These yoga moves for runners will help you stretch and release the muscles most affected by running to recover faster and run longer.
Running is an excellent source of cardio that will boost your heart rate and help build lean, strong muscles in your body. Despite all of its benefits, it’s important to remember that running can also put intense pressure on your lower limbs. This can pose risks to our knees, hips, shins, hamstrings and IT bands. Practicing these yoga moves daily will open up key muscles in your body, which can lead to faster recovery and injury prevention while running.
Also called runner’s lunge, this move stretches out the quads and hamstrings, and opens up the hips, all areas that can become extremely tight for runners. To do this stretch, get into a plank position with your arms extended. Bend your knee to bring your right foot to the outside of your right hand. If you would like to make the stretch more intense you can drop onto your forearms. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and switch legs. Repeat as many times as needed.
This pose will not only open up your hamstrings, one of the most common sore spots for runners, but it will also stretch your calf muscles, arms and upper back. While these stretches focus on the lower limbs it’s important to remember to stretch the whole body. To get into downward dog get into a plank position with arms extended. Then push your hips up and back and your heels down to the ground so you are in an upside-down v shape. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, or however long feels necessary.
This pose will lengthen and open your hips and hamstrings, two areas that can get really tight from running. To get into this position, start with your right foot forward, your right knee bent to a 90-degree angle, and your left foot about three feet behind you with your hips squared to the left. Straighten your front leg, reach your right arm forward and then hinge toward the ground, bending sideways at the hip so your front arm is parallel to your shin and your left arm is reaching to the ceiling. If this pose is too intense you can rest your right hand on a yoga block. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and switch sides.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold
This move is great for stretching and strengthening your inner and back legs, both important aspects for running. To get into this position start with your feet 1 to 2 inches wider than your hips and parallel to each other. Place your hands on your hips and slowly bring your torso to the ground, remembering to keep your legs and back straight. Allow your arms to dangle or grab the opposite elbow with each hand, and hold for 30 to 45 seconds.
Whether you’re trying to finish a 5K or go for your first marathon, these poses will help stretch and strengthen the areas that need it most while keeping you agile and healthy so you can hit all of your running goals. Practice these yoga stretches for runners as often as possible to get the best results.