By Guest Blogger: Jane Grates
If you have any runners in your life, you know that they all love to talk about running. Virtually all they want to do is run, and even though many of them know that doing it, exclusively, won’t get them to be as strong or fast as they can be, many still choose to exclude other forms of cross-training. Relatedly, tons of runners suffer from some impressive muscular imbalances. It’s no secret that runners are physically strong individuals, but more often than not, they get strong by moving strictly in one plane of motion. Their quads get super strong, for example, but their hamstrings might be teetering on the brink of a strain at any given time. The same goes for iliotibial bands, plantar fascia, calves, hip flexors… and the list goes on.
That said, most runners would immensely stand to benefit from incorporating a weekly yoga practice into their running routine. Of course, if you suggest this to runners, they’ll run away in the opposite direction, claiming no interest in the matter, so it’s imperative that you frame it in language that they’ll understand.
The benefits include the following:
- Doing yoga regularly can help runners’ mental games. You’ll often hear from runners that their sport is 90% mental and 10% physical. However, most runners spend significantly more time on their physical side than they do on their mental side.
- Doing yoga regularly can help rectify muscle imbalances that crop up from running so much mileage. Most runners typically run only in one plane of motion, which ultimately means that parts of their bodies get really, really strong while other parts get really, really weak and underutilized. A regular yoga routine can help to rectify the imbalances simply because, in yoga, participants typically move through many planes of motion. Yogis move forwards, backward, diagonally, and even upside down, and in doing so, they implicate all of their muscle groups and in varying ways.
- Doing yoga regularly can help strengthen muscles that may be teetering on the edge of exhaustion and injury. In turn, over time, yoga can help runners remain injury-free, get faster, and be more consistent. When runners get really strong in one area but remain very weak in other areas of their bodies, their propensity for injury increases significantly.
- Doing yoga can help force runners to slow down and learn to quiet their minds, stay in the present moment, and breathe through the experience when things get uncomfortable or tough -- as they surely will during a race or during a hard training segment.
These are just a handful of the benefits that yoga confers to runners. Many runners may not believe that a regular yoga practice will make them stronger or less injury-prone, but I think the proof is in the pudding. There are even now tons of “yoga for runners” types of programs available online, at gyms, and at yoga studios all over, so I think the fitness and yoga markets are becoming privy to this realization and knowledge, too.
Running and yoga might not be the most obvious match, but like any good partnership, they balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Together, their sum is greater than the total of their parts, and the same goes for the combined runner-yogi athlete.
I bet if you tell runners those claims, they’ll actually sprint back to you, asking for more information and when they can start!
About the Author
Jane Grates is a fitness enthusiast and an adventurer. Making at the sweet spot between beauty and intellectual purity to craft delightful brand experiences. She also writes recommendations and reviews on sites like Runnerclick, GearWeAre, NicerShoes, and ThatSweetGift.