How Yoga Has Helped My Running Game

Hi friends!

Before I get into today’s topic, here is how Week 2 of my half-marathon training looks like:

Monday – rest day
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – cross train for 30-40 minutes
Thursday – 3 miles
Friday – cross train for 30-40 minutes
Saturday – 5 miles
Sunday – rest day

*You can see Week 1 plan here.*

A few days ago I got a question on Instagram: How has yoga helped my running game?

To be honest with you, I never really thought about it. I love yoga and enjoy running very much, so I simply have been doing the two things that bring a smile to my face and make me feel good. However, the question prompted me to think. There is definitely an undeniable complimentary relationship between the two.

Yoga 1

Injury prevention

There is a reason why we need to do warm-up and cool down stretches before going for a run. Yoga stretches ultimately lengthen the muscles that get tight during running. It is especially useful for those with very tight hips and hamstrings. Yoga can also help with soreness after the run.

yoga 2

Proper Breathing

It is detrimental to breathe properly when you do yoga in order to reap all of the benefits of any given pose. Better breathing during running allows a larger delivery of oxygen to the muscles, consequently increasing performance.

I find that I learned various breathing techniques while practicing yoga. A lot of people underestimate savasana, or a corpse pose, because you’re ‘simply’ lying on the floor. However, it is one of the best way to learn how to breathe properly:

  • Lie down comfortably on your back on a yoga mat,
  • Become aware of your natural breath and its rhythm,
  • Focus on raising your belly as you inhale through your nose,
  • Lower your belly as you exhale though your mouth.

yoga 3

I paid closer attention to my breathing over my last few runs. And you know what? I definitely noticed a big difference compared to how I was breathing only a couple of years ago. My breath control has improved drastically and I don’t find myself panting all the time, unless I’m giving it my all as I sprint.

Core Strength

The poses held in yoga strengthen the core, hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. Strong core translates into a good running posture which helps with your speed and endurance. It is easier to run.

yoga 5

Mindfulness

Yoga teaches us of how to stay inthe present moment, how to be mindful. In my opinion, mindfulness is extremely important when you run. It is so much easier to run when you focus on your breathing and stop thinking about how much more you’ve got to go!

On a separate note, I feel like a lot of runners don’t do yoga because they are intimidated by elaborate poses they see on the Internet…

But you should definitely give it a go. Try this awesome yoga for runners routine!

Or if you don’t have 30 minutes, give a try to this sequence.

be3a267c403f4129_yoga-for-runners-pinterest-poster-350

Source

Recently, I came across the following quote and fell in love with it.

admire someone else's beauty

In my opinion, it refers to much more than outward beauty.

It’s in our nature to compare ourselves to others. Unfortunately, instead of being inspired by their success, we, often times, get discouraged by thinking that we aren’t good enough.
The reality is, there will always be someone who is stronger, faster, more flexible, more successful, you name it, than us, but you can’t let this hinder your personal progress and growth.

To avoid this, accept your status as novice, if that’s the case. Accept where you are today, be proud of your accomplishments so far. Celebrate success of others and let it motivate you to reach for new heights. Never underestimate yourself and what you are capable of. Self-doubt is your biggest enemy. Always aim to be the best version of yourself. You are unique and you deserve to love yourself.

handstand with Sofia - large.jpg

Do you practice yoga? How has it helped you?

Want to read more on yoga?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

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17 Comments

Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Half-Marathon Training, Running

17 responses to “How Yoga Has Helped My Running Game

  1. Love this post! I haven’t give this much thought with my running but agree with everything. A big piece for me was getting my hamstring stronger and avoiding injuring it again.

  2. Love this blog post! Yoga is so helpful to help preventing injury!! Good luck on your training and I LOVE your name!!

  3. Agree with you on all points! Completely agree. Yoga is a runner’s best friend!

  4. GREAT post. I am an RYT (registered yoga teacher) but I don’t practice too much anymore. I have to say, any soft tissue injuries I have had have been since I stopped practicing. It really does help with injury prevention! I have gotten involved with pole fitness which has kind of been my yoga replacement and gets me stretching and strengthening the way yoga did, but I miss a good yoga class. I am planning on hitting one up next week post Boston. Especially after reading your post – made me miss it!

    • Awwww! I saw some of your pole fitness pictures and you look fantastic! I’d love to try it one day too. So maybe you’ll come to Montreal for a visit and become my pacing coach AND pole fitness instructor? Haha! It’d be awesome though! Once again, good luck at Boston Marathon next week!!! Xoxo

  5. Russ

    After a couple years of considering yoga, I finally started going to a “yoga for runners” class once a week about a year ago. I instantly loved it. And mindfulness is something I’ve also started working on. Great post.

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  8. I just started practicing yoga – I knew I was tight but man! I can only hope that loosening up my muscles will have a long term impact on my running!

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