Your definitive guide to using yoga as the extra edge for an injury free marathon
By Matt Miller founder Broga® fitness yoga
I will never forget working with two Olympic running coaches on one of our training camps. They started off their run workshop with this lightbulb moment saying ,"No one ever taught you to run".
"Wow. You are right!", I thought.
And the truth is simply, no, we are never taught to run (save for those who have had competition/team coaching as a youth ) and completely take for granted that something which is actually incredibly technical is left to chance.
Moving forward in life our amazing bodies adapt to the faults we have created and does the best it can to account for them.
This would probably be fine, but what if you love running and really get into it! A 10k here and there, or maybe even that goal of completing a marathon! So compound a latent running fault with increased and more extensive training and you now have a recipe for over-tension and injury.
You probably never thought of yoga as a means to help improve your running technique but it can do just that. Learning and building strength with correct biomechanical technique allows for a greater propensity for the continued application of correct movement when faced with repetitive footfall force and endurance fatigue. Let's look at the top three typical running complaints and some yoga solutions to aid in problem solving these areas.
This is such a touch one to address on your own or even with physio. But increasing the stabiliser muscles of the feet under isometric tension are significantly aided by yoga balancing postures like Vrkasana and Warrior 3. Try to build up enough stamina to correctly hold these postures for 5-10 slow deep breaths.
If you suffer from knee pain the last thing you want to do is avoid it until it needs a surgical option. Perfecting knee alignment and hip/knee torsion in yoga practice puts the correct tension on the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. And building endurance with a correct isometric alignment flows out to a greater chance of landing a repetitive footfall while maintaining that correct alignment. Try Warrior 2 and Malasana for again, 5-10 slow deep breaths on each side.
Lower back pain
This area for runners is generally not a back problem at all , but instead a result of tight and overlooked hamstrings. Increased flexibility in the hamstrings dramatically relieves the pectineus (which connects back of pubic bone under to side of femur and can pull lower spine into overextension) To see if this is accurate or not, just find yourself in Downward dog and
Uttanasana. Simply see how far off you are from achieving the ideal positioning. Now spend at least a full minute working on the micro adjustments to get it closer and closer to what the photo looks like!
Trying these 6 yoga positions won't be fun or perfect at the start. It might even be a little painful. Stay with it - it gets better. Devote just 10 minutes every morning when you wake up or before your run. I promise you will be amazed at how your body opens up and how noticeably it will help your runs.