Runners love to run – obviously. Unfortunately, many runners only run and neglect a lot of other exercises that could not only prevent injury but also improve their running form and performances. Yoga is a smart addition to any runner’s training schedule as it aids in stretching out tight, achy muscles as well as strengthening muscles to help you run faster and further. Yoga not only serves to train the body but also the mind through its relaxation and breathing techniques. Find a local studio and try a few different styles to determine what suits you best; pop in an at-home DVD or even download a few exercises to view on your computer at home or on a lunch break. If you’re short on time, do the following 3 yoga poses after your run 3 times a week and you’ll start to notice a difference in your flexibility and strength after just a few weeks!
1. CHAIR POSE
Build up strength in the quadriceps and gluteal muscles, key-running muscles, with chair pose. Do this pose by standing tall with abdominals contracted and feet hip-width apart. Reach your arms out in front of you at shoulder-height and slowly lower into a squat. Be sure to squat so that your butt sticks out, activating the glutes, and avoid letting your knees extend past your toes. Hold this posture for approximately 20 seconds and repeat 3 times. Progress you’re holding times to 30 seconds to a minute, as you get stronger. Breathing through the pose will help you stay strong and steady!
Bridging pose activates the hip extensors, gluteals and hamstrings, key muscles for the drive phase of running. Do this pose by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Relax your upper body and rest arms by your sides, palms facing down. Squeeze your buttocks muscles and curl your pelvis up as you lift your hips up and away from the floor. Avoid arching your whole back, rather just lift the hips and lower back to focus on using the correct muscles. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before lowering; repeat 10 times for 3 sets in total.
3. LEGS UP THE WALL
This yoga pose is highly transferrable to runners particularly because of its recovery benefits. After a run, lie on the floor with your buttocks as close to a wall as possible; lift your legs and heels up to rest on the wall. Stay there anywhere from 1 minute to 5 minutes. This exercise helps to decrease leg swelling and improve circulation, which prevents sore, achy, tight muscles.
Have you tried these yoga poses before or have your own favorites to complement your running program? Share in the comments below!