Hello Run Fast Mama readers!
I’m Danielle and I blog over at Live, Run, Grow! I recently completed my 2nd marathon (having come from being a complete non-runner almost 2 years ago!) and a newly certified yoga teacher. I love sharing the benefits of yoga with other runners, so I was excited when Lisa invited me to write a post for her Run=Fun! series on just that!
While I’ve always been a fan of yoga, I don’t think I fully understood the effect it would have on my running until I began training for my 2nd marathon. While training for my first marathon I had unfortunately gotten a little lazy about keeping up with my yoga practice since I was so focused on running.
Training for marathon #2 happened to coincide with my yoga teacher training and I was doing 3 days of vinyassa yoga a week. I was worried that all that yoga was going to effect my running…and it did, but now how I expected! My long runs felt stronger, I didn’t experience the stabbing piriformis pain I had the last time around (also known as “runner’s pain in the butt”) and my long run recovery was amazing (I was barely sore after 22 miles!).
When I began running and started doing some research on training I was surprised to learn that stretching was such a controversial topic! Many believe that stretching before a run can lead to an injury…and I’m sure for a lot of people this is true. If you don’t stretch often and your muscles are cold and tight it’s easy to push too far and hurt yourself. But, if done correctly, incorporating yoga into your regular routine can actually stretch and strengthen the major running muscle groups and help to prevent injury!
So, here is how incorporating yoga into training can help you, along with some great resources for short yoga sequences and additional information:
It’s important to warm up your muscles before heading out for a run to avoid injury, and yoga is a great way to do this! While you don’t want to do static poses or stretching when your muscles are cold, dynamic poses & movement are a great way to get your body ready to head out! I learned this short routine at a workshop I took with Sage Rountree, an internationally recognized authority on yoga for athletes.
Repeat this series 5 times on each side moving fluidly with your breath:
- Begin in mountain pose
- Lift arms over head and lift one knee so that thigh is parallel to floor
- Step back with raised leg into a lunge position
- Transfer weight into original standing leg for warrior III
- Bring raised leg forward back into knee lift
- Lower leg back to mountain pose
You can view a video of this warm up series here: http://www.runnersworld.com/stretching/body-shop-turn-your-heat
While many people don’t consider yoga a “real” workout, anyone who’s held a standing balance pose until their leg was shaking will surely argue otherwise. Yoga is a great way to strengthen not only the muscles you use to run, but it will also get those muscles that sometimes as runner’s we forget about!
Cool Down & Flexibility
Let’s face it, runners aren’t usually known for being the most flexible bunch, but a little extra flexibility can go a long way when it comes to muscle recovery and preventing injury. This short post run sequence targets the hamstrings, quadriceps, piriformis and hips and is a great way to end your run!
Hold each pose for 3-5 long deep breaths, repeating the sequence on each side.
- Triangle Forward Bend (Pyramid)
- Head to Knee Pose
- Happy Baby
You can view a video of this sequence here:
Here are some of my favorite resources for additional information on yoga for runners:
- Any of Sage Rountree’s books, as I mentioned I took a workshop with her and I just love her!
- You can also find Yoga for Athlete’s specific classes with Sage on YogaVibes.com (and they offer a 15 day free trial!)
- The video’s I provided are from Runner’s World website and there are a lot more where they came from (they are under Training & Plans / Stretching)
So, there you have it, my Run=Fun tips for you on the benefits of yoga for runners, enjoy!
RunFastMama Note: Thanks Danielle! I have been looking for ways to incorporate yoga and stretching into my running routine to get rid of the dreaded piriformis pain! The cool down and flexibility routine that you showed here was amazing in stretching all of my sore spots out and I will incorporate both routines into my daily schedule.