Yoga For Runners: Run Higher, Harm Free

This entry was posted on Sep 27, 2023 by Scott Moore.


Rising up, I used to be by no means very athletic. I by no means actually loved workforce sports activities. I used to be common at baseball, soccer, and basketball—scrawny and uncoordinated. I didn’t even trouble to check out for soccer. 

However early on, I found a love for operating and have been operating most of my life. I discovered pleasure in operating, not in operating the quickest or the longest however slightly simply within the operating itself. For me, the enjoyment comes from the solitude of a long term and from the full-body motion of operating, particularly after I handle a cushty and sustainable tempo. Operating additionally clears my thoughts and sometimes even feels religious to me. Rising up, I by no means felt higher than throughout and after a long term, particularly a path run.

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That’s, till I found yoga. 

Once I began training yoga in my early 20s I used to be excited to find one other exercise that wasn’t a aggressive sport and in addition left me feeling pretty much as good in physique, thoughts, and spirit the way in which operating did. However after I informed my yoga associates that along with training yoga I additionally loved operating, they’d typically elevate their eyebrows above their bindi and matter-of-factly inform me that yoga and operating simply don’t combine. But as somebody who does each I encourage to vary. Quite the opposite, yoga has improved my operating and has stored me operating properly and largely injury-free for many years. 

In some ways operating has improved my yoga apply by giving me extra stamina, focus, and breath capability. Nonetheless, on this article I wish to discover a number of the many ways in which yoga can profit runners and the way incorporating yoga into your coaching routine could make a big distinction in your enjoyment, efficiency, and longevity of your operating.

The Bodily Advantages of Yoga for Runners

1. Higher Flexibility

One of many greatest advantages of yoga for runners is best flexibility. Operating primarily includes repetitive actions in a ahead course which just about at all times results in tight muscle tissues. Tight muscle tissues contribute to diminished vary of movement which signifies that the tighter a runner’s muscle tissues get, the extra effort they’ve to make use of to make their physique transfer. Yoga postures stretch and lengthen muscle tissues and assist runners get pleasure from higher flexibility and mobility, a profit that looks like  lastly, somebody has launched the parking brake in your operating. 

Operating tightens particular muscle teams such because the hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves (at all times my nemesis). I preserve flexibility and freedom in these muscle teams with poses like Downdog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Kneeling Lunge (Anjaneyasana), and Pigeon (Kapotasana) or Determine 4 Stretch. By protecting the physique limber, runners not solely improve their operating kind however additionally they cut back the chance of pressure and harm. Versatile our bodies can adapt to the dynamic actions of operating a lot better than tight our bodies, making operating smoother and far more pleasant.

2. Bodily Steadiness and Stability

Yoga has improved my steadiness, stability, and proprioception which helps me to barter technical terrain on trails or uneven surfaces on the street and helps stop me from performing any unintended Pete Rose slides throughout a run (one of many few technical baseball phrases I gleaned in my transient little-league profession).

Poses like Tree Pose (Vrikshasana) and Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III) may help runners develop higher steadiness, stability, and proprioception. These poses additionally assist to strengthen the ankles and ft which helps to stop runners from rolling an ankle throughout a run which might curb a runner with a sprain or perhaps a break. 

3. Elevated Energy

Extra than simply flexibility, yoga can also be about energy, a shared profit for runners. With out fail, proper at about mile 20 of a marathon, the nagging thought invariably pops into my head, “I ought to have held Chair Pose (Utkatasana) and Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) a bit longer to construct up my quads and hamstrings.” Energy constructing poses reminiscent of these assist runners transfer ahead with much less fatigue and higher for. Operating once you’re weak results in poor kind and will increase the likelihood for accidents. 

Operating isn’t solely about decrease physique energy both; it’s really a full-body endeavor. One thing I like about yoga, and why it’s such a complement to different sports activities and types of motion, together with operating, is that yoga additionally advantages the complete physique. Poses like Plank Pose (Phalakasana), Decrease Pushup (Chaturanga Dandasana), and Downward Canine (Adho Mukha Svanasana) require the activation of a number of muscle tissues concurrently which has a direct profit for a full-bodied strategy to operating.

Yoga builds a powerful higher physique which is helpful to keep up correct posture throughout runs and forestall the higher physique from collapsing. Collapsing within the higher physique can result in inefficient respiratory and diminished efficiency. A robust and upright higher physique retains the lungs open and receptive to the breath.

Then there’s the core. A robust core is essential for sustaining stability whereas operating. Yoga poses  that interact the core and assist to construct energy on this space embody Boat Pose (Navasana), Crow Pose, (Bakasana) and Scale Pose (Tolasana). A robust and secure core additionally improves posture and prevents points like decrease again ache, which is frequent amongst runners.

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4. Higher Respiration Methods

Yoga’s emphasis on coordinating motion and breath helps runners profit drastically from studying to regulate their breath. Correct respiratory strategies for runners may help runners keep regular and energized throughout a run slightly than sucking wind so arduous that they see stars and should cease to catch their breath. Studying to breathe properly and effectively whereas holding poses in yoga may assist a runner improve their endurance and cut back fatigue. With an everyday yoga apply, runners can develop a deeper understanding of their breath and learn to synchronize it with their operating cadence.

Yogic respiratory workouts (aka pranayama) helps runners enhance their lung capability and oxygen consumption making vitality extra available and accessible to the required muscle tissues. Methods like deep stomach respiratory and ujjayi breath may even be utilized throughout runs to remain relaxed and energized, even and particularly when operating uphill.

The Psychological Advantages of Yoga for Runners

1. Physique/Thoughts Steadiness

Positive, operating requires energy, endurance, and psychological focus however, along with the advantage of bodily steadiness, yoga additionally taught me about balancing my body-mind connection which helped me be taught to work with my physique as a substitute of towards. This body-mind steadiness helps runners to enhance efficiency, stop accidents, and ensures a few years of joyful operating. 

The human will is commonly stronger than the human physique, particularly with endurance sports activities the place the misdirected motto is commonly, “No ache, no acquire.” However “pushing by the ache” whereas pounding the pavement or hitting the paths can take a severe toll on the physique, one that may even outweigh the bodily and psychological advantages of the game and might result in everlasting harm or burnout which in the end shortens the quantity of years a runner can benefit from the sport. 

Yoga taught me as a substitute to hearken to the fixed alerts my physique provides me throughout a run and helps me to work in tandem with it slightly than working towards it. When runners are in tune with their our bodies, they will make changes to their stride, posture, and gait throughout runs, decreasing the chance of overuse accidents. It additionally helps runners acknowledge when they should relaxation and get well, stopping burnout and overtraining. After I found yoga, my new motto turned, “No ache? I’m sport!” Later, I found coaching strategies such because the Maffetone Methodology which helps a gradual and regular means of constructing energy and velocity whereas coaching very comfortably throughout the physique’s limits. With a powerful mind-body connection, runners be taught to steadiness effort and ease (a main yoga directive) whereas operating which ends up in maximizing motion and minimizing effort, serving to runners maintain having fun with the game for a few years. 

2. Stress Discount

Sure, operating may be an unimaginable instrument to assist clear and middle your thoughts. A few of my biggest insights have come halfway by a long term. That is partially because of the quantity of oxygen circulate to the mind in addition to the various endorphins launched throughout operating. Yoga offers a worthwhile alternative for runners to commonly “get into the circulate,” a blissful psychological state that may typically be discovered whereas operating. Along with the lively postures, the meditative side of yoga encourages mindfulness and leisure which may be significantly useful for managing pre-race jitters, focus throughout a run, or post-run rigidity.

Plus, meditation and deep leisure practices reminiscent of Yoga Nidra (deeply stress-free guided meditation) can improve psychological resilience, increase confidence, and enhance total psychological well-being, which might positively impression a runner’s efficiency and delight of the game.

3. Enhanced Focus and Focus

Operating generally requires psychological toughness, focus and focus, particularly throughout lengthy coaching runs or races. Yoga cultivates psychological readability and focus by mindfulness and meditation practices. Making a rhythm along with your footsteps throughout a run can have the identical psychological impact as meditation and might put an individual right into a blissful state, the identical psychological state as a number of repetitions of a mantra or the rhythm of a sustained shamanic drum beat for a number of minutes. Plus, the flexibility to remain targeted on the current second is usually a game-changer for runners, permitting them to keep away from self-limiting beliefs or different psychological points that may act as a governor for efficiency. 

Typically, yoga incorporates Sankalpas or intentions which may help runners to set intentions and targets for his or her apply. This may translate right into a extra structured and purposeful strategy to operating. Whether or not it’s finishing a difficult path run or reaching a private greatest in a race, the psychological self-discipline cultivated by yoga may help runners keep motivated and dedicated, all of the whereas listening to the actual wants of their our bodies.

Stopping and Recovering from Accidents

Along with enhancing efficiency and psychological well-being, yoga is usually a worthwhile instrument for stopping and recovering from running-related accidents. Right here’s how:

1. Harm Prevention: Yoga helps appropriate muscle imbalances, enhance posture, and enhance flexibility, decreasing the chance of accidents reminiscent of IT band syndrome, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.

2. Rehabilitation: In case you’re recovering from an harm, yoga is usually a mild option to regain energy and adaptability within the affected areas whereas avoiding high-impact actions.

3. Lively Restoration: Mild yoga, Corpse Pose (Savasana), and Yoga Nidra may be integrated into your post-run routine to assist in muscle restoration, cut back soreness, and promote leisure.

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So, on the finish of the day, yoga and operating are fantastic enhances and the worth of yoga for runners is gigantic. By incorporating yoga right into a coaching routine, runners can reap a large number of bodily and psychological advantages that may improve operating efficiency and total well-being. From elevated flexibility and energy to improved steadiness and focus, yoga offers runners with a holistic, balanced strategy to coaching that may assist stop accidents and promote longevity within the sport.

Whether or not you’re a seasoned marathoner or a newbie trying to begin a operating journey, I invite you to combine yoga into your coaching routine. The synergy between yoga and operating can result in a more healthy, extra pleasant operating expertise, serving to you attain your health targets whereas staying injury-free and mentally resilient on the street or path. So, roll out your yoga mat and lace up your trainers—your physique and thoughts will thanks for it. 

Scott Moore

Scott Moore (E-RYT 500, YACEP, RYS) is an American-born worldwide yoga and Yoga Nidra instructor, mentor, and writer. He’s been a profession yoga instructor since 2003 and has logged over 25,000 instructing and coaching hours. He’s the founding father of Waking Up with the Yoga of Sleep, a technique of Yoga Nidra instruction and instructor coaching in addition to the writer of three books, Sensible Yoga Nidra, 5-Minute Manifesting Journal, and 20 Yoga Nidra Scripts Vol. 1. Scott teaches trainings, courses, and retreats within the US, Europe, and Asia and is at present dwelling in Southern France. When he’s not training or instructing yoga, he likes to play the sax and clarinet, path run, and journey together with his household. 

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