles are warmer. The classes are also a great workout. Often, I’ve walked out of the studio feeling like I’ve just taken a shower – in a good way of course.
A good example of yoga helping me feeling stronger happened last weekend. I completed a 16-mile run for my London Marathon training. The next day, my muscles were a little sore, but this time last year after 16 miles, my hips would have hurt! Running is a very repetitive movement so it puts a lot of strain on the body. Over the past year I’ve focused on building strength in my core and hip flexors to improve my running posture. Yoga has really helped with that too! I’m much stronger now and I love feeling that strength during training.
How long have you been running for, which races have you competed in?
I started running in 2012 after moving back home from university. Previously, I was a netball player (not a very good one but I tried!), but I wanted a new challenge so took up running after a suggestion from a work colleague. I’d done a few 5K Race for Life’s, but never anything further.
I signed up for my first half marathon as an incentive to train and completed this in 2 hours 3 minutes and 52 seconds.
After picking up a few injuries in 2013, I saw the London Marathon on TV and was inspired. I signed up for the ballot but unfortunately got a no. I ended up running the London Marathon in 2014 for Children with Cancer in a time of 3 hours 54.
Later that year I joined the Redway Runners after losing my running mojo and this is around the time that I first found yoga. I used strength training and yoga to help rehab injuries that I was plagued with in 2014/2015. These injuries were down to a lack of strength in my body and muscles and overtraining.
2017 was the year everything changed for me. In January I became a newly qualified Personal Trainer and set my heart on the London Marathon once again. I had had to pull out of the 2015 Marathon with only 6 weeks to go after picking up a stress fracture.
I was determined to cross that line injury free but also as happy as I had felt in 2014. Using my PT knowledge and strength training throughout the years, I understood how important rest and recovery was to my training so I only ran 4 days a week and continued with my weekly yoga and weight-based strength training.
I completed the London Marathon in a time of 3 hours 44 minutes and achieved a Good For Age spot for this year, which meant I automatically had a place in the race.
2017 then went from strength to strength. After seeing my achievements, my Personal Training and Running Coaching business has thrived and evolved and I’m now so fortunate to help other runners on their own journeys. I am so lucky that I get to do what I love every single day and use all of my failures and successes to educate, inspire, encourage and motivate others.
My half marathon PB is now 1 hour 33 minutes and 4 seconds. I’m very pleased that I’ve been able to knock off over half an hour over the years. I’ve also completed a sub 20 minute 5K, a time I used to dream of.
My motto with Clean Coach Katie is #StrongerFitterFaster and yoga has definitely helped me to become a stronger, fitter and faster runner.
You can learn more about Clean Coach Katie and her inspiring running achievements at:
Thanks Katie for taking the time to talk to Sweat Studios. We wish you the best of luck with your running goals in 2018.
If you’d like to know more about how yoga could help your running, why not speak to a member of the team!