Running the Final Stretch: Yoga Techniques for Runners

Yoga for RunningRunning the Final Stretch: Yoga Techniques for Runners
by: Yogi Jenna Marasco

Whether you’re gearing up for the next RunTex 5k or you’re just jogging to get blood flowing you can reach peak performance by bending and stretching your way through specific leg techniques.

Let a simple yoga practice routine warm up your tight muscles. Flexibility enhances strength, and strength improves everything from speed and running form to increasing your endurance and decreasing recovery time after your run.

Run with flexibility by adding these three basic 1stretches to your warm-up routine:

Yoga for Running1. Uttanasana:
Begin with a forward fold, thereby stretching the entire back of the leg, along with strengthening the thighs and knees. (Target Muscles – Calves & Hamstrings

Yoga for Running2. High Lunge:
Step back with one leg into a deep lunge, pushing through the back heel. This pose will help stretch your entire leg, while strengthening your quadriceps. (Target Muscles – Ankles, Calves, Thighs, & Groin)

Yoga for Running3. Adho Mukha Svanasana:
Shifting both feet back we move into the infamous downward- facing dog pose. (Target Muscles – Hamstrings, Calves, & Arches)

As an added bonus, building up strength through flexibility (particularly in the quadriceps) helps protect the knees from joint strain. Strengthening your quadriceps is very important in supporting the knee joint as well.

The benefits of supplementing your running routine with yoga exercise sessions are found in the parallels of both disciplines. The two body movements have more in common than just being physical – they each provide mental stimulation as well. We have all heard of the “runner’s high.” Yoga also offers a mental element that can enhance your runner’s zone.

In running, we are focused on our feet pounding against the ground beneath us – putting one foot in front of the next – allowing us to slip into a zone similar to meditation. Yoga naturally trains our mind to eliminate external as well as internal distractions through proper breathing techniques. This mental focus guides us to run in the present moment and fully embrace the feeling of the runner’s high.