I used to be really flexible thanks to years of dance classes and gymnastics as a child. That all changed when I hit 30 – I’m not sure what happened – it’s probably just my age, but I’m going to blame all this running.
I do stretch after a long run, probably not as thoroughly as I should, I usually do it waiting for the kettle to boil as I’m making myself a post-run brew.
My legs seem to be getting tighter and tighter lately. I’ve heard a lot about how great yoga is for runners. As well as providing that all important stretching routine into your training plan, it strengthens the core muscles, quads and hamstrings.
I’m a big fan of Yoga with Adriene on Youtube, she has a specific routine for runners, which I tend to follow on a Monday morning (link here), but sometimes I want an instructor present.
Yoga is a fantastic complement to running, especially as you’ve noticed changes in your flexibility and tightness in your legs over the years.
Here are some reasons why yoga is great for runners:
Improved Flexibility: Yoga helps restore and enhance your flexibility. Running can tighten muscles over time, Yoga can aid in loosening muscles and connective tissues, making it easier for runners to maintain or regain flexibility.
Incorporating Stretching into Routine: While you mentioned stretching after your runs, yoga provides a structured and comprehensive stretching routine. It ensures that you address various muscle groups and promote balanced flexibility, reducing the risk of injury.
Core Strengthening: Yoga emphasises core engagement and stability, which is vital for runners. A strong core improves posture, running form, and overall body control, enhancing your performance and preventing injuries.
Quads and Hamstrings: Yoga poses, such as lunges, downward dog, and forward bends, target the quadriceps and hamstrings. These poses can help alleviate the tightness you’ve been experiencing in your legs due to running.
Balance and Control: Yoga enhances your balance and control, which can translate into improved stability during runs, especially on uneven terrain. It can also help you develop better proprioception, the awareness of your body’s position in space.
Stress Reduction and Relaxation: Yoga not only benefits the body but also the mind. The relaxation and mindfulness aspects of yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety, allowing you to approach your runs with a calmer and more focused mindset.
Better Sleep: After a yoga class I am so zen I sleep like a baby. Improved sleep quality can aid in recovery, which is crucial for runners to perform at their best.
Variety and Motivation: Incorporating different forms of yoga, such as Hot Yoga, adds variety to your training routine, keeping things interesting and motivating. Having an instructor can provide guidance and ensure proper form.