Updated: Jan 5
Yoga boasts a whole list of benefits for runners, including building strength and flexibility, preventing injuries, and reducing physical stress. As such, yoga deserves a place in every runner’s training plan. Today, we go over why yoga is so beneficial to runners as well as some poses you can incorporate into your training.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga for Runners?
It is common to get injured while running. Whether you are new to running and accidentally push yourself too hard or are a seasoned runner training for a marathon, muscle imbalances can lead to knee pain, tight hamstrings, and sore legs and feet. Yoga not only helps correct muscle imbalances, it also offers these additional benefits:
Reduces physical stress and injuries that can result from running
Teaches mind-body awareness
Reduces tension in the body
Increases your oxygen capacity
Yoga has been shown to improve running performance as well. Yoga increases core strength, which can help stabilize your body and strengthen your lower back. This increase in strength leads to better running form.
What Is the Best Way to Incorporate Yoga into Your Running?
Yoga can be included in a running training program in many ways. After going for a run, try doing some yoga stretches to increase blood flow and remove any lactic acid. Doing a few poses for anywhere between 30 seconds to a couple minutes helps improve recovery. Additionally, stretching after a run can relax any tight muscles, preventing pain and stiffness in the future.
It is best to be careful not to do a vigorous yoga class, such as power yoga or Vinyasa, right before or after a long run. If you do decide to do a yoga class on the same day as a longer run, aim to do your run first. Be sure to hydrate appropriately, eat well, and get enough rest in to be able to perform well for both activities.
What Are Some Post-Run Yoga Poses?
Any yoga pose that focuses on stretching and lengthening your back, hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes is a good option. You can opt for a yoga class in person or search for online yoga sessions as well. There are also YouTube channels you can follow, such as Yoga with Adrienne and Cat Meffan, where you can access yoga sequences for runners. Here are some poses to get you started:
Side lunge with arm extended
Half pigeon pose or figure four (figure four is the easier variation)
How Many Times Per Week Should You Do Yoga After Running?
You should do yoga as many times per week as feels comfortable for you in your body. If you are new to the practice, you might want to start out doing it twice a week for 15 minutes and build up from there. If you are comfortable with the practice or are working on increasing your flexibility and range of motion, try to do yoga three to four times per week for 15 to 30 minutes a day. You can always increase or decrease the amount of time spent doing yoga as you continue with your running program and figure out what works best for you.
About the Author:
Yoga4Good is a San Diego, CA based eco-friendly yoga mat company that believes in doing good. A portion of the profits from each yoga mat goes to CCS, an organization that helps victims of sexual assault. Learn more at www.yoga4good.com.