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Marathon runners consider yoga to improve their performances

26 Apr, 2019 • by Admin

Believe it or not, yoga has become the norm for athletes to incorporate it into their training schedules, especially for recovery.

Yoga has definitely helped my mindset as a runner. In the past, I’ve been extraordinarily hard on myself. If my paces didn’t improve with each consecutive run, I’d call myself a failure. I’d wonder why I even bothered if I couldn’t consistently get faster and faster.

Recovery

Yoga improves athletic performance. A number of years ago I decided to set myself a challenge of running 35 marathons and ultras in five years. In order to achieve this goal I had to run for many kilometres almost everyday which inevitably led to sore joints and tight muscles. A friend suggested that I start doing yoga to balance out the running and run-specific strength training that I was doing. I gave it a go. My recovery improved and so did my performance

It relieves soreness and tension in your hardworking muscles, and restores range of motion, so you can run better the next time you hit the road

Strength

Yoga helps you build your strength, as you learn to hold poses for quite a while as well as constantly flowing into the next movement. It is also great for balance, flexibility, mobility and mental endurance, all of which are needed if you were to be participating in any endurance event.

Yoga strengthens your entire body as a whole. It brings you through a series of poses that can train your strength, both physically and mentally. For instance, holding poses challenge your physical strength and mind. You have to hold these poses beyond fatigue, using yoga breathing techniques to help you manage the mental challenge. These poses also force you to engage your muscles to stay in a particular pose, strengthening them. In athletics, being strong is a plus.

Flexibility

Yoga brings you through a variety of stretches that could improve your range of motion in your given joint area. Flexibility is very important for athletes, especially runners. Did you know the running movement involves only a one plane movement – forward. This causes the muscles required for the forward movement to be particularly overdeveloped as compared to muscles required for the backward movement and lateral movement. These overused muscles become really tight and reduce your flexibility.

Improved respiration

Your yogi will teach you to breathe properly which leads to a relaxed mind and body. This helps to relieve your anxieties, releases tension and allows your body to chill out, literally. And when you are able to breathe easy, you will notice your energy levels increase which will lead to productivity and positivity in your life.

Essential Yoga Poses For Runners

As I train for my second full marathon, I continue to work toward these yoga poses:

  • Downward Dog: Stretches hamstrings, calves, and foot arches; strengthens shoulders
  • Low Lunge: Stretches hip flexors; strengthens hamstrings and quads
  • Toes Pose: Helps prevent plantar fasciitis by stretching the shins and arches of the feet
  • Reclining hand to big toe: Stretches hamstrings
  • Reclining Pigeon: Releases tension and tightness in the hips
  • Reclining Cow face: Improves range of motion in the hips; loosens tight glutes and hamstrings
  • Reclining Spinal Twist: Relaxes the lower back and stretches the glutes
  • Legs Up the Wall: Relieves tension in legs, feet, and back; stretches hamstrings and glutes

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