It’s another edition of Monthly Workouts for Runners BY Runners. Here’s the previous month’s workouts if you missed them:
This month the focus is on Yoga or Stretching for Runners.
You know I’m a huge fan of yoga. I fell in love with yoga 8 years ago but grew to love it even more when I realized how much it complimented my running. To me, the two are like peanut butter and jelly. You can’t have one without the other. A couple of months ago, it really it home when I pretty much didn’t do yoga at all. I felt it! My hips were aching. My calves were screaming. I felt like I shrunk 3 inches and I wasn’t breathing as well as I should be.
Now I’m back in the yoga/running groove and am feeling 1000 times better. All is right again.
Why should runners do yoga? Besides improving flexibility, easing aches and pains, and helping you recover from long runs and races faster, it just feels good! Seriously. You ask a lot of your body in running. Treat it to some good ol’ stretching and soothing with yoga.
I’d love to say that I devote a large chunk of time to stretch or do yoga after each workout. However, I’d be lying. Most days, I’m lucky if I can get 5-10 minutes in. Feeding my face, taking a shower, Mama duties and life in general become more of a priority. On days like that, I pull out my essential yoga poses. The ones that will target the hard working muscles that I know get tight.
Hold each of these stretches for 5 breaths and you’ll be done in 5 minutes. Feel free to hang out in Legs Up the Wall as long as you (can) want.
FYI – While I am a certified RRCA Running Coach, I am not your coach. Listen to your body and it’s limitations. Please check with your physician if you are new to exercise or have any questions regarding your health and exercise.
1) Rag Doll
This stretch is great for releasing tension in the entire upper body, straightens the spine and targets the hamstrings. If you have more time: Stay in forward fold, release the hands to the ground and cross right leg over left to target the IT Band. Repeat on opposite side.
2) Downward Facing Dog
Down dog is the best, no? I love it for stretching my calves, hammies, releasing tension in my lower back and neck. If you have more time: Take one leg off the ground, reaching it straight back and out. Bend that knee and open your hips for a more intense stretch in Three-Legged Dog.
3) Runner’s Lunge
Of course, a runner needs to be doing the Runner’s Lunge, right? This stretches the groin and the hip flexors.
4) Figure 4
Hit the pesky Piriformis muscles and loosen up the low back with this stretch. It’s a great alternative to the runner’s favorite pose, Pigeon, especially if you have knee problems.
5) Legs Up a Wall
Get the blood flowing to parts of the body that need it, restore tired feet and legs, stretch the back of the neck, front torso, and back of the legs with this simple yoga pose. Basically, it targets everything that just worked hard during your run!
And here are even more Yoga and Stretching Workouts from 5 of my running friends. Click on the picture to take you to their workout. And don’t forget to Pin away so you have a stash of workouts on hand whenever you need it.