Why should runners do yoga?
Yoga and running. Two totally different disciplines. What could they ever have in common. More than you’d think!
Yoga will help lengthen tight muscles and will also help to strengthen the core, feet and ankles while improving your posture.It also helps you breath more efficiently and can help you overcome some of the mental challenges that runners undoubtedly face.
Specific muscle groups tend to be over worked while you run due to the repetitive nature of a runners movement. Muscles like the hamstrings, hip flexors and calves can be affected. Also the stabilising muscles of the outer hip and thigh, including the often iliotibial (IT) band. Yoga helps lengthens these tight muscles. It can help speed up recovery and improve your range of motion.
All runners will have hit the dreaded “wall” at some stage. This is the place where you are having some serious internal arguments with yourself about whether you should keep going or just give up, stop and have a cry. Yoga can help you develop mind tricks that will keep you focused, positive and present. You won’t just climb the walk you’ll run through it!
Here’s 3 yoga moves that all runners can use
1) Downward-Facing Dog
Instructions: Start on hands and knees. Place your palms a handprint’s distance in front of your shoulders. Tuck your toes under and lift knees off floor. Pull your hips up and back away from your hands. Keep knees bent and focus on lengthening your torso — press down into your hands, pull up on your arms — then shift your weight onto your legs. Without losing that sense of direction or length in your torso, begin to lift thighs up as you reach your heels back and down, which will straighten your knees. Engage your quads by pulling your kneecaps up. Hold for five to 10 breaths. Lightly lower both knees back to floor.
Benefits: Down Dog stretches the hamstrings and calves, and creates length in the spine.
2)Bound Angle Pose
Instructions: Sitting on floor, bend your knees and touch soles of your feet together. Start by placing your hands behind you for support, lengthening your spine up toward ceiling. If your knees are high off floor, or if you feel like your tailbone is being pulled underneath you, try sitting on a folded blanket. Think about spreading your inner thighs open toward inner knees, and imagine drawing outer knees toward outer hips. Place your hands on your ankles and hinge forward over your feet. Hold for five to 10 breaths. Come back up to sitting and use your hands to close your knees together.
Benefits: Bound Angle is great for opening the inner thighs.
3)Reclined Pyramid Pose
Instructions: Lie on your back and your put right foot in a yoga strap (use the tie to a robe or a towel if you don’t have one). Keep your left leg on the floor and raise the right leg with foot in strap. Walk your arms up strap until arms are straight, then pull arms back into their sockets to gently stretch (not yank!) your right leg. Repeat with left leg in strap.
Benefits: This will open your hamstrings and calves without straining your lower back.
If you are interested in learning more about proper stretching techniques for running you can Join Ciarán Aherne, our experienced Physical Therapist, who will take you through his runners working shop this Saturday 27th February 2016.