Yoga Poses for Runners

ShamrockShuffle2012I took up running in 2010.  Just a few months later I discovered yoga as a way to alleviate sore hamstrings, hips, and quads.  Plus my IT band was always flaring up.  I started running in an effort to lose weight.  It worked!  And then I ran my first 5K.  After that I was addicted. I ran several 5Ks, 8Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, and even a half marathon over the next few years.  Now I just run for fun, and only when the weather is nice (ha!) but I do try to get in yoga at least once a week.

Maybe you’re like me, and you use running as a way to lose weight…or keep it off.  Perhaps you are inspired to run to raise awareness for a cause that’s close to your heart, or maybe it’s all about the personal challenge. Whatever your motivation for running a marathon, one thing is certain— it’s a monumental, life-changing experience.  Training for a marathon is intense, taking place over the course of months or even years. From building base mileage to speed work, you will constantly be challenging and pushing your body to its limits.

Many runners training for a marathon implement yoga into their cross training regimens. Yoga helps runners by increasing blood flow to overworked joints and muscles, promoting healing and making the most out of rest days. Yoga also stretches and strengthens the muscles of the legs, core and spine. Perhaps most surprisingly, yoga is a workout for the mind and helps instill a sense of determination that will definitely be crucial come race day.

Here are a few of my favorite yoga poses for runners. Try focusing on these postures next time you’re in a yoga class, or doing some stretches at home.  And Good luck snagging a PR at your next race!

Warrior III

Benefits:

·       Stretches hamstrings and thighs
·       Expands chest and lungs
·       Improves balance and posture

Chair Pose

Benefits:

·       Strengthens thighs and ankles
·       Stretches Achilles tendons and shins

Crescent Lunge Twist

Benefits:

·       Stretches the legs and hips
·       Opens the chest, shoulders and arms
·       Improves balance and energy
·       Detoxes internal organs

Pyramid Pose (one of my favorites)

Benefits:

·       Strengthens and stretches hamstrings and shoulders
·       Builds balance and coordination
·       Therapeutic for flat feet

Forward Fold

Benefits:

·       Stretches hamstrings, calves and hips
·       Strengthens thighs and knees

Squat & Curl

Benefits:

·       Opens up vertebrae
·       Flushes out front of torso

High Plank

Benefits:

·       Improves core strength
·       Strengthens the arms and spine

Supine Figure Four

Benefits:

·       Stretches the hamstrings and quadriceps
·       Opens the hips

Half Splits

Benefits:

·       Stretches the hips, hamstrings, calves and low back
·       Strengthens the hamstrings

See you on the sidewalk, or in a class!

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