Yoga isn’t all about mastering those postures, keeping up a regular practice could be the vital component you are missing in your training schedule to get that personal best.
However, if you aren’t a competitive runner, nothing can be more encouraging then seeing your flexibility, strength and speed improve on your runs, which can result in being the motivation you need to stick with it.
Yoga is beneficial because generally during a practice or a class, the key poses that you will do address areas of the body that you are most likely overusing when running and those areas most prone to injury.
I can only write from personal experience, but a consistent yoga practice has changed my running performance dramatically.
As a very active person, I enjoy all sports. I’ve always loved running and it was only a few years ago that I decided to take it more seriously. At one point, I was running about 5 times a week while doing other sports as well; my running routine generally consisted of a couple of sprint sessions, one long run between 9-11 miles and a couple of shorter runs between 4-6 miles.
It’s all very well training hard on a run, but in order to improve and reduce risk of an injury you also have to take responsibility to look after your body pre and post run.
At this time, I really did not take this advice seriously enough and after completing a half marathon last October, I began to develop serious pain in my left kneecap. Which led me to have to reduce my running dramatically, to the point where I couldn’t run for about 4 months.
Everyone suggested that yoga could help.
At the beginning, I wasn’t sure about it as I had tried classes before and felt it wasn’t for me. I love sweaty, high intensity sports and felt yoga didn’t bring the same joy I felt after every workout or run I did. However, this was my experience before I found Vinyasa. Vinyasa Flow is a dynamic practice of yoga where you move consistently from one pose to the next. This can be an intense workout and I’m not one to say this lightly- especially when the room is heated, you will definitely sweat.
Yoga has completely transformed my life and running. Physical changes like my strength, especially in my core and arms and a dramatic improvement in flexibility have changed my approach to running and my technique. My stride is longer, as is my posture.
Another aspect of yoga, which I didn’t perceive would have such an effect, is the ability to calm the mind. This ability I feel I have developed in my practice has seriously helped during runs to focus and be present which has really helped me to improve as well.
There are many ways to incorporate yoga into your running routine.
- You could use it as a warm up or cool down sequence before a run.
- Alternatively, you could add a class into your week- maybe a dynamic class like a strong vinyasa flow or a more restorative class to allow your body to unwind, maybe a yin class.
I find these are great to attend at the end of the week to heal the battle scars of running.
Don’t underestimate the power of yoga, it could be exactly what you need, so have a go, and find that stillness in motion.
Written by: Isabelle Josephs