Running is an intense sport that works within the laws of gravity and physics. Without proper self-maintenance care, runners may experience skeletal or muscular pain or injury.
Incorporating yoga poses post-run is ideal to maintain flexibility and recirculate lactate build up.
If you’re looking for an even more thorough stretch look for Restore Lab, our new athletic stretching class, on the group fitness schedule. Restore Lab offers stretches specific to runners, cyclers, swimmers, rotational sport players, lateral sport players and includes stretches for the lower back and core.
This pose opens the bottom of the foot (plantar fascia), which is the foundation for the kinetic chain; thus, it is important to keep the feet healthy and stretched.
How to Perform: Kneel onto your shins and curl the toes underneath. Slowly, sit the glutes on the back of the heel and allow the feet to open and lengthen as you maintain deep breathing. To make the stretch more challenging, interlock the hands and place them behind the head (elbows wide) to open the chest.
This pose opens the hip’s external rotators, which is ideal to maintain hip mobility.
How to Perform: Place the right ankle just above the left knee. Slowly sit the hips back, similar to lowering into a chair. Use a wall or tree to better maintain balance or place the hands on the shin. To practice balance, reach the arms forward in front of the chest. Switch and repeat on the opposite leg.
This pose opens the chest musculature while lengthening the posterior side of the lower extremities.
How to Perform: Find something stable to hold onto or on which to place your hands. Position the feet hip-distance apart and several inches in front of the hips. Shift the pelvis back to where the chest and arms come parallel to the ground. For a deeper calf stretch, lift the toes off the ground.
This pose lengthens the back side of the legs from the glutes toward the calves.
How to Perform: Place the right foot about 2 to 3 feet in front of the body with toes facing forward. Slowly, lower the torso to the point of flexibility and rest the hands on the shin, foot or floor. Allow the upper body to relax. Repeat on the opposite leg.
This pose lengthens the top of the quadriceps in addition to the hip flexor muscles, which is ideal as running incorporates repetitive hip-flexion movements.
How to Perform: Place the right knee on the ground (support the knee with a towel or mat underneath) and step the left foot forward. Hinge from the pelvis to where the torso moves slightly forward and the left front of the thigh feels a stretch. Reach the arms overhead and hold; repeat on the opposite leg.
Article adapted from the American Council on Exercise (acefitness.org)