Most runners tend to only run, believing more miles equals better running. This is not the case. Vinyasa yoga instructor Kylie Pearsall explains how Yoga can be a powerful tool for runners.
More running leads to more repetitive stresses on the same joints and muscles over and over again for more and more miles – this can lead to injury, especially if loads are increased too quickly.
Yoga can help.
Yoga works all the angles
Running is a repetitive straight line motion resulting in the same joints and muscles being loaded – yoga moves you through all the planes of movement available in the body, lessening the repetitive stress and unloading areas of tightness.
Yoga can be conditioning
Depending on the style of yoga, yoga can be a form of strength and conditioning training. Because we practice barefoot, the feet are strengthened – this is critical for runners. The standing sequences of warrior and lunge shapes also strengthen the legs and hips, balancing poses improve pelvic stability and core control.
Yoga opens the hips
Again depending on the style of yoga class you choose, there will usually be some form of hip opening shapes included in the practice, this helps your running by maintaining or improving the flexibility of your hips, increasing stride length and preventing injury.
Which type of yoga should I do?
Ideally for runners, a combination of power vinyasa for conditioning and yin yoga for flexibility, recover and injury prevention. Two to three sessions per week is ideal, many runners underestimate the need for recovery and cross training but once they start feeling the benefits, two to three sessions of yoga per week seems ideal.
Should I run before or after yoga?
Either is fine, often after an opening practice, running feels more fluid and easier, doing a practice straight after a run can lead to more flexibility and the body temperature is raised before coming to the mat. Of course, if you’ve just done a hard running session, fatigue may be an issue, perhaps a yin practice after harder sessions would be the way to go.
Implement some yoga sessions into your next running program and watch your running performance improve exponentially!