Yoga for Runners
with Reba Gray
Springtime brings growth: plants in the garden get taller and the days grow longer. Many of us catch the excitement of spring energy by getting back to our outdoor athletic pursuits like running and cycling.
But before you take off like a hot rod, incorporate some small yoga movements into your routine and warm up your muscles with some dynamic movements. Moving in and out of a stretch increases the core temperature of your muscles and stimulates the neurological system.
After your run, take the time for some gentle static stretches. These can be held for 5 breaths or more. Static stretches prevent injury and increase flexibility. After a run when your muscles are warm is a perfect time to gently work some of these muscles.
PRE-RUN: DYNAMIC STRETCHING
1. Runner’s Lunge
Seems obvious, but, a key pose for runners. Important because we spend so much time sitting, and the hip is in constant flexion. Place hands on water bottles or yoga blocks for support. Straighten and bend the back knee a few times to get tension out of the hip flexors. Press into the ball of the back foot.
2. Two-limbed Pose
Make sure the spine stays neutral and the front ribcage does not drop toward your mat. Reach one arm forward and the opposite leg behind you. Bring lifted knee toward lifted elbow, and round your back toward the ceiling.As you inhale, reach forward again with the arm while reaching behind with your leg. Repeat 3-5 times, then switch sides.
3. Reclining Abdominal Twist
Runners’ quadriceps can get strong, so try strengthening the adductors (inner thighs) with this pose. Squeeze a yoga block between thighs, keep knees at hip height.As you exhale, legs turn to the right, inhale, come back to center, exhaling legs to the left, and center. Repeat, squeezing the block firmly.
POST-RUN: STATIC STRETCHING
4. Calf Stretch
Keep your knees bent as you fold forward. Alternatively, this pose can be done standing on the street or on a stair, let your heel hang off the curb or step’s edge.
5. Toes Pose
Take care of your feet! If there is too much sensation in this stretch, lean forward onto your hands.
6. Reclining Cow-Faced Pose
Cross the legs tightly, hug your knees in, holding below the knees, shins, or ankles. Pull the legs right to left away from each other. Feel the stretch in your outer hips and thighs. This pose helps to increase the range of motion in the hips.
Learn how to nurture your body in specific postures and sequences that benefit runners! Adding a little yoga to your running regimen will increase endurance, keep your joints healthy, and reduce your risk of injury. The first half of this workshop explores dynamic stretching to prepare for your run. The second half will contain yoga poses that support you after your run. We will also explore abdominal work that will improve your running posture.
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