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Yoga for Runners
Before I ever found yoga, I “found” running. Why do I say “found’” running? Afterall, most people who can learn to walk, learn to run soon after. It’s not really about finding anything because it’s quite intuitive as a human being to run. However, when I started running around the age 13, I was lucky enough to find so much more than an intuitive exercise....
I found a sense of calm.
I found a sense of control (something I was very much needing at the time).
I found a sense of accomplishment.
I found a healthy outlet.
I found a strength I didn’t know I had or even wanted.
Looking back, I realize that not only was I struggling with normal teenage hormones and family issues; but, I was dealing with my first real understanding of anxiety and searching for a way to take control of it. Thankfully, it was running that I found and not another unhealthy outlet.
Like any sport, running can cause injuries. I have dealt with many through the years: stress fractures, shin splints, pulled muscles, plantar fasciitis, low back pain, and even shoulder pain. These injuries were one reason I started to think about beginning a yoga practice and, since I started practicing yoga, my injuries have lessened (knock on wood).
Yoga helps runners with flexibility, strength and can assist in the mental-focus they need during races and long runs. However, many runners, especially long distance runners, find it challenging to find time to practice yoga. This is something I,too, have struggled with throughout the years.
How do you find the time to run and practice yoga?
Balance. Just like anything else in life, you have to find the balance that works for you. And, Just like anything else you want in life, you have to make the time. Maybe that means getting up 20 minutes earlier? Maybe that means starting with some simple yoga poses while you are watching your favorite TV show? Interesting fact: “The average American spent 2 ½ hours on social media in 2019”…. Surely, we can find time for a little yoga;)
Personally, I have found that on my “long run” days, a short slower practice concentrating on hip and hamstring openers feels fantastic. The rest of my week includes a tempo run and a sprint day with a 45-60 minute Vinyasa class, 3 yoga days and a rest day. This is what works for me… a runner who tries to incorporate yoga daily and isn’t currently training for a race. Your balance could look completely different and that’s OK.
What yoga class is best for runners?
I often get this question and, unfortunately, there is no perfect answer. Many runners tend to be a “type A personality,” they like to move, and they want a workout. So, while their body could benefit from a gentle class or a yin class, their minds may not be able to tolerate the slower classes and this can lead to frustration. There is no style of yoga that is perfect for every runner. It is best for a runner to try different classes and see what fits into their current training schedule. For instance, If a person is currently training for a marathon, I would suggest a slower paced class maybe just once or twice a week. If a runner isn’t currently training, I’d push them towards more challenging classes to build their strength.
Runner or not, If you are confused as to where to start, always feel free to call or email our studio. Our instructors are always available to guide you into the class that would best fit you and your practice! I also included a short post-run yoga video to help get you started!
Click Here for Video: