Three Key Yoga Moves For Runners

Flexibility and being in the moment can help your running.

A lot of runners intend to make it to yoga class with regularity, but track intervals and strength work always seem to take precedence. However, there are plenty of reasons runners should make room for the time-honored discipline. Not only does it help develop flexibility, balance and whole-body strength, but it can also lead to better running form, greater running efficiency and more running power. Plus, yoga’s attention to concentration and awareness of breathing can improve mental focus and mental endurance, which can be a big asset during a long training session or race.

If you’re someone who never quite makes it to yoga class as much as you intend, add these few simple yoga moves to your training routine. “It will build their strength, flexibility and focus,” says Sage Rountree, author of The Runner’s Guide to Yoga. “It can help to correct some imbalances too, which can lead to injuries.”

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Plus, says Ashlee Willaman, a yoga instructor in New York City, yoga can be relaxing and help with recovery. All those things mean your body will hold up better under stress, and you’ll be able to maintain your running form even when fatigued. The fact that it’s fun doesn’t hurt, either.

The most common critique Willaman gives in her yoga classes is to pull back and not push too hard. “If you’re holding your breath, you’ve gone too far,” she says. You don’t necessarily have to feel a stretch in order to be getting the benefits of the moves.

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Rountree and Willaman suggest adding these few moves to your workouts. Remember to take your time and maintain good form. At the end, try simply resting with both of your legs straight up a wall. That’s a yoga move too—even if it just feels like resting.

About the book: In The Runner’s Guide to Yoga, veteran runner and yoga instructor Sage Rountree explains the many specific benefits that yoga can bring to running. With hundreds of crisp, inviting color photographs featuring more than 100 poses and routines, this 224-page paperback can guide runners to becoming stronger and more resistant to injury with as little as 10 minutes of yoga per day.

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