Yoga for Runners: 10 Tips to Relieve and Restore – Blog


We know all about the runners’ high, but long distances can be hard on your muscles and joints, so yoga for runners and having a good recovery routine is crucial to stay healthy and avoid injuries. We have compiled a list of tips to relieve and restore after runs, on and off the mat.

 

1. Time to Slow Down

Make sure you include a cool down after your run, walk the last 10 minutes on your run home, to bring your heart rate down slowly and gradually slow your breathing. This will help you to not feel faint or lightheaded after a strenuous run.

2. Stretch it Out

There are conflicting opinions about whether stretching straight after a run will help your recovery process. However, what’s for sure is that stretching will help you cool down gradually and increase the blood flow to your muscles, which will help you release toxins that can build up after exercise. On top of that, stretching, whether it’s straight after your run or a few days later, it will improve your flexibility and help you avoid injuries in the future. Try these 5 stretches after your run:

Quad stretch

Do this stretch on both sides.

Stand with your feet at hip-width distance.

Bend your right knee and bring your heel up towards your buttocks.

Grab a hold of your foot with both hands.

Keep your knee in and your spine tall and straight.

Tuck your tailbone under and avoid arching your lower back.

Use a strap to grab a hold of your foot if you find it difficult to reach, and use a wall to balance if you need to.

To come out, gently release your foot and step your feet together.

Forward fold

Stand with your feet at hip-width distance and start folding forward, hinging from the hips.

Lower down as far as you can, without the stretch becoming painful.

You can bend the knees but try and keep the sensation of stretching your tailbone up towards the sky to feel the stretch in your hamstrings.

Keep your back flat and draw the shoulder blades back.

Breathe deep and feel your upper body and head getting heavy and sinking towards the ground slightly more on each outbreath.

To come out, bend your knees and lift back up to standing.

Intense side stretch

Do this stretch on both sides.

Step your feet 3-4 ft. apart, keep your right foot pointing forward and your left angling slightly outwards.  

Square your hips to face front, and slowly fold forward hinging from the hips.

Keep your hips squared as you fold and pay attention to pushing your left hip forward.

Fold down as far as you can without your hips tilting or the stretch becoming uncomfortable.

Rest your hands on a pair of bricks, books or on your shin, if you cannot reach the ground.

Keep your chest open and draw the shoulder blades back.

To come out lift your upper body back up and step your feet together.

Happy baby

Lying on your back, bend your knees in towards your chest.

Bring your arms and hands in between your legs and grab a hold of the insides of your feet.

Bring your knees to the outside of either side of your torso.

Flex your feet, so the heel is pointing up towards the sky and try to find a 90°angle in your knee joint.

Try to keep your back flat and tailbone and shoulder blades on the ground.

To come out, gently release your grip and hug your knees back into your chest.

Reclining Pigeon

Do this stretch on both sides.

Lying on your back, stretch your right leg straight up, then bend your left leg and place your ankle on your right thigh, just below your knee to make an upside-down figure 4 with your legs.

On the right leg, relax and bend the knee down. On your left leg, flex your foot to protect your joints.

Loop your left hand through the triangle created by the bent leg and interlace your fingers on the back of your right thigh.

Try to keep your back flat and tailbone and shoulder blades on the ground.

Try to keep your left knee in line with your ankle, and gently use your biceps to pull your right knee closer to your chest without rounding your back and without your left knee dropping in.

If the stretch is too intense or you feel that you are rounding your spine or shoulders, let go of the back of your right leg and focus on just keeping your left knee in line with the ankle, you can use a strap to loop behind the right leg or even plant the foot down on the ground.

You should feel the stretch on the outside of your left hip.

To come out, release the leg and hug both knees into your chest.

 

Our Everyday Wellness Mat is extra cushioned and perfect for those post run stretches!

3. Hydrate

Drinking more water sometimes seems to be the solution to any problem: skin breaking out, drink more water; sore muscles, drink more water…and staying hydrated is indeed very important. Even if you have just done a short run, you need to rehydrate after a sweat session. There are calculators online that will help you calculate how much water you need to drink after a run, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. You should generally make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day and then drink some water straight after a run to replenish your body. You can also grab a smoothie or juice and get some sugar in your system to reenergise.

4. Refuel

Just as well as hydrating after a run, it’s important that you replenish your body with proteins and carbohydrates. A well-balanced meal not too long after a run will ensure that your body has exactly what it needs to rebuild your muscles and keep you feeling good and energised even after the runners’ high wears off.

5. Rest and Recover

Now this one is a bit of a luxury, but if you have time, especially after a longer run, a bath works wonders to help your muscles release and relax and begin repairing themselves after your run. The warm water will warm up your muscles and help them relax, and bath salts with magnesium will speed up your recovery significantly. The minerals from the salts will be absorbed through the skin while you’re soaking in the tub and help alleviate the muscle pain and kick start the muscle regeneration.

When you hop out of the bath, you can massage your muscles with a nice body oil to release the toxins that build up in the body after a run, or even better use a China Gel to self-massage, which will keep your muscles warm and help relieve sore and tired muscles.

Find bath salts and China Gel to support your rest and recovery here. 

6. Time to Put Your Feet Up

After a run, you will sometimes build up fluid in your legs and lower body. This pose will help reverse that and overall increase your blood flow, which will aid in the release of toxins from inflamed areas. Try staying in this pose for 3-5 minutes.

Sit sideways next to the wall with a bolster or rolled up blanket behind you.

Swing your feet up against the wall and lay back on the ground.

You can wiggle around and make the stretch suit you.

If your hamstrings feel tight, move further away from the wall, and if your feet are falling to either side, put a belt around your thighs or ankles.

To come out of this pose, tug your knees in towards your chest and roll to your side, push yourself up to a seated position.

7. A Good Night’s Sleep

Whether you are a runner or not, at night is when your body rests and repairs itself, so it’s important that you get a good night’s sleep. Especially after a strenuous run, where your muscles and joints have been under pressure, you need to make sure that you get 7-8 hours of rest.

We’ve created the ideal bedtime ritual for a good night’s sleep here. 

8. Active Recovery

All of the above are about resting and restoring, and while active and recovery might sound contradictory, after a good night’s rest a good way to come back after a long run is to move again! Active recovery gets your blood flowing which will help reduce inflammation and reduces the build up of lactic acid in the muscles. Try these 3 exercises with resistance bands:

Lying Lateral Leg Raise

Do this exercise on both sides.

Lie on your right side and loop the resistance band around your ankles.

Keep both your legs straight and your ankles stacked on top of one another.

Support your head with your right hand and place your left in front of your chest for balance and support.

Slowly lift your left leg up as high as you can, keeping both legs straight the whole way up.

Lower leg back down slowly.

Repeat exercise 10-15 times on each side.

Glute Kick Back

Do this exercise on both legs.

Come onto all fours.

Loop the resistance band around your right ankle and the arch of your left foot.

Lift your left leg and extend the leg straight back.

Straighten the leg as much as you can.

Slowly bring your knee back to the ground.

Repeat exercise 10-15 times on each leg.

Glute Bridges

Lie down on your back and place your feet flat on the ground about hip-width distance.

Loop a resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees.

Squeeze your thighs and glutes and lift your hips towards the sky.

Your feet should be flat on the ground and your knees in a 90°angle when you lift up.

The resistance band should help keep your knees in line with your feet.

Repeat exercise 10-15 times.

 

The Yoga-Mad resistance bands come in 3 different strengths, find them here. 

9. Get the Blood Flowing

Self-massaging is a great way to keep your body healthy and fit, so you’ll be less prone to pain and injuries, and if you do start to notice any soreness or pain after a run, it might mean an area could be inflamed, so it’s a great way to speed up the recovery. Self-massage or myofascial release is applying pressure to soft tissue, which will allow the muscles to relax and improve blood and nutrient flow to an area. Using a massage roller or a spiky ball will allow you to do this at home, without spending fortunes on massage therapy.

 

Find tools for self-massage here. 

10. Take Your Time

Although the endorphins of a good run can be quite addictive, it’s important that you take the time to recover between runs. Your recovery period will be different depending on your normal activity level and the distance of your run, so do your research and listen to your body. Allowing your body to recover will help you avoid injuries and aches, so you can stay on your feet!

 

 

 

 




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