The key to getting fitter and faster is to run often, but also to compliment that with accessory exercises that will be beneficial. Yoga can help runners build flexibility and strength which are both very important.
As a runner, why should I practice yoga?
As well as improved flexibility and strength, yoga will help lengthen tight muscles, improve balance and strengthen the core, feet and ankles. Yoga also teaches you to be conscious of your breathing which is very important in running technique.
Injuries like IT band syndrome or plantar fasciitis are caused by overuse of the muscles used when running. Yoga can help avoid such injuries by loosening up the hip flexors, lengthening the hamstrings and stabilising the muscles of the thigh and outer hip to help bring back their full range of motion. This will avoid your body compromising proper running technique when the muscles are tight from overuse.
Which stretches are the most beneficial to runners?
Yoga straps are useful to stretch out the hamstrings, calves, glutes, quads and adductors. These are the main muscles used by the body when running, therefore stretching them out is of utmost importance. Along with some upper body stretches which could also be useful, here is a video showing how to use the straps.
As well as using the strap, here are some other useful yoga poses for runners:
Downward dog: This stretches the calves and hamstrings as well as creating length through the spine. Click here to see how it’s done.
Upward facing dog: This stretch will open up the hip flexors as well as the chest and shoulders. Click here to see how it’s done.
Triangle Pose: This is used to stretch the inner thighs and hamstrings. When running, our bodies move solely in the vertical (sagittal) plane, in this stretch you will bend laterally (sideways) which will activate your muscles differently from how they are activated whilst running. Click here to see how it’s done.
If you’re a runner and you haven’t yet had a go at yoga, we strongly suggest that you do. We can almost guarantee that after a good 45 minutes to an hour of stretching and core work you will feel the difference in your muscles on your next run. You should feel less tight and a lot more mobile which will help you achieve your goals.
If you have any questions feel free to drop us a reply!