Throughout my running injury woes in the lead up to my marathon, I realised that I really needed to stretch out a lot more and I found that completing a yoga sequence was the best way to keep me on the mat and stretching out my muscles for longer than the customary two-minutes-and-we’re-done-thanks-for-coming hamstring stretch. I realised that I was stretching for me and my own body’s good and not for because my physio had told me too. So I simply headed over to Youtube, typed in ‘yoga for runners’ and found a whole host of great 25-30min sessions of yoga specifically designed to stretch out your muscles after running. And not just for after a run, in fact, I found just incorporating them into my weekly routine really helpful. Doing yoga specifically designed to look after my body as a runner made me feel like I was focused on my marathon even on my non-running days.
However, it can get a bit repetitive after a while, so I started trying out different videos in order to prevent boredom. through this I found that by keeping it varied, I was definitely covering all bases as some videos covered different things to others. Some were more relaxing, others more active. It’s great to have that variation.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Yoga Practice for Runners, 20min Sequence by Eckhart Yoga
There’s something about a Scandinavian or Dutch accent that really makes me trust a yoga teacher. Ekhart Yoga is the first video that comes up when you search ‘yoga for runners’ and it’s a pretty good one to start you off. This video is a great workout with a lot of flow, but it also incorporates adequate rest periods. I found it great to do on rest days as it was an active enough workout that I felt that I had done something beneficial on my road to Prague, but also not too strenuous on my muscles.. The positions are difficult and you really feel like you are targeting your running muscles in the right way. I also love how the instructor, Esther, fully explains which muscle is being worked so that you can readjust yourself if you don’t feel the stretch enough. 20mins and you’re done. I find just lying a little longer in relaxation mode on the mat is great too.
Runner’s Yoga by Yoga with Adriene
Adriene is a yoga rockstar. You get the feeling that she would be the one girl in the yoga class that you’d want to go for margaritas with after class. She makes yoga fit into your everyday life and manages to show off all of her expertise and respect for the practice whilst at also being totally relatable. This video is very zen – and brilliant quality. It is about getting into a position and staying there in the stretch, often with a pillow (yum!). I always felt calm afterwards and it was a great workout for when I was low on energy or if it was later in the day and I didn’t want my body to be too woken up. On those days it was my absolute favourite. In terms of rehab and really stretching out my calf, I probably preferred the other videos.
Yoga for Runners 45 Minute Flow: Build Your Strength with Cara Gilman
Cara Gilman is a yoga teacher and running coach and there is something about her that really appeals to the running side of me. I love yoga, especially when it is completely relatable to every day life and this is what this workout is. She was dressed as a runner too which I appreciated for the purposes of this video. Funnily enough, I did this 3 weeks before my marathon for the first time and during the relaxation period at the end, Cara talks about taking the time to to thank yourself for giving yourself the challenge of a marathon and how exciting it is to be doing to for the first time and that just really appealed to me. Her website bio says this “Cara is a marathoner and yogi at heart, always striving to challenge herself and take every obstacle as an opportunity to learn and grow. She inspires you to want the best of yourself on the road, on the mat and in your day to day life.” I concur wholeheartedly. Aesthetically, this class really made me feel like I was in a yoga class. There was no music, no crazy intro, she’s in a big hall so she sounds like she is right with you in the room and I loved that. The workout is pretty tough. The first time I did it was after a PT session and that possibly wasn’t the greatest idea in the world as, although I found it relaxing, it really is a workout for your muscles which I think my body could have done without that day (!). I wish I had found this sooner as I feel this would have really helped me to get stronger throughout my training (and maybe have even avoided that injury?). Don’t be put off by the 45 minute length – it actually flies by.
Beginners Yoga for Runners from Runner’s World
If this is for beginners, then I don’t know what I am! I have been doing yoga now on-and-off for around ten years. I’m no expert but I know the moves and the poses and I get the flow. This video workout completely confused me. So as a beginner, I imagine I would have been lost. The instructor moves very quickly which means you spend a lot of time pausing to watch her and then trying to catch up when she is already working her way into the next section. A lot of the moves require major balance and flexibility which for a seasoned runner who wants to try yoga for the first time, I think, would be very intimidating. I chose this video for variety but I’m not sure I’d bother again. It’s great that she explains what every move is doing for you but that kind of becomes ‘noise’ when you are trying to find a way to work out what she just said and what position she is in. Not for me.
Yoga for Runners with Lesley Fightmaster
Lesley Fightmaster runs Fightmaster Yoga that offers free daily online yoga classes. This is actually a really good workout but wasn’t my favourite – more because of the formatting than the moves. She is speaking over a video of of herself on the pier – lovely setting, but just not as smooth as it could be. I found myself a couple of moves behind her for most of the workout. However, I really enjoyed the workout and felt fully stretched out and relaxed at the end.
Do you have a favourite ‘Yoga for Runners’ workout to recommend for me? Let me know below!