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Is Yoga Good For Marathon Training

How These Five Moves Help Your Body

Yoga for Runners with Traci Copeland | Good Moves | Well Good
  • Downward facing dog When you run, your hamstrings get shorter and tighter. If this tightness is not corrected over time, it can lead to issues in your tissues like lower back problems. Downward facing dog stretches the whole back line of your body, creating more space in the backs of your legs/hamstrings and strengthening and stretching your ankles/feet.

  • Low lunge with clasp We spend so much of our time sitting down these days. This contracts the tissues at the front of our hips, and running exacerbates this contraction. A low lunge is a fantastic way to open up through the front of the hips, creating more mobility and ease of movement. Clasping your hands behind your back, drawing the shoulders back and lifting the heart further opens up the front line of the body and improves your breathing capacity.

  • Hamstring stretch This is another hamstring opener, and has the same benefits as the pose above. The more mobility you create in your body, the easier it is to move and run.

  • Pigeon pose Sitting and running can also exacerbate lower back and glute issues. If you dont regularly stretch the area out, then tightness in your glutes can lead to lower back issues, sciatica and piriformis syndrome. Pigeon pose will help to loosen things up.

  • Cobblers pose This pose works the tissues in the inside of your legs, as well as your lower back and hips, to create more space.

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    Running Improves Your Cardiovascular Fitness

    For those whose main sport is yoga, their cardiovascular system could benefit from being strengthened by having a running routine.;

    Running is notoriously a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness.;

    Having good levels of cardiovascular fitness certainly helps when it comes to longer, more dynamic yoga practices.

    It is common for yogis to majorly increase their heart rate and work up a real sweat during their practice, and not uncommon to have to take a breather mid-practice.;

    Why You Should Add Yoga To Your Marathon Training

    These days, it seems more and more marathon runners are recognizing;yoga as a great way to complement their intense training programs. And the love isnt limited to runners, either: Yoga is the most popular form of group exercise across all age groups, according to a 2019 report;from MINDBODY.

    Theres been a shift in the last couple of years where now its less talking about what is and more about how yoga can support you from a cross-training perspective, says Heather Peterson, yoga instructor and chief yoga officer for CorePower Yoga.

    If you havent already made yoga part of your training plan, now is the time. Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from incorporating yoga into your running routine:

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    Different Types Of Yoga For Runners

    The letting go piece is a big part of keeping our cortisol from being too high and a detriment to progress.

    • Restorative Yoga This is a great way to help your nervous system relax and tell your body it doesnt need to be so stressed.
    • Yin Yoga Great for improving mobility and also with the slower pace, allows the body to let go of stress.
    • Hot Yoga This is not my favorite option for runners because you often over stretch, which can indeed lead to issues in your running.
    • Athletic Yoga These workouts are designed to build strength and a great option during times of less running or once a week not on a recovery day.

    What You Need To Get Started With Yoga

    Here are the Top Four Yoga Poses for Runners

    One of the beauties of yoga;is that you dont need much in the way of equipment, especially if youre practicing at a studio. The studio will have or rent yoga mats, and provide anything else the teacher may wish to use.

    But if you plan to practice on your own at home, there are a few things you may need.

    I asked Katie for a list:

    1. Mat: My favorites are Jade or Manduka mats, but cheaper mats work just fine, especially in the beginning.

    2. Blocks: Important for the not-so-flexible runners in need of extra support.

    3. Blanket: As a tool for supporting tight areas in certain poses.

    4. Strap: Used to hold certain poses and maintain proper alignment.

    Theres also plenty of yoga-specific clothing, but running clothes typically work just fine unless the stretchy yoga materials make you feel more comfortable. Women may also want yoga pants to cover up certain areas of our body, but Doug always sticks with his running shorts.

    Read Also: How To Do Yoga With Bad Wrists

    Can Yoga Help You Train For A Marathon

    How changing your mindset can improve your runs.

    As a marathon runner and a returning yogi, I sometimes wonder exactly how to capture and grow the peace that comes from practicing yoga. I yearn to incorporate this feeling into my;running. But while Im slowly starting to figure out how, the slow factor feels frustrating.

    Maybe thats the lesson I need to learn: Not everything needs to be rushed.

    All the same, as I train for my second full marathon, I continue to work toward that feeling, that state of being. It helps, of course, that Im actively practicing yoga once again. Last week I attended a class in the morning and ran seven miles in the evening; I felt blissful. Exhausted, of course, but blissed-out.

    This past and current week, I considered the things I can and am doing differently with my marathon training. For one, by incorporating yoga into my routine, I feel much calmer, and I carry that feeling along the many miles.

    But what else?

    A personal challenge: to stop listening to music while I run. Its new. I used to rely heavily on music to get through even the shortest of runs. I didnt rely on the tempo as much as I relied on the distraction. Yes, running can hurt at times, but if you can giggle along to Timber during mile 20, you can pull through the pain.

    The Mental Benefits Of Yoga Can Help You Stay Focused When Things Get Challenging

    I would argue Ive personally experienced more mental gains from yoga than physical ones. As a runner, my mental game used to always be my biggest weakness; my brain would give up way before my body. During a race, as soon as I started feeling fatigued, Id convince myself why it was OK to ease up and not chase a new PR. Instead of embracing a runners beloved nemesisthe pain caveI ran away from it. Yet my normal yoga practice has forced me to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, through sitting in the poses that incorporate a lot of hamstrings or core strength, focused on just noticing what it feels like versus reacting to the discomfort and trying to get out of it. This has translated to my running; now when I traverse up hills, I notice where my mind is going versus freaking out right away and slowing my pace down to that of a snails.

    Your body is capable of doing so much more than the mind thinks. In yoga, we try to be in each breath, which is like being in each step of a running practice. Thats the freedom of the now, here moment. Not the one we think is going to come up in a mile or two from now, Michaelsen says.

    Gilman says that mental strength from yoga is crucial when it comes to running. Your mental game during speed work, a hill workout, or balancing in half-moon pose what youre thinking while these things are happening. allows you to practice mindfulness and to simply show up, no matter how hard a hill or holding a pose may be.

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    Balance And Strengthen Your Whole Body

    When you run a single mile, your foot hits the ground some 1,000 times. Thats a lot of pounding for your joints and muscles to endure. Yoga can help balance your body by stretching and lengthening your muscles.

    Engaging in regular practice allows you to work on balance, strength, and range of motion throughout your entire body. You can tune in and really feel where one muscle doesnt match another or where you may have weaknesses.

    As you work through yoga poses, you strengthen your intrinsic muscle groups. These are the ones that both stabilize and support your skeletal system. You know, your bodys overall framework.

    It Reduces The Risk Of Injury

    YOGA FOR RUNNERS – This class is full of stretches to go alongside your running training!

    Even the most centered and relaxed runner can face injurythe bane of all athletes. Damage to a runners body is often the result of overuse instead of collisions or falls. It all comes back toyou guessed itbalance, symmetry, and alignment.

    The body is the sum of its parts and impairment of one affects them all. A bad back is going to affect your ankles just as weak knees can throw off your hip alignment. For example, shin splints are the result of a seemingly minor misstep: an uneven distribution of weight that starts with the way the feet strike the ground. Each time the foot hits the pavement unevenly, a lateral torque travels up the leg, causing muscle chafing and pain up and down the tibia known as shin splints.

    Knee pain, too, is related to other parts of the body. If the ankles are weak or the hips are not aligned, that can put strain on the anterior ligaments in the knees. Meant to work like a train on a track, a knee thrown off balance is equivalent to a train derailing. Due to constant forward motion, hip flexor muscles shorten and tighten and can cause hyperextension in the lower back. This constantly arched position holds tension in the back and can hamper the fluidity of hamstring muscles as well.

    See also4 Ways Yoga Primes You for Running

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    How Workouts Impact Your Nervous System

    Improving performance is all about balancing stress and recovery, both of which are controlled by the Nervous System.

    YogaI know that yoga is portrayed as calm and serene and I do often get that feelingbut lets be honest if youre doing a serious class its a sweaty nasty mess with lots of loud breathing and thoughts of kill me now.

    However, most importantly is that when you are in certain poses your muscles relax and this creates more room for blood to flow, thus attracting more oxygen to your muscles.

    Yoga also puts a great deal of focus on breathing which seems to naturally elicit a relaxation response , something runners need to combat the physical stress of running.

    Both of these result in healing and injury prevention. I also think you cant overlook the community and connection that is often found in yoga.

    WeightsWeights are going to further stress the body, which is great for strength and muscle building, but maybe not ideal if youre trying to train for a marathon and need a workout to deload.

    WinnerYoga is better in this case for runners because we often have high cortisol from stressing our bodies. Yoga will allow you to bring that back down and get calm in order to prevent burnout and over training.

    It Can Increase Awareness And Confidence As You Run

    In addition to physically counteracting the strains of running, yoga teaches the cultivation of body wisdom and confidence. As you develop a greater understanding of the body and how it works, you become able to listen and respond to messages the body sends you. This is especially important in running, where the body produces a lot of endorphins. These feel good chemicals also double as natures painkillers, which can mask pain and the onset of injury or illness. Without developed body intuition, its easier to ignore the bodys signals.

    Awareness translates to daily workouts, too. You learn through the practice of yoga that each day is distinct, much like each run. Your energy levels fluctuate daily, even hourly, thus its important to have a sense of your reserves. The calmness you glean from yoga practice allows you to manage and economize your energy. You can learn to intuit where you are on a given day and what resources you have to give. Therefore, you dont power drive through every workout mindlessly but rather respect your bodys limitations.

    Tension is the athletes downfall, and breath awareness is key to reducing it. Conscious breathing and Pranayama exercises, which soothe the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and relax the entire body, can be of great benefit to runners.

    See alsoThe Yoga Guide For Runners

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    Advice On Jogging With Colds And Flu

    Research carried out by Professor Mike Gleeson from Loughborough University and;presented;to the;Association for Science Education Conference;in January 2011 found that gentle aerobics, such as jogging, helps to ward off colds and flu by up to 33%. However, running long distances and training for a;marathon;will make you around 6 times more likely to pick up a virus.

    It is not just jogging that helps to boost the immune system, a daily brisk walk has the same effect. The research found that most types of intensive exercise increases the chances of catching a cold. This is not really a new finding as many athletes and runners have been well aware of this all their lives!

    Is Yoga Enough Strength Training For Runners


    I think it is a great start but you really should incorporate a strength and conditioning session into your training programme alongside your yoga session and your runs. This will make sure that all the bases are covered so you are working on mobility, strength, balance and flexibility and you are giving yourself a great chance of preventing injuries and being the best runner that you can be.

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    Beginning Yoga For Runners: Be Mindful Of Your Limits

    Pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits may serve you well in running, but the result is different in yoga. Its really important for runners to be honest with where their body is, tightness-wise, says Tanya Siejhi, a certified yoga therapist, licensed massage therapist, and founder of Florida-based Healsci Yoga School. Sometimes in class were driven to push for more, reach for more. But you have to be really mindful of when you reach your edgeparticularly with forward folding, because runners hamstrings tend to be so tender.

    This is important to keep in mind, because in many classes, like a vinyasa flow class where youre going through repeated sun salutations, there are a lot of forward bends. You can still do them, of coursejust modify by bending your knees a bit to reduce the strain on areas that are tight.

    That kind of active engagement will create muscle length and joint space and help runners avoid injury while practicing yoga.

    This Is An Excerpt From Yoga For Runners By Christine Felstead

    Effects of Yoga on Runners

    Runners are often reluctant to try yoga; their most common fear is that they are not flexible enough. It is not uncommon for those attending their first Yoga for Runners class to ask whether the room will be filled with lithe and flexible bodies, in spite of the class being advertised For runners; no yoga experience necessary. This fear may be driven by the many media images showing people in advanced yoga poses, fueling the notion that you have to be able to bend like a pretzel to do yoga. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Yoga is suitable for every body type. It can be started at any age regardless of physical condition, and those who are the stiffest have the most to gain. Runners, specifically, have a tremendous amount to gain from adding yoga to their fitness regimens.

    ____Running can lead to injury because of its repetitive nature and the resulting musculoskeletal imbalances. On a physical level, yoga restores balance and symmetry to the body, making it the perfect complement to running. Runners are often drawn to yoga to deal with specific issues, such as improving flexibility or helping with an injury. Yet many are shocked at the world it opens for them, specifically, the strengthening capacity and the use of muscles they never knew they had. Let’s take a closer look at the effects of yoga, both physical and mental, on runners.______

    Physical Effects









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    Running Lets You Set Solid Goals

    As well as improving a yogis cardiovascular fitness, having a running routine can be useful for yogis in terms of creating tangible goals.

    One of the great things about running is that, unlike yoga, it gives you a great deal of feedback metrics. You can track your running progress via pace, distance, or heart rate, meaning that you can set clear goals.

    Some examples of tangible goal examples could be; running your first half marathon, or running for an hour non-stop.

    Having goals and reaching them is a great incentive to keep at what you are doing.

    For yogis, setting and reaching running goals can be an excellent psychological motivator for their overall fitness journey.

    How Do I Balance Yoga And Running

    45 Minute Yoga Class – Yoga for Runners

    This is the tricky bit and I really dont think you need to go crazy on the yoga front. I do 1 S&C and 1 yoga session a week, normally on my easy run days. My sessions are between 30 40 minutes long and I find that a manageable amount, I still feel the benefits and can fit it all into my training programme.

    If you are a bit short on time pair up a run with a yoga session. Get your mat ready before you leave the house and as soon as you come back from your run it is there ready for you to get straight into a good stretch!

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