As a runner, you know how important it is to fuel properly, sleep well, and add strength and conditioning to your weekly training regime. But have you ever thought about how yoga could make you a better runner? Here are five ways yoga can improve running and get you those results that you’ve been chasing.
- Yoga improves mobility and range of motion
In order to achieve peak performance as a runner, your body needs to be capable of cycling through a full range of motion. You need to have mobile hips, legs, and even arms so that you can maintain a good posture and good form throughout your run. Yoga is proven to improve flexibility, mobility and range of motion, which in turn will improve your running form and therefore your speed and efficiency.
- Yoga strengthens underused muscles
If you have any muscle imbalances, they will be amplified during and after a long run and this could lead to injury. As a runner, you need a balanced body so that you can stay strong throughout your run and improve your running economy. If one muscle or muscle group is underactive or weak, this could force another muscle group or side of your body to have to work harder, meaning you will become more tired more easily and could also lead to injury. Yoga strengthens most/all muscles and holding yoga poses will help to activate previously underused muscles, improving muscle balance and overall strength.
- Yoga improves balance
You may not think of balance as something important to running, but it really is. If you’re unstable as you run, this may cause overuse injury and damage to your body, which could eventually lead to a more serious injury that forces you to stop running altogether (every runner’s worst nightmare!). The improved balance will help stabilise the pelvis and hips while running, and could also help to improve stride length and cadence.
- Yoga improves breathing capacity and efficiency
There are two main factors that will help you to run further and for longer: a strong heart and large lung capacity. The lower you can keep your heart rate throughout a run, the longer you will be able to keep going. The same is true for your lung capacity; if you can maintain a steady, comfortable breathing rate, you will find running is not only easier but it is much more enjoyable too. Yoga can teach you how to breathe more mindfully and can even increase your lung capacity, making you a better (and happier) runner.
- Yoga helps prevent injuries
Getting injured is the ultimate bane of any runner’s life. The last thing you want is to have to take a break from running, and prevention is always better than cure. Avoiding injury is not as hard as it may seem, and it doesn’t have to be an inevitable result of your run training. Yoga can improve proprioception, which refers to the awareness you have of your own body. If you’re someone who is constantly tripping over or dropping things, this could be due to a lack of proprioception. Having a heightened awareness of your own body and how it moves through space is incredibly valuable not only for running but for everyday life. Yoga also helps to prevent injury by priming your muscles for movement and keeping you supple.
Content has been produced by Beth Crivelli, Lead Instructor of Sadhana Live. Sadhana Live is an online yoga and movement platform that offers a wide range of FREE live classes, has a library of 1,000+ sessions from £10 per month and bespoke programmes available from £15 per month.