Yoga for Runners
Hello friends! Due to the success of my Yoga for Hip Openers guide and finishing up my second half marathon last month, I thought I would put together a warm-up & cool-down guide for runners. Hope you enjoy!
When I go out for a run, I generally warm up by running about half a mile at a nice easy pace and then stopping to do some dynamic warm-ups. These will get your heart pumping and the blood flowing to your legs.
- Standing Leg Swings: You can use a tree, or even a sign pole, to steady yourself. Keep your base leg straight and rise onto the ball of your foot, and swing your leg to the side and across your body. Do 10 of these before switching legs. You can also then turn and swing your legs front and back on each leg. Warms up your ham strings and hip flexors.
- High Knees: For these, take very small steps and bring your knees up close to your chest. Keep your core engaged and upright so you’re lifting from your abs. I like to do these for 20 seconds, walk a bit, and then do 20 more seconds.
- Butt Kicks: Taking small steps again, bring your feet up to kick your butt. These stretch out your quadriceps and calves. Go for 20 seconds, walk a bit, and then repeat.
Others you can include are: grape vines (sideways one step in front one step behind), backwards jogging, strides (elongated stride running), walking lunges, and skipping while swinging your arms across your body!
Static Cool Down
After your run, these yoga poses are great for cooling down and stretching out all the muscles you just used. Try to keep your breathing steady and hold each pose for 5-10 deep breaths.
- Downward Facing Dog: Keep your back straight and your legs long. You’ll feel this one down the backs of your legs. Don’t be afraid to walk it out, bend each leg, and even lift one leg up at a time. Keep your neck long and look back between your legs.
- Runner’s Lunge: Swing one leg through and have your knee bent at 90 degrees, hands on the ground, back leg straight and up on the ball of your foot. Make sure your knee doesn’t pass your big toe and feel this one through your hip flexor.
- Triangle Pose: Front leg facing forward, back leg turned out to 10pm on the clock. Keep both legs straight and keep your core engaged and back straight as you lean over. Extend your top arm high and if you have the balance, turn to look at it. Don’t keep any weight in your bottom hand!
- Standing Separate Leg Head-To-Knee Pose: I learned this one from the Bikram series - from Triangle pose, centre your hips to face forward and gently bring your chest toward your front leg while keeping your back straight. Don’t worry if your head doesn’t get near your knee! Reach with the chest, not the head.
- Warrior I Pose: Bend your front leg and extend arms high, keeping same leg position from previous pose. You’ll feel this one in your back calf and quad.
- Eye of the Needle Pose: Come onto your back and bend one leg across the other. Thread the needle by reaching through the bend in your leg and gently pull the underneath leg toward your chest. This one targets the glute and feels so great after running.
After completing, go back to downward facing dog and repeat with the other leg in front!
Some other poses I like to include are bound angle pose (stretches out the groin), standing and seated forward folds, and happy baby pose (great for hips and groin). Also in the first picture - using a tree or pole to stretch out your calves feels soooo good after a run!
All clothing pictured is from Nike and my shoes are the Bionic Free 1.0 DC edition.