From tight hip flexors and hamstrings to achy knees and low back pain, running can certainly take a toll on the body. Over time, an activity like running can shorten and imbalance muscle groups in ways that can inhibit your athletic performance and cause injuries. The good news is that yoga can help. Yoga is a perfect complement to running, as it can help cultivate freedom, balance and flexibility in the lower body so you can stay injury-free and running for years to come.
How to Incorporate Yoga into Your Training Plan
If you are training for a race and have a specific mileage plan for each week, map out a yoga plan that will enhance your running rather than competing with it. Are you deep into your training schedule with ramped up mileage and long, hard runs several times a week? Take our pre and post-run yoga classes that are gentle in nature and focus on stretching the hips and hamstrings, removing lactic acid buildup and getting blood flowing back to your muscles for quick recovery.
If you are beginning a new running plan and need to build strength, take yoga classes that offer the ability to strengthen your core, open tight hips, increase your stamina and focus for race day.
The key to keep in mind when getting on your mat as part of your running regimen is to balance the intensity of your yoga class with your training so that you are continually undoing the work of the run on your body and preparing your body for the next run rather than expending so much energy on the mat that you are depleted when you get back on the trail.
Where to Start
- Cross-Training Flow for Athletes with Stephanie Snyder: This sequence is designed for the athlete (or anyone) who has tight hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings. Activities like running, hiking, cycling can all shorten these muscle groups in a way that can inhibit your athletic performance and cause aches and pains in the low back and knees. We will move through a flowing vinyasa class that will help cultivate freedom and flexibility in your lower body.
- Strengthen Hamstrings, Stretch Quads with Jason Crandell: Most asana practices include an abundance of hamstring stretching and very little hamstring strengthening. Conversely, most practices do several postures that strengthen the quadriceps and few that stretch the quadriceps. This sequence flips these roles by emphasizing postures that strengthen the hamstrings and stretch the quadriceps. In addition to benefiting regular asana practitioners, this class will be particularly helpful to runners.
- Post-Run Stretch with Tara Judelle: For runners post exercise to stretch and lengthen hamstrings, hips and inner thighs to create balanced muscles. Includes, Uttanasana, Pasarita Padotanasa, Pigeon, Runners Stretch, and Janu Sirsasana.
- Post-Marathon Practice with Felicia Tomasko: Just ran a marathon or feel like you did? This hip and hamstring practice that uses two blocks is entirely done on the floor, mostly on the back, without our usual forward folds and twists. Cultivate stability in the low back and hips with this practice that is cross-training not only for runners, but for the rest of the us.
- Cross-Training for Runners with Tiffany Cruikshank: A 45min flow aimed specifically at runners with a focus on the hips & legs. Designed to be a good cross training routine for low intensity training days or rest days.
- Post Cardio Yoga Practice with Elena Brower: Specific standing poses and hip openers – and one delicious backbend – to root our thighs back into their sockets and open our quads and hamstrings efficiently, thereby easing our lower backs. Superb for runners, hikers, swimmers, cyclists, and elliptical enthusiasts; we practice matching the intensity of any perceived boundary – in our postures or in our lives – with some more softness, more respect, more attention.