fitness fusion: yoga for runners

in the wonderful world of fitness, there tends to be at least some symbiosis between different activities, for which I am totally grateful. Once you start loving certain things, they all seem to flow together effortlessly, and  maybe in some cases it’s only because you are pursuing these things so wholeheartedly that they cannot help but fuse; but in other cases, the connection is incredibly and undeniably clear (paddleboard yoga, for example). Either way, it makes everything so much more exciting when all of the ways that you love to be active can blend together to make one awesome, incredible life. Someone asked me the other day what my favorite way to sweat was, and my immediate response was “runningbutclimbingandabsolutelyyogaplusnowpaddleboarding.” Definitely all one word.

With that being said, and in honor of yesterday’s Boston Marathon, I wanted to take a moment to explore the fusion between yoga and running by looking at some of the best yoga poses for runners! So if you were one of the incredible 26.2-ers from yesterday, or if you spent your sunny Monday getting in some milage of your own, here are a few great ways to work it all out on your mat:

1. Crescent Lunge – I know this one is always a little bit of a struggle for me, because everything in my legs usually hurts a little bit from running, but stick with this beauty even through the pain, because  it is  truly a wonderful hip, calf, and hamstring stretch.

2. Downward Dog – my post-run paradise. This pose helps to stretch out and strengthen everything in your leg that gets so tight from running, which will actually help prevent common running injuries later on (shin splints, IT band issues, etc.)

3. Pigeon Pose – a lot of the time, runners will suffer from overuse injuries, because of the repetition of one type of movement for a long period of time. If you’re doing this constant motion with tight hip flexors, your body will look to other joints to balance the load, even when they were not meant to do so. SO. If you put in a little extra time on your mat really focusing on opening your hips, it will help train your body to put the pressure where it was meant to be when you’re running, and ultimately lead to a much better run, and much fewer injuries!

4. Pyramid Pose – this is a phenomenal hamstring stretch, which is  such a necessary undertaking for active runners. When your hamstrings are too tight, it changes the angle in which your pelvis tilts, which in turn adds a lot more stress on your back. Well-stretched hamstrings will not only keep your legs flexible, but will help keep your back aligned and strong.

5. Triangle Pose – two words: hamstring. stretch. Get on it.

6. Chair Pose – big ow, especially for runners. I can feel my glutes burn even as I type the words. But such a helpful pose, as it’s working to strengthen not only those leg muscles we need for a solid run, but the core muscles to help us run properly, and therefore avoid injury.

7. Hero Pose – the motion and bending of running puts a lot of stretch and strain on your psoas muscle, which tightens it up and allows for poor posture. Hero pose stretches out your psoas muscle, working to counteract this tightness.

8. Forward Fold – don’t have the time or space for any of these other fancy moves? That’s fine. Sometimes, a simple forward fold is all you need to stretch everything out, and to heal and re-center your body and your breath.

 

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