News - 7th August 2018

Yoga for parkrunners

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All it takes is a quick internet search of “yoga for runners/walkers” to find a multitude of articles, guides and even videos about how practicing yoga is beneficial to runners and walkers.

In a recent parkrun UK newsletter, Intersport (one of parkrun UK’s partners) shared some great information we think will be useful to you, whether you’re an aspiring runner, running veteran or walker. Though the article is geared toward runners, all of the same information applies to walkers!

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How Yoga can support running training 

We are all guilty of bypassing stretching before or after a run – or at least not doing as much as we probably should. Yoga and running are very good friends, and we’re here to shed light on the benefits that yoga offers to runners. By integrating yoga into your routine, you will gain flexibility and strength, reduce the risk of injury and improve your overall running performance. The great thing is, it’s easy to do at home, in the garden, on the beach – or wherever you find yourself this summer! So down dog at the ready, read on…

Integrate yoga into your routine to improve your running training

Plenty of runners forego proper stretching to hit the road as soon as possible. A common mistake made by many, skipping your pre- and post-run stretching may seem like a good idea at the time, but could lead to injury in the future. Yoga is an excellent practice to bring that all-important stretch element back into your training and help keep your muscles flexible and strong.

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Why every runner should do yoga

Let’s face it, as much as we love lacing up our running shoes and hitting the road, adding new techniques to the routine can be a welcome change. Integrating yoga as a supplement to your running routine has great benefits.

Here are a few:

  • Yoga’s stretch element helps overcome muscle tightness. As all runners know, tight hamstrings and Achilles tendons can be a real challenge. Yoga can help lengthen these areas of the body with the result that potential injuries can be prevented. Added bonus: lengthening key areas such as these increases your stride length.
  • Practicing yoga also helps you tune into new muscles and muscle groups. This added muscle training will help support the predominant muscles you use while running.
  • Yoga trains your breathing which can increase lung capacity – and therefore endurance – during long-distance runs.
  • Yoga lengthens and strengthens muscles.
  • Yoga increases flexibility.

Recommended yoga poses for boosting flexibility and strength

If you have an urge to train but it is a rest day in your running schedule, yoga is a fantastic way to stay active while giving your tired muscles a break. We recommend trying these yoga poses for starters:

Downward dog: This pose stretches the hamstrings, Achilles tendon, plantar fascia of the feet, calves, spine, back muscles, shoulders and neck – to name a few.

Sun salutation: The sun salutation stretches and strengthens nearly every area of the body. It takes a few tries to master, but once you’ve got the hang of it the effects can be felt almost immediately. The rhythmic nature of this sequence also helps you focus on your breathing.

Forward folds: Forward folds are not only a great stretch for the legs, hips and lower back, they also activate the parasympathetic nervous system to help calm your mind and body while deepening your breath.

Yoga is an excellent complement to your running routine

If running is your #1 passion, you don’t need to swap your running shoes for a yoga mat. However, integrating some simple exercises into your routine will create tremendous benefits in your body for your upcoming runs. Namaste, parkrunners!

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If you’re interested in exploring yoga poses in a class setting, there may be an opportunity at the same park your local parkrun is held! Attending other events at your local park helps build community, spreads the word about parkrun (because we’re sure you’ll encourage the other folks at yoga class to come) and gives you even more opportunity to spend time engaging in healthy physical activity. We suggest inviting one of your fellow parkrunners (or two, or 10) to build on the friendships we see budding each Saturday morning.

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  • In Richmond, Virginia at Deep Run Park and in College Park, Maryland at Acredale Park (where parkrun starts and ends at each, free, seasonal yoga classes are held directly following parkrun.
  • If you happen to run at Clermont Waterfront, that park hosts free Sunday Sunset Yoga in the fall and winter.
  • Jamaica Pond, which currently hosts the only weekly parkrun in the Boston area, also hosts weekly free yoga sessions on Sundays, though theirs are throughout the summer and in the afternoon.
  • Magic Island Park in Charleston, West Virginia has free yoga two days a week in the mornings (and who wouldn’t want to spend as much time as possible in a place called “Magic Island”)?
  • The venues for Aspen and Anacostia parkruns also host yoga classes, although they aren’t free.

With a little bit of research you’re likely to find an option that works with your schedule and budget and you can see if yoga helps improve your next parkrun experience.

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