Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Final Stretch

This marathon training cycle has been really tough! Even though Becky said she wasn't going to change it up much from last year, she tried some different activities with me and I have felt it! There have been a couple of weeks where I have been incredibly sore for days after a workout with her; other weeks where my legs were really fatigued. I know she did this to train me to run all 26.2 miles on tired legs. But I won't lie--I'm glad to be in the taper portion of marathon training. Now is the time for my legs to absorb all the great work we did the last 10 weeks.

But taper doesn't mean rest, and with my training plan, I do an active taper. I'll continue to log miles and go to CrossFit.

I'll also continue with what has been a game saver for me...yoga.

This isn't the first post I've written that I've gushed about the benefits of yoga for my running. You know that I've been doing yoga for almost as long as I've been running. But for some reason with this training cycle, I've relied more on yoga than ever to help me recover from those tough workouts and long runs. I've also been battling with plantar fasciitis, and I credit yoga with keeping me on the road.

Yes, yoga.

I've been doing my weekly yoga class at the studio where I practice. After my long runs, I do my own Yoga for Runners routine. This routine is chock full of hip and hamstring openers. But if I had to pick 5 key moves for recovery, which poses would I choose?

Oooh, this is tough....and it was after Sunday's long run. I took all these pictures after that run to show you just how beneficial yoga is for runners! After I did these poses, my feet felt better and my legs felt looser. The first attempt at each pose was not easily done, in fact, it was quite painful! But once things opened up, I felt that "ahhhhhh"....

Most importantly for this runner,  downward dogs stretch out my achilles, my calves, my feet, and my hamstrings. I do them frequently and I do them often. I can't get my heels to the floor, never have, but with every DD I do, I get a little bit closer. Hey, a gal can dream, right?

Downward dog. It's not pretty, but it's effective.
I like low lunge for the hip flexors. I push as far forward as I can until I feel that stretch up the front of my quad. If you want to deepen the quad stretch, you can reach back for the foot and pull it towards your buns.
Low lunge
Low lunge with quad stretch
Pigeon is a perpetual favorite of runners. There are a lot of varieties, but the traditional version, face down, is most easily done after a run. Here I am starting upright, but I did go down to the mat.
Half pigeon with backbend
Half pigeon with quad stretch
Hero is another favorite of mine. If you can't sit between your legs, slide a brick under your bottom until your hips open up. If you feel really brave and want to get those quads involved, you can lie back into a backbend. Again, you can prop a brick under your back until you open up enough to lay flat on the ground.
Reclining hero
Legs up the wall is great after a long run. This inversion promotes venous return and opens the hamstrings.
Legs up the wall. Best. pose.ever.
My friend Beth formerly of Running with the Sunrise, now with her newly rebranded blog Sublimely Fit, is working on a yoga for runners video! But until that is ready, you can participate in her 14 day yoga challenge. Every day, Beth will send you a pose complete with instructions and modifications. There's no reason not to do it. If you want to participate, click here (affiliate link). I did this, and it was great. If this old runner can keep racking up the miles and pushing her limits, you can too...all you need is a little stretch....

Yoga for Runners

Do you do yoga? What are your favorite poses for recovery?


  1. I just saw a wonderful article in my fitness journal about essential yoga pose for runners. I will send it to you when I find it. However, I think you hit all of them that was presented in the article.