Do you love that endorphin high you get from running? I sure do. There’s nothing better than that feeling after a long run (and then eating ASAP). If you’re like me, you’ll try pretty much anything to make every run feel great. Cross-training, proper nutrition and hydration are all necessary – but did you know yoga can help you be better at running, too?
Stretching is crucial for lengthening tight running muscles. I have been doing yoga for a few years along with running and other cross-training and I’ve come to really look forward to my weekly yoga sesh. Yoga opens the hips, strengthens leg muscles and sculpts the body, and certain poses stretch and strengthen areas that I can’t get to with any other kind of training (see Pigeon Pose). Here are 3 ways yoga can help you be better at running:
1) Increases flexibility. This one might seem like a given, but being more flexible can decrease injuries during races and training. Yoga can help you be better at running by opening your tight back, leg and hip muscles that are often pulled or strained. When they’re more open, the less likely they are to get pulled.
2) Helps you breathe. Yoga focuses on deep breathing and connecting movements to your breath. This practice can help you be better at running when it comes to sprinting, pesky hills, or weather you aren’t used to.
3) Challenges you. Yoga is both mentally and physically challenging. I actually have a very hard time sitting still and yoga forces me to clear my mind and focus on only what I’m doing at that moment. Yoga can help you be better at running in that it helps you practice being in the moment and overcoming the particular challenge or pose at hand – which really comes in handy when you’re at mile 20 and want to give up.
I haven’t tried any yet, but there are lots of DVD’s specifically for runners if you’re interested in doing yoga at home. I did a little research and found that Christine Felstead’s Yoga For Runners DVD has great reviews. Has anyone tried this or another Yoga DVD before?
How does yoga help you be a better runner?