As a runner, I love doing other exercises to help strengthen my muscles and flexibility to break records. One of the things I follow is yoga for runners, which has a ton of benefits for both my mind and body!
But what exactly can yoga offer for runners like us and are there specific poses we should follow? While I love all of yoga, there ARE certain poses we can focus more on. So read on as I show you everything you need to know about yoga for runners.
- The Benefits of Yoga For Runners
- Essential Yoga Poses For Runners
- Yoga and Run On the Same Day? Which Goes First?
- Wrapping It Up
The Benefits of Yoga For Runners
So, why should you try doing yoga in the first place? Whether you just started running or are an avid runner, yoga provides amazing health benefits such as:
1. Strengthen Muscles
Running is a repetitive exercise that uses the same muscles over and over again. Yoga uses all muscles in various positions, making it similar to cross-training we need.
It will develop your stability and strength, specifically in the trunk and hips, which is a huge-must for running and will lengthen shortened tissues. Plus, it strengthens imbalanced muscles to prevent injury and chronic pain.
2. Improve Your Runs
Yoga may lead to better running performance as it helps with core strength to stabilize your body. It can also strengthen your lower back and abs, which aid in better running form.
Yoga strengthens most muscles but emphasizes mostly on hip stability, which is great for your runs. It also helps elongate and relax the upper trunk!
3. Better Breathing
Breathing is a crucial component to your runs, and yoga is based all around one’s breathing! The breathing practices and teaching of mindfulness in yoga can greatly benefit a runner.
You can become more aware of your breathing while you run, which soothes your nervous system before and during your runs to conserve energy.
4. Improve Your Flexibility
Yoga is a great way to stretch those muscles and give you the recovery your body needs. It increases flexibility as well, improving your stride length and speed. That way, you have better strength AND range of motion.
Just be wary about overdoing your stretches before runs, which I’ll talk about in the next sections.
5. Rest and Recover Better
Many running-related injuries come from muscle imbalances. With yoga, your body has better stability to prevent most injuries. It works major muscle groups and complementary muscles so it can help runners focus on weak spots before any injuries occur. Besides this, yoga can also help to recover from intense runs while you stay active.
6. Train Your Mind
Besides your physical body and benefits, yoga can work your mental focus as well. The activity will train you to deal with any negative thoughts and distractions that may happen during runs.
After all, running is a mind game and there are chances where your mind and body are telling you to stop but you must keep going! With yoga, you can train your mind and focus and concentrate on the end goal, thinking of running as meditation as well.
7. Match Your Running Style
What’s great about yoga is that you don’t need to just stick to one program or type of workout. There are so many styles, studios, and teachers who can teach you various yoga practices based on your goal. You can try out many different yoga options to figure out what’s most suitable for your running style!
Essential Yoga Poses For Runners
Yoga is highly beneficial but only if you have the correct poses to follow made for your running style! Here are the top yoga poses you should follow to help you reap the advantages I mentioned above:
1. Downward Dog
This is the most popular yoga move! The downward dog can help strengthen, lengthen, and open your hips, calves, hamstrings, and quads. It also opens up your arms and upper back, which get tight after you run. Lift the hip bones straight and towards the sky, pushing your heels to the ground for a good stretch.
2. Forward Fold
Poses that involve reaching the toes is a great way to stretch your calves and hamstrings, This pose can stretch your arch and IT band, which is a tight muscle most runners have.
Do both standing and seated forward folds after runs. To make the most out of the stretch when you’re seated, hinge at your waist, reaching as far as you can before you fold over your legs, with your back still straight. If you can’t reach the toes while standing, bend the knees or stand with feet slightly apart, or with your palms on the calves before moving forward to the ground.
Backbends from bridges can help open the front of your body and shoulders, strengthening your core. Since you are constantly hunching forward as you run, it helps you practice better posture.
Simply lift your hips towards to sky, keeping the body in a straight line and with an engaged core. Open your chest further by clasping your hands under the pelvis, rolling your shoulder blades towards one another.
4. Seated Spinal Twist
Running is all forwards and backward, there isn’t much turning, swiveling, or any lateral movement as you’re stuck in one position for miles! That’s why you should do these Twists, which loosen and lengthen your spine, easing stiff shoulders and necks after runs.
Do a basic twist as you are Indian sitting, or do the Half Lord or Fishes pose. Simply cross one leg over the other with your knee pointed upwards and your foot’s sole on the surface. Reach the opposite arm across your body, pushing it against the outer part of your thigh and near the knee, deepening the twist.
5. Low Lunge
The low lunge is an awesome way to begin your yoga practice, as it gets the entire body to engage. It will also have you practice your balance, another crucial skill runners need.
These lunges will stretch out both your front and back of one’s legs, opening hips, and strengthening your core. If you can, take the low lunge even further and drop down to the elbows, doing the Lizard pose! This will further work your body.
This may be a slightly difficult twist to do for runners since your hips and glutes may be tight. However, they are beneficial to loosen those muscles up, so focus on slowly twisting your body only up to its limit!
If ever going to the Triangle pose causes pain in the outer hip, rest your arm on a block rather than the floor. Make sure that you continue breathing and even out your breaths as you stretch when doing this.
Do you want to learn more about yoga for runners? Check out these cool workout videos you can follow:
Yoga and Run On the Same Day? Which Goes First?
Now that you know the yoga benefits and poses for runners, there are two things people wonder:
Can you do yoga and run on the same day? If you can, which one goes first?
Yes, you CAN do yoga and run in one day! It’s quite beneficial and can have you burn a few more calories. I highly recommend that you do yoga AFTER your running session, though. Why?
When you run before yoga, your muscles will completely warm up so you’re able to get deeper into various yoga poses. Besides this, it can help increase your recovery time and have you hit a better PR in your next run. Think of it as a great way to cool down, especially since yoga has relaxing benefits that wind you down after an intense session.
Yoga before running is discouraged as the stretches would relax the muscles you need to be tightened to withstand physical loads as you run. If your muscles are too relaxed, then it increases the chances of running injuries!
BUT, this all depends on the type of yoga you practice. If you do more active yoga poses that engage the core (like squats, lunges, or warrior II), then you may want to use it as a warmup for running. If your yoga routine has more passive stretching (like supine figure four and forward folds), this is meant for cooldowns.
It all boils down to your yoga routine and personal preference. For me, I suggest that you follow a good yoga routine as a way to cool down to recover nicely and stretch those tired muscles without overexerting yourself!
Wrapping It Up
There are a lot of things that go into being strong runners, from proper posture to better breathing. You can get all that with a good yoga session regularly and reap the various benefits it offers!
I hope that this article on yoga for runners helped you out! So don’t wait any longer and try following any of these yoga poses to see what works best for you today.
Do you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences when doing yoga for runners? Share it in the comments section down below, all your thoughts are much appreciated.