Yoga for Runners

Updated

If you are a runner, you may not know that yoga can help you with running in more ways than you know. One quick yoga session will help loosen any tight spots you may have, build up any of your weak areas, and help make you a better runner while lowering the risk of injury. So if you are a runner who has never thought about incorporating yoga into your daily routine, below will outline the benefits that yoga can provide and some of the best yoga stretches you should try to get the best running experience you can imagine.

Benefits of Yoga for Runners

Flexibility is one of the many benefits that yoga can give to a runner. While you will always need strength to complete an exercise, you will find that you can move with both freedom and ease if you have flexibility. If you can hold yoga poses for a good amount of time, that will help create elasticity, and you will find that your muscles, joints, ligaments, and connective tissue will all be that much looser and will assist you in being able to run without stiffness.

Another aspect in which yoga will help you, the runner, is with your strength. When you start practicing yoga, you will find that it will bring strength to many important supporting muscles that are primarily used when you go on a run and the muscles you don’t pay much attention to. When you place down that mat on the floor and start doing yoga, you will start to notice that your core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors will all have much more strength to them than before. That means nothing but good things for you while you run because now you will lower your risk of injury when you are out.

You may not associate yoga with mental stamina but will find that your mental stamina and strength will greatly improve if you start practicing. This is achieved because when you start practicing yoga, you will learn to concentrate better and better. Yoga takes both time and patience. You have to put aside your ego and learn just how far both your body and mind can go and push it to the limit.

Best Type of Yoga for Runners

Restorative Yoga is the first kind of yoga you may want to try if you are a runner, especially if you like to run long distances or do a lot of sprinting every week. If you are going to do this kind of yoga, you will find that it mainly involves being on the floor and restoring your mind and body with deep chest breathing. One thing to consider before using this practice, it is a very “still” yoga, so if you are someone who likes to move around and not be stationary, you may want to look at a different type of yoga that fits better for you.

You will find that Power Yoga is the type that many runners tend to choose to coincide with their running. This type of yoga really focuses on your alignment and breathing, which can transform still poses into amazing movements or a simple lunge. If you use The Warrior, you will build strength in your legs. The Chaturanga will help tone both your shoulders and arms, while most other power yoga poses will help work on your glutes and core.  With power yoga, the stretches and exercise focus mainly on the muscles you use during running, like the hip flexors, quads, calves, and more, which will give you the best running experience you can ask for.

How to Start Incorporating Yoga into Your Running Routine

There are many ways you can start incorporating yoga into your running routine, no matter how difficult it may seem. The first thing you can do is start your morning off with a yoga practice instead of standing in your kitchen sipping on a cup of coffee, even if it is only for a minute. If you start your morning with yoga, you will feel more awake and alert than coffee could ever make you feel. Now you will be ready for that run.

If you work at an office job that requires you to sit all day before you go out for a run, unwinding by doing some yoga in your office will help make sure all those unused muscles during the day get the attention they deserve. If you are doing office yoga, try small stretches to help things like your wrists, hands, heels, and other parts that you normally would not think about.

Finally, you can always try doing some yoga after you finish running. This will help your body cool down and stretch all those muscles you just worked out. It will also help you not pull any of the flexors found in your hips, thighs, and biceps. Now you will not have to worry about waking up sore or with any pulled muscles. You can stay in great shape and be ready for the next day’s run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can yoga help runners?

Yes, yoga can absolutely help runners. In fact, yoga may even help improve your running. Once you start practicing yoga, you will find that your core strength helps stabilize your body, brings strength to your lower body, and adds abdominal strength. All of that will help improve your running form, which in turn improves your running performance.

Should running be done before or after yoga?

The short answer to this question is both. But if you have to choose one because you are limited on time, you should probably practice yoga after running. The main reason is that yoga usually calms and relaxes the mind and body, and it can be difficult to do all that and then immediately going out for a run afterward. Running helps warm up the muscles you are about to stretch with yoga. Plus, if you do yoga after a long run, it is a great way to help with the recovery.

How often should a runner do yoga?

A runner should probably practice yoga at least 2 or 3 times a week. If you do not have the time to see a yoga teacher that many times in a week, there are plenty of at-home yoga practices you can do in the comfort of your home. Doing yoga this often will help keep your body, muscles, and mind unwound and loose, so you do not experience any hindrance from all the running you do on a daily basis.

Is it okay to do yoga and run on the same day?

Yes, while it is perfectly okay to do your running and yoga on the same day, if that is the case, it would be best if you complete your run first before the yoga. That way, you are getting the most out of the run and yoga session. If you do not want to do both on the same day, yoga is a great way to keep your fitness and health going on the days you take off from going on your run.

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