Recovery plays a key role in any training plan. Whether you’re training for a marathon or your first 5k, being intentional about your recovery can help prevent injuries, build strength and improve your running. While most of us take the time to stretch, foam roll and refuel, we often overlook one of the most beneficial recovery tools: a yoga routine for runners.
How often should runners do yoga?
Runners can benefit from yoga in any capacity. Even just a few recovery yoga poses each week can have a positive impact on your running. Getting in the habit of completing regular yoga after running is one of the best things you can do during training.
This yoga routine for runners specifically targets problematic areas that can cause pain on the run. These yoga poses are designed to encourage recovery by helping reduce tension, relieve muscle adhesions and promote healthy blood flow.
Including yoga after running in your training routine will help you stay strong and healthy during your highest mileage seasons.
Which yoga is best for runners?
All yoga poses provide some benefit for runners. Whether you’re looking to reduce tension, relieve sore muscles or simply relax after a tough run, yoga after running is extremely beneficial.
Completing a yoga routine specifically designed for runners involves poses that target the lower body or common areas of tension in runners. Poses that help stretch out areas such as the hip flexors, feet, IT band, calves and quads are particularly beneficial.
This recovery yoga routine for runners is designed to help relieve tension and reduce soreness after a run, in a short amount of time. In just 15-20 minutes, you’ll work your way through all of the problem areas that cause pain on the run.
Yoga after running promotes optimal recovery.
Try incorporating this post-run yoga on a regular basis. All it takes is 15-20 minutes of easy yoga after running for an effective cool down that will keep you strong and injury free.
These yoga poses are perfect for runners; whether you choose to incorporate them into your post run routine or designate a single day to complete the full yoga sequence.
Try incorporating this recovery yoga routine once a week to speed up your recovery and ease sore muscles!
Recovery Yoga Routine for Runners
Aim to hold each yoga pose for 10 full breaths, or about 30 seconds. If you encounter an area that is particularly tight, focus on breathing and hold that pose until the tension decreases. Transition slowly between each yoga pose, moving down on the exhale and up on the inhale.
- Downward Dog
- Half Split
- Low Lunge
- Forward Fold
- Toes Pose
- Kneeling Quad Stretch
- Bonus: Legs Up the Wall
As you enter downward dog, you may immediately notice that your hamstrings are tight. If this is the case, it can be beneficial to bend the knees slightly and really extend your tailbone towards the sky.
Be careful not to force your legs straight if you are experiencing any muscle tightness. Take your time with this pose, allowing your muscles to loosen a bit by straightening your legs gradually as they warm up. Breathe deeply and focus on a flat back.
In cobra position, it is important to send your chest forward and lengthen your arms. Be careful not to strain the neck as you look forward, but rather, bring your head up to its natural position.
Half split is one of the less common yoga poses, but can be incredibly beneficial for runners as it provides an incredible hamstring stretch. As you extend one leg forward, sit back with your hips to accentuate the stretch. Reach your hands down your leg towards your foot as far as comfortable.
Once your hamstrings and hips begin to loosen, lean forward and focus on maintaining a flat back and straight neck. This pose is an excellent addition to any yoga routine for runners.
Although pigeon is an essential yoga pose for anyone, it is particularly beneficial for runners as it stretches the muscles in our glutes that desperately need attention post run. You can remain upright in pigeon position, or if it feels comfortable, bring your chest forward and lean down towards the floor.
This pose is an essential addition to any yoga routine for runners. Low lunge targets the hips and provides a beneficial stretch for those tight hip flexors. To accentuate this stretch, feel free to lean back and reach your arms up towards the sky.
As you fold forward, you will notice a stretch in the top of your shoulders as well as the back of your legs. If you hamstrings or calves are feeling tight as you fall forward, feel free to bend the knees slightly and straighten your legs as the muscles warm up.
Toes pose is a popular yoga pose to help prevent plantar fasciitis. Sit back on your heels and be sure to straighten all of your toes, including your pinky toe. If the stretch becomes too intense, you can lean forward slightly for a break.
Kneeling Quad Stretch
The kneeling quad pose takes any quad stretch to the next level. Be careful not to crank your neck as you reach backwards to grab your foot. If this pose is too intense at the beginning, you can leave your back foot on the floor, or lift it only as much as is comfortable.
Yoga has some amazing restorative benefits. Whether you incorporate regular yoga after running, or designate one day each week to complete the entire recovery yoga routine, your body and mind will thank you.
Take some time post run or on a recovery day to flush out the lactic acid, relieve tired muscles, and encourage blood flow throughout your body. Even a short, quick yoga routine each week can really enhance your running and help you stay injury free!