Runners are well-conditioned, strong athletes—and that’s across the board from sprinters to marathoners. However, that same repetitive running motion can also compress joints and stresses the body. Not only do these two disciplines counteract the other, but yoga is critical in helping runners build upper body strength and prevent injury, too.
Interestingly, yoga is also able to help show runners where they have any muscle imbalances and and weaknesses in the body. “Unlike running, which favors the larger, more dominant muscle groups like the quads, glutes and hamstrings, many yoga poses have you actively recruit smaller, often ignored muscle groups,” says Laurenn Cutshaw, VP of Marketing and Branding for Yoga Six in San Diego. We spoke to Cutshaw, along with Yoga Instructor and Endurance Sports Coach Sage Rountree and Yoga Instructor and Lycored Brand Ambassador Kristin McGee for the best yoga poses for runners. Try these moves after your next run, and aim to do them all at least three times a week.
We've run with a lot of people over the years who put down 15 miles and then eat an egg sandwich, skip the stretching, and go about their day. That's fine, they've earned it. But it's a lot like lifting weights and then skipping the recovery shake: We're not achieving the full benefits of the exercise if we don't recover properly.
The Supported Fish is an ideal pose for recovery. It's also very easy. Just lay down on your back, reclining over a rolled blanket. Stay there for 20 breaths or more. This stretches out the chest and encourages deep breaths.
Benefits: Helps with recovery and relieves tension.
Credit: "The Runner's Guide to Yoga," by Sage Rountree (VeloPress, 2012)