This past weekend, Pat and I decided that we were due for a little adventure. We packed up our YoGo mats and did the short bike ride from San Francisco across the bridge to Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands. We then swapped out our cycling shoes for sneakers and walked with our bikes about 10 minutes north along one of the hiking trails that lines the coast. This took us to the most amazing cliff overlook with a big flat clearing. It was almost like being in Big Sur and absolutely the perfect setting for some impromptu yoga! Have I mentioned how spoiled we are living in San Francisco? What a way to spend the first day of November!
Click through for 5 great running poses for runners!
With all the running I do, it’s important to stay balanced and healthy by incorporating cross training and stretching into my routine. Cycling is a great cross training exercise for runners because it’s low impact and builds both strength and cardiovascular fitness. Research has shown that dynamic stretching, like yoga, is way better in building flexibility and decreasing exercises than traditional stretching (think the sit and reach or holding one arm across your chest). We use our YoGo mats to do yoga even when we’re on the go traveling or camping. They are light, compact, 100% recyclable and 100% biodegradable. But you don’t have to do a full on yoga session to reap the benefits!
Here are 5 yoga poses for runners that I try to do at least a few times per week. With just a few minutes of effort you can decrease injury risk and improve post-workout muscle soreness. Thanks to PUMA for providing the great looks you see in these photos.
1. Downward Facing Dog :: This first pose, adho mukha svanasana (you probably know it as downward facing dog), is a standard that is one of the first poses of most yoga classes. There’s a reason for that – downward facing dog stretches out the posterior muscles of your leg – calves (gastrocnemius and soleus) and hamstrings. Pedal your legs up and down and keep your shoulders relaxed to get an amazing full body stretch. The pose also builds arm and shoulder strength, something that running doesn’t help much for.
2. Plank Pose :: Speaking of arm strength – a straight arm or elbow plank is a great way to increase upper body and core strength that is often neglected in runners. You can easily move from downward facing dog into plank during your mini stretch session.
3. Dancer’s Pose :: Setting up for Natarajasana, or Dancer’s Pose is my favorite part. As you can see in the first picture, this is an excellent hip flexor and quad stretch. My hip flexors are chronically tight because of all the impact of frequent running. You can stay here, or open up into the full pose seen on the right.
4. Pigeon Pose :: Pigeon pose is a modification of Eka Pada Rajakapotasana and is one of my favorite yoga poses. It’s an amazing hip opener. Keeping your hip muscles flexible is a huge part of preventing running-related injuries. Many running-related ailments can be traced back to hip imbalances. If your hips are tight it can throw off the rest of the muscles in the leg and set you up for anything from ilio-tibial band syndrome to shin splints. Breathe through the agony discomfort so you can get the most out of this pose.
5. Seated Spinal Twist :: To complete this mini series, finish with a gentle spinal twist that offers a balance to all the back and forward motion from running and offers more hip opening. Use your inhales to extend the spine and exhales to deepen the twist.
And that’s that! Just a few poses of many that are great for runners. Seriously, five minutes and five poses on a regular basis can make a huge difference!
What yoga poses do you swear by?
When we’re not active riding bikes, hiking, and doing yoga, our typical weekend routine usually involves visiting on of the several amazing coffee shops in our San Francisco ‘hood – the Outer Sunset. You might have caught this look on Instagram last weekend but I wanted to share it again here. I love this look because it’s comfortable and casual, but still versatile enough to wear anywhere from post work-out to coffee hunt. How great is the neckline on that sweater? Wayyy better than your usual hoodie.
Thanks so much for reading A Side of Sweet! For more Sweet in your life, you can find me on Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, or Twitter, or subscribe to receive a weekly email with new posts (see sidebar).
Outfit Deets :: Active look – Gym Tank, Move 3/4 Capris, Mobium XT sneakers. Casual look – French Terry Sweatshirt, Progressive Trend Pants, Carson Runner sneakers, all found at PUMA.com
Disclosures and disclaimers: I’m a medical doctor, but I’m not your doctor. Consult your personal physician before starting any exercise routine. I enjoy yoga but I’m not a yoga professional. I’m well aware that my technique in these poses isn’t perfect – my practice is a work in progress. Thanks to YoGo for the sweet yoga travel mats! This post was sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of PUMA. Thank YOU for supporting the sponsors that keep me moving!