HomeFitnessYoga For Runners: Run Better, Injury Free

Yoga For Runners: Run Better, Injury Free

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This entry was posted on Oct 19, 2023 by Scott Moore.


Rising up, I used to be by no means very athletic. I by no means actually loved workforce sports activities. I used to be common at baseball, soccer, and basketball—scrawny and uncoordinated. I didn’t even trouble to check out for soccer. 

However early on, I found a love for working and have been working most of my life. I discovered pleasure in working, not in working the quickest or the longest however fairly simply within the working itself. For me, the enjoyment comes from the solitude of a long term and from the full-body motion of working, particularly once I handle a snug and sustainable tempo. Operating additionally clears my thoughts and sometimes even feels religious to me. Rising up, I by no means felt higher than throughout and after a long term, particularly a path run.

That’s, till I found yoga. 

After I began training yoga in my early 20s I used to be excited to find one other exercise that wasn’t a aggressive sport and likewise left me feeling pretty much as good in physique, thoughts, and spirit the way in which working did. However once I informed my yoga associates that along with training yoga I additionally loved working, they’d usually increase their eyebrows above their bindi and matter-of-factly inform me that yoga and working simply don’t combine. But as somebody who does each I urge to vary. Quite the opposite, yoga has improved my working and has saved me working nicely and largely injury-free for many years. 

In some ways working has improved my yoga follow by giving me extra stamina, focus, and breath capability. Nonetheless, on this article I need to discover a few of the many ways in which yoga can profit runners and the way incorporating yoga into your coaching routine could make a big distinction in your enjoyment, efficiency, and longevity of your working.

The Bodily Advantages of Yoga for Runners

1. Higher Flexibility

One of many largest advantages of yoga for runners is best flexibility. Operating primarily includes repetitive actions in a ahead course which nearly at all times results in tight muscular tissues. Tight muscular tissues contribute to decreased vary of movement which implies that the tighter a runner’s muscular tissues get, the extra effort they’ve to make use of to make their physique transfer. Yoga postures stretch and lengthen muscular tissues and assist runners get pleasure from higher flexibility and mobility, a profit that seems like  lastly, somebody has launched the parking brake in your working. 

Operating tightens particular muscle teams such because the hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves (at all times my nemesis). I preserve flexibility and freedom in these muscle teams with poses like Downdog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Kneeling Lunge (Anjaneyasana), and Pigeon (Kapotasana) or Determine 4 Stretch. By maintaining the physique limber, runners not solely improve their working type however in addition they scale back the danger of pressure and harm. Versatile our bodies can adapt to the dynamic actions of working significantly better than tight our bodies, making working smoother and rather more gratifying.

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2. Bodily Steadiness and Stability

Yoga has improved my steadiness, stability, and proprioception which helps me to barter technical terrain on trails or uneven surfaces on the street and helps stop me from performing any unintended Pete Rose slides throughout a run (one of many few technical baseball phrases I gleaned in my transient little-league profession).

Poses like Tree Pose (Vrikshasana) and Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III) will help runners develop higher steadiness, stability, and proprioception. These poses additionally assist to strengthen the ankles and ft which helps to forestall runners from rolling an ankle throughout a run which may curb a runner with a sprain or perhaps a break. 

3. Elevated Power

Extra than simply flexibility, yoga can also be about energy, a shared profit for runners. With out fail, proper at about mile 20 of a marathon, the nagging thought invariably pops into my head, “I ought to have held Chair Pose (Utkatasana) and Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) a bit longer to construct up my quads and hamstrings.” Power constructing poses resembling these assist runners transfer ahead with much less fatigue and higher for. Operating while you’re weak results in poor type and will increase the likelihood for accidents. 

Operating isn’t solely about decrease physique energy both; it’s really a full-body endeavor. One thing I like about yoga, and why it’s such a complement to different sports activities and types of motion, together with working, is that yoga additionally advantages the complete physique. Poses like Plank Pose (Phalakasana), Decrease Pushup (Chaturanga Dandasana), and Downward Canine (Adho Mukha Svanasana) require the activation of a number of muscular tissues concurrently which has a direct profit for a full-bodied strategy to working.

Yoga builds a robust higher physique which is helpful to take care of correct posture throughout runs and forestall the higher physique from collapsing. Collapsing within the higher physique can result in inefficient respiratory and decreased efficiency. A robust and upright higher physique retains the lungs open and receptive to the breath.

Then there’s the core. A robust core is essential for sustaining stability whereas working. Yoga poses  that interact the core and assist to construct energy on this space embody Boat Pose (Navasana), Crow Pose, (Bakasana) and Scale Pose (Tolasana). A robust and steady core additionally improves posture and prevents points like decrease again ache, which is frequent amongst runners.

4. Higher Respiratory Methods

Yoga’s emphasis on coordinating motion and breath helps runners profit enormously from studying to manage their breath. Correct respiratory methods for runners will help runners keep regular and energized all over a run fairly than sucking wind so onerous that they see stars and should cease to catch their breath. Studying to breathe nicely and effectively whereas holding poses in yoga can even assist a runner improve their endurance and scale back fatigue. With an everyday yoga follow, runners can develop a deeper understanding of their breath and learn to synchronize it with their working cadence.

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Yogic respiratory workouts (aka pranayama) helps runners enhance their lung capability and oxygen consumption making power extra available and accessible to the mandatory muscular tissues. Methods like deep stomach respiratory and ujjayi breath may even be utilized throughout runs to remain relaxed and energized, even and particularly when working uphill.

The Psychological Advantages of Yoga for Runners

1. Physique/Thoughts Steadiness

Certain, working requires energy, endurance, and psychological focus however, along with the good thing about bodily steadiness, yoga additionally taught me about balancing my body-mind connection which helped me be taught to work with my physique as an alternative of in opposition to. This body-mind steadiness helps runners to enhance efficiency, stop accidents, and ensures a few years of joyful working. 

The human will is commonly stronger than the human physique, particularly with endurance sports activities the place the misdirected motto is commonly, “No ache, no achieve.” However “pushing by means of the ache” whereas pounding the pavement or hitting the paths can take a critical toll on the physique, one that may even outweigh the bodily and psychological advantages of the game and might result in everlasting harm or burnout which finally shortens the quantity of years a runner can benefit from the sport. 

Yoga taught me as an alternative to take heed to the fixed alerts my physique provides me throughout a run and helps me to work in tandem with it fairly than working in opposition to it. When runners are in tune with their our bodies, they’ll make changes to their stride, posture, and gait throughout runs, lowering the danger of overuse accidents. It additionally helps runners acknowledge when they should relaxation and get better, stopping burnout and overtraining. After I found yoga, my new motto grew to become, “No ache? I’m recreation!” Later, I found coaching strategies such because the Maffetone Technique which helps a sluggish and regular approach of constructing energy and velocity whereas coaching very comfortably inside the physique’s limits. With a robust mind-body connection, runners be taught to steadiness effort and ease (a major yoga directive) whereas working which ends up in maximizing motion and minimizing effort, serving to runners preserve having fun with the game for a few years. 

2. Stress Discount

Sure, working may be an unbelievable software to assist clear and heart your thoughts. A few of my biggest insights have come halfway by means of a long term. That is partially because of the quantity of oxygen stream to the mind in addition to the numerous endorphins launched throughout working. Yoga offers a invaluable alternative for runners to repeatedly “get into the stream,” a blissful psychological state that may usually be discovered whereas working. Along with the lively postures, the meditative side of yoga encourages mindfulness and rest which may be significantly useful for managing pre-race jitters, focus throughout a run, or post-run pressure.

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Plus, meditation and deep rest practices resembling Yoga Nidra (deeply enjoyable guided meditation) can improve psychological resilience, increase confidence, and enhance general psychological well-being, which may positively affect a runner’s efficiency and pleasure of the game.

3. Enhanced Focus and Focus

Operating typically requires psychological toughness, focus and focus, particularly throughout lengthy coaching runs or races. Yoga cultivates psychological readability and focus by means of mindfulness and meditation practices. Making a rhythm together with your footsteps throughout a run can have the identical psychological impact as meditation and might put an individual right into a blissful state, the identical psychological state as a number of repetitions of a mantra or the rhythm of a sustained shamanic drum beat for a number of minutes. Plus, the power to remain targeted on the current second is usually a game-changer for runners, permitting them to keep away from self-limiting beliefs or different psychological points that may act as a governor for efficiency. 

Usually, yoga incorporates Sankalpas or intentions which will help runners to set intentions and objectives for his or her follow. This could translate right into a extra structured and purposeful strategy to working. Whether or not it’s finishing a difficult path run or reaching a private finest in a race, the psychological self-discipline cultivated by means of yoga will help runners keep motivated and dedicated, all of the whereas listening to the true wants of their our bodies.

Stopping and Recovering from Accidents

Along with enhancing efficiency and psychological well-being, yoga is usually a invaluable software for stopping and recovering from running-related accidents. Right here’s how:

1. Harm Prevention: Yoga helps right muscle imbalances, enhance posture, and improve flexibility, lowering the danger of accidents resembling IT band syndrome, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.

2. Rehabilitation: Should you’re recovering from an harm, yoga is usually a mild solution to regain energy and suppleness within the affected areas whereas avoiding high-impact actions.

3. Lively Restoration: Light yoga, Corpse Pose (Savasana), and Yoga Nidra may be integrated into your post-run routine to assist in muscle restoration, scale back soreness, and promote rest.


So, on the finish of the day, yoga and working are fantastic enhances and the worth of yoga for runners is big. By incorporating yoga right into a coaching routine, runners can reap a mess of bodily and psychological advantages that may improve working efficiency and general well-being. From elevated flexibility and energy to improved steadiness and focus, yoga offers runners with a holistic, balanced strategy to coaching that may assist stop accidents and promote longevity within the sport.

Whether or not you’re a seasoned marathoner or a newbie trying to begin a working journey, I invite you to combine yoga into your coaching routine. The synergy between yoga and working can result in a more healthy, extra gratifying working expertise, serving to you attain your health objectives whereas staying injury-free and mentally resilient on the street or path. So, roll out your yoga mat and lace up your trainers—your physique and thoughts will thanks for it. 

Scott’s On-line Lessons: Waking Up with the Yoga of Sleep
Scott’s Books: Sensible Yoga Nidra, 5-Minute Manifesting Journal, 20 Yoga Nidra Scripts Vol. 1.

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