Yoga For Runners : Why Runners Should Incorporate Yoga Into Their Training?

Ritesh Bhatt

#fitness

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Training for a big race? Setting some goals you want to crush before the year ends? No matter what your reasons, yoga can be a great way to cross train for running from a 5k to a marathon! Running is great for your heart and body but can also be a huge strain on the muscles. Having an active yoga practice to complement your running routine can have tons of benefits! Let’s dive into how yoga can help!

1. Breathing

Proper breathing and breath stabilization are both incredibly important principles in Yoga and Running. If you can practice proper breathing while running, you can maintain speed longer because you will take long deeper breaths to match your long strides, instead of short breaths which cause instability and speed decline.

Practicing Pranayama for runners -

Adding a pranayama breath practice before a run can help you to maintain focus as well as speed. Even if running is a release for you, and feels relaxing, Using breathwork to relax and focus can help you clearly see the physical and mental road ahead. Pranayama can also help if things are going off course on your run. If you need to regain control, you can come back to your breath and refocus. With these practices together, your run really can be a religious experience, or a way to relieve stress! 

To start a pranayama practice, all you need to do is focus on controlling your inhale and exhale. Start by standing tall and relaxed, or sitting tall and calm if you prefer. Close your eyes and focus inward. Start by breathing in for two and out for two. As you continue to grow your practice, you can  build up to breathing in for six and out for six. You can even play with pausing for two to four breaths in between your inhale and exhale. When you finally build a practice you’re confident with, you can start to set intentions and visualize your success. With this practice, you’ll begin to see your running dreams come true!

2. Flexibility/Strength

It would be great if in life, we only ever needed to do one thing to get to our goals. But in reality,just like we can’t have cookies for every meal, cross training for runners is essential to maintaining a long term healthy routine. While you could easily just add weight training or stretching a la cart into your week, yoga gives you more by going deeper and getting into those smaller, harder to access ligaments and tendons you might otherwise miss with strength training . Adding yoga into your running routine can reduce the risk of injury and help to maintain your goals. The more flexible your muscles are, the less likely they are to tense up or be stressed during running so you can move with more confidence and ease. Not to mention, it’s always great to look forward to a nice long stretch after a run. 


3. Conditioning 

We all know running is GREAT for your cardiovascular health, can add years on to your life and keep your heart pumping at its best! But it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a veteran, running can make your body sore. Yoga is great for conditioning those tired and fatigued muscles without having to “take a day off” to rest. In between your runs or on conditioning days, you can take a class focused on your back or knee health, or even a class to open tight hips after a long run. There’s nothing the magic of yoga can’t do! 


4. Balance/Posture

Even though running is a “walk in the park” compared to ballet where balance is concerned, you still need to do your best to focus on alignment while you move.

Yoga can improve your running form by elongating the limbs so you cover more ground in less time. You'll be PR’ing in no time! Proper alignment is also important when running because as you increase your speed, the level of impact (and injury) becomes greater. Maintaining your body's alignment during movement assures you arrive at the finish line aliment free! Love a tree pose? Want to learn to fly into a warrior? Lots of yoga poses force you to balance on one leg, which helps you to build a unilateral movement practice much like the ebbs and flows you take while running. 

5. Stress and Mental Clarity

Feeling stressed before a big run? Worried about your PR? Yoga can help! Focus your breathing and set an intention. You’ve got this!

Focus and clarity are so important when running so you can know where you’re headed and stay on track. Add your yoga practice in before training or race days and you’ll feel your worries melt away. According to scientists at Harvard, adding just minutes of yoga to your week can improve your outlook, slow down the body and decrease stress. You’ll find your body will be more relaxed, focused and ready to run for those goals when you release your tension with yoga. 

Getting started:

So what do you need to get started? Simple! Yourself, a mat, some water and a quiet space are all you need! Are you ready to add yoga into your running routine? Get started with a two week free trial of our classes and one on one sessions!

Let’s figure out where your yoga practice would serve you best! 

Doing yoga BEFORE your run will help you to warm up your muscles and ligaments. By fully warming up your body before you hit the pavement, you decrease the chances of injury, help with an easier recovery and can improve your PR as you continue to train! 

Best Yoga Poses to practice before a run :

  1. High Lunge - This pose stretches the legs from top of the thighs down to the ankle

    High Lunge
  2. Warrior II - Helps with focus and stamina. Great before heading out!

    Warrior II
  3. Side angle bend - This stretch helps to stretch the side body and release any tension in the shoulders and spine. 

    Side angle bend

⁠Prefer to do yoga after your run? That’s a great option too! Yoga is great for recovery after a run! Finishing your running routine with a yoga stretch helps you to rebalance. You can stretch muscles or limbs that became tight during your run and strengthen anything  that may have become fatigued. You can also refocus and deepen your breath to reset for the next part of your day. 

Best Yoga Poses to practice after a run :

  1. Butterfly Pose - a basic hip opener to ease into your stretch

    Butterfly Pose
  2. Half Pigeon - A great pose for multiple alignments! Working through the psoas and hip flexors. Make sure to practice on both sides.

    Half Pigeon
  3. Happy Baby - This pose is great for finishing up your hip opener extension while giving a nice massage to the back and stretching the soles of the feet.

    Happy Baby

Want to take a class? Try some of our favorite classes for runners!

Yoga for Strength and flexibility 

Yoga for Knee Pain

Yoga for Back health

Ready to join us for class? Get started with a free trial now! 

Remember, with a great training plan for your runs, and an ongoing yoga practice you’ll be ready to run to your greatest finish line feeling and looking your best! Just like peanut butter and jelly, yoga and running are great together!

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