Yoga is for Running

When I trained for and ran first marathon back in 2007/2008, I didn’t really know what I was doing.  This is evident by the horrible IT Band issues I suffered.  As a result, come race day my feet were left bloodied as I limped across the finish line.

My shoes and socks after the race.  Try not to barf.

My shoes and socks after the race. Try not to barf.

Since then I have learned a ton about how to stay healthy when running all these miles.  Today I will share one – Yoga.  Yoga is excellent for runners, in my experience.

At a recent practice at Lululemon.  I may or may not be following along too closely.

At a recent practice at Lululemon. Cat, cow, whatever.

Strength – Runners need to cross-train so they can exercise muscles other than the ones they use when running.  You don’t want to create any imbalances and luckily Yoga works out all the muscles.  From toes to brain.  In particular, it works the core, which you need to do everything from grabbing a jar from the cupboard, to running a marathon.

Flexibility (Letting go) – Most of us could use some more flexibility.  Our muscles get tight, not only from running, but also from life.  This can lead to injury.  Yoga helps stretch us out.  As one instructor put it, “We are not creating flexibility, we are letting go of tension.”  Good way to think of it.

Breathing – Yoga is all about your breath.  As one instructor told me, “Breath is life, without it there is no life.”  Besides different breathing techniques, I’ve learned how important my breath is in yoga, and how many different parts of the breath there are.  I apply it to my running – when things get tough, I try to calm my breath.

Endurance – Runners are supposed to have endurance, but I’m reminded each practice that we could always gain more.  Tell me to run 5 miles, fine.  Tell me to hold an up-on-toes chair pose for 45 seconds, we may have issues.

Mental – Runners are mentally tough, but yoga helps our wills get stronger.  At a recent practice we were in a difficult pose and everyone was shaking and falling out of it.  The instructor said, “When you lose your concentration, that’s when you fall.”  This totally applies to running.  Focus, Danielson!

In the Moment – To me, this is the hardest part.  In yoga you’re supposed to stay in the moment.  You’re not supposed to be thinking about what you’re going to do after class, your grocery list, etc.  This helps me in running, when things get hard, I remember to take it one step at a time.  You don’t want to be thinking how much further you have to go!

I’ve done yoga at different studios, gyms, living rooms, sporting goods stores, and even one time in a train station.  I mentioned earlier how I’ve been going to Lululemon yoga sessions – well the other day I saw this written on the store window…

Yes, yes it is.

Yes, yes it is.

So there you have it, a quick overview of one of the ways I stay healthy for running – Yoga.

How bout you?  Do you do yoga?  For yourself or for running (or both)?  Did my shoes/socks make you barf?

– Scott


Categories: Running, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 81 Comments

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81 thoughts on “Yoga is for Running

  1. Couple of comments here: first, sweep the leg! Second, don’t you ever post a bloody sock pic again without putting a warning BEFORE the pic…I had food in my mouth. Third, I’ve only done yoga three times but plan on spending the next few months hitting all the downward dogs I can muster, because it is a wonderful complement to running (it was just hard to do for awhile with my PF!)

    • Get him a body bag!
      Ha, sorry! I’m sure it will make a return in future posts though. There, you’re warned.
      Good luck on your 4th class and beyond!

  2. Just lost my lunch.

  3. So true!! I absolutely love the window!!! Runners should really practice yoga! It has done wonders for me!! I agree that the mental aspect of yoga can be challenging at times because I’m constantly thinking about what’s next! Also I find that when the going gets tough (during run & swim workouts/races/when I’m tried), yoga really helps me (mentally)!

    • Thanks! I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed that window before. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. That’s great that it’s helped you like it’s helped me. I’m constantly thinking of little things I learned in yoga on my runs! And I can tell a difference if I skip a week!

  4. Oh my gosh, I have never seen anything like that before…I didn’t even know you could bleed that badly from blisters! I struggle with yoga because I have a hard time being simultaneously active and relaxed, I get twitchy quickly and want to switch to something more fast-paced.

    • Ha, it was awful! I noticed they were bleeding around mile 14, but was afraid to stop at a medical tent in case they’d make me quit the race.
      I know what you mean, and it took me years to learn this, but it really can be an aerobic workout if you’re doing all the breathing correctly – usually each movement comes with an inhale or exhale, if you can follow that it does get you out of breath at times.

  5. Holy bloody socks!!
    I learned SO much from my first marathon…and I totally agree yoga is so great for running. You work a lot of your body you wouldn’t cover doing other types of cross training.

    • Haha, at least they’re not holey bloody socks!
      I’m glad it’s helped you too! I always notice when in a one legged pose, for example, how my toes and ankle are working to stabilize me. I know that kind of work will only benefit running!

  6. Um – gross. I think I would have taken my shoes off and given up if my feet looked that bad lol.

    I LOVE yoga and have just started making it a regular part of my routine. It really believe that it will make a huge difference in my running – especially because I am not very flexible at all. Yoga class is my favorite time of the week. I love being “in the moment” and taking that time just to focus on what we are doing in the room.

    • Ha, sorry. When my feet starting hurting half way or so through (like I had stepped on fire), I pulled off to the side and looked in my shoes. It was scary seeing all the blood, but I’m glad I kept going!

      Wait, you’re Asian and you’re just now starting yoga?!?! 😉
      That’s great that you’re enjoying it so much. I always feel better mentally and physically afterwards. It really puts me in a good mood. PS, I’m not flexible either, but it’s a journey!

  7. Yes your gnarly shoes make me want to barf.
    And yes as you know I do yoga and I absolutely agree with everything you said. Awesome post, my friend!

  8. Wow that’s a lot of blood, crazy! I’ve lucked out and have maybe dealt with a blister or two on my feet since I started running but that’s it so far.

    Yes! Such a great review of yoga! I missed my yoga class for several weeks in a row because I had to work and I noticed a big difference-my leg muscles were so much more tense and sore!

    • Well, my IT hurt so bad in training that I found it hurt less so on the elliptical, so I would do many hours on that. Problem was that my feet weren’t used to the pounding. Ouch!

      Thank you so much! I hope you get back to your class soon! I know what you mean, if I ever miss a week or two, I can really tell a difference!

  9. Thank you for reminding me to get back to yoga. I try to do yoga but it always is the first thing I forget to do. I’ve never had that experience with my running sneakers before….soccer cleats yes but never to that extent!
    PS – I feel sick now …. 😉

    • Glad I could help. Set a reminder on your phone or something! 😉 Hmmm, I’ve never had bloody soccer cleats, so you got me there. Sorry for your illness. haha

  10. I hope your feet are feeling better. When I first saw that photo, my first thought was, “Who did you murder with your feet?!?!!!”

    • Oh yes, this was back in 2008. Though I did lose a toenail training for Dopey that isn’t all the way back yet.
      Hahaha, The newspapers were calling me “The Foot Strangler of ’08”

  11. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I get really excited when other runners understand how yoga can benefit their running, but honestly you REALLY get it! Most runners are like, “oh, I get it, stretching”, but it’s SO much more than that! (I’m actually working on a similar post, so you’ll see that soon!)

    I especially like your “In the Moment”. Just last week I wrote a post about being present on my mat during yoga, but you know what, this made me realize that I don’t do the same with my running! I am always thinking about how much I have left, what I’m going to do when I’m done, etc. Thank you for pointing this out, something I need to focus on during my next runs! (And I’m thinking this may inspire another post…)

    • Thank you so much!!! You are exactly right – they just think we’re in there stretching and relaxing. No way. Can’t wait to see your post!

      They do stress it in yoga, but not too many people mention in in running. Like you, most people think about how far they have to go – which, in my experience, can kind of beat you down. I like to tell myself, ‘one more step’ over and over when I hit a rough patch, and it helps keep me going.
      Thank you for the kind words, especially coming from such an inspirational person!

  12. What in the world made your socks and shoes that bloody? Blisters? EW!

    I quit doing Yoga for awhile but after my SI joint injury started up again. I’m finding it really helps with my upper body (something us runners often neglect) and core strength.

    • Blisters and chaffing. Ew indeed.

      I agree! It works all kind of core, but also the rest of the upper body. And I believe strong shoulders are important to runners!

  13. Jeanette

    Awesome post! Yoga has been the single most important thing that I’ve added to my running. It has made such a difference, and I love feeling strong! Wish more people would understand that yoga is so much more than just stretching.

    • Thanks Jeanett!!! That’s great that it’s helping you! Yes, most people think we’re doing soothing relaxing stretches, and not working our tails off!

  14. I couldn’t agree more with this – I used to teach yoga while during my university studies, and have been practising it ever since. I must admit that I rarely do a fully planned session these days, but I stretch virtually every day. In ten years of running, I’ve had some niggles, but have never been sidelined by injury, and I’m sure all the stretching has a thing or two to do with that!

    • You used to teach it? Very cool! Yes, I’m convinced it’s helped keep me injury free recently. And I do incorporate the poses into my pre and post run warm up and stretching. I’m sure it helps you too!

  15. I was eating when I read this post! That’s a scary picture! I’ve meaning to try yoga, like real yoga and not just the stretches I found online, but classes are weird in the area and I can’t seem to make one work:(.

    • Sorry about your food! Haha
      Yes, I’ve done DVD’s before, but it’s different when you’re there. It’s more of a flow from one pose to another, rather than just a series of stretches, if that makes sense. I’ve been to some weird (like really weird breathing exercises) classes too, but I try to just go with their flow.

  16. Those bloody socks are both so gross and yet so awesome. I am certain that if I took my socks off and saw that I would sit in amazement and sick pride for awhile to watch. We runners are sick. Yoga is a great one for runners. I say this as I sit injured and wish I would start heeding my own advice!

    • Haha, thank you! I actually kept them for years. I thought about framing them as an ode to determination, but eventually thought it was gross and threw them away. Yes we are sick. Haha!
      Ha, well when I hurt my knee on a fall a few months ago, the first activity I tried after I felt better was walking…then yoga. It helped bring me back!

  17. OMG your socks!!! Poor feet! Glad you found something that works for preventing injuries.

  18. I have never seen socks like that after running! Oh wait after anything. WOW. I feel for you.
    I went to yoga today at lunch. I was feeling a bit tired but wanted to do something. It was perfect and I know my body is thanking me for it. I do it for my body and for running. I know it will be happier for it.
    I like you though struggle to not wander from where I am and just stay in the moment.

    Not sure why but I haven’t been seeing your posts. I am behind.

    • Ha, thanks! I definitely earned that medal!!!
      Good for you and your yoga-lunch! Yes, I agree, it makes me happier too!
      Yes, that is the toughest part. And if I skip a week, I can tell then next class how much harder it is to stay focused.
      Hmm, I hope it’s not getting lost. I need to catch up on yours too!

      • I used to get them to my email but for some reason they aren’t showing up. I will have to figure out what is going on.

        Good thing we are on Twitter and Instagram 🙂

        Have a great day!

      • Hmm, weird. Yes, good thing for other social media!
        You have a great one too!

  19. I was really good with yoga for a while, but have been slacking on it lately. I really should get back in to it.

  20. Great post! I love what the one instructor said about flexibility.
    I could definitely do more yoga, but I try to do it once a week. At least it’s a start. But you may have inspired me to try practicing more often!
    The bloody socks and shoes didn’t scare me away! I have had that one more than one occasion, but only on one foot at a time!
    I’m impressed you stuck with it after that!

    • Thanks! Yes, when he said that I started thinking about it and then I realized the muscles we were stretching in my leg were flexing and resisting the stretch. When I let it go, then I was able to move more.
      I think once a week is great. I do the same – but lately I’ve been thinking of adding more sessions. I really do love the benefits. I’m glad I could help inspire you!
      Ha, I already knew how tough you are! Thanks, I was afraid to stop thinking the medics would put me on a bus, so I kept going!

  21. Once I have a little more time on my hands (will that EVER happen with twins? I hope so) I will enroll in some yoga classes! I’ve wanted to do it for a long time.

    A little yes. I hope your feet healed quickly!

    • I can’t imagine getting any free time with twins! I hoe you’re able to find a way though!

      Ha, sorry! Actually I felt ok the next day. Not sure why.

  22. Couldn’t agree more! Yoga such a great way to train your body and mind. For me though I had to find the right teacher to really get the most out of it.

    And your sock pic is totally gross! I can’t believe you finished a marathon in those.

    • Yes! Agreed!
      I also had to find an instructor I liked, but sadly my gym membership ran out and I didn’t renew. But, these lululemon classes have a new instructor each week, so it’s been great to see the variety!

      Yes, it was pretty nasty. It was also scary to see halfway through a marathon! Got it done tho!

  23. Awesome post! I totally agree that yoga is great for runners! It’s my goal to get more in this month!

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  25. GAG! Yoga is great for runners, and is also often more challenging than running. I don’t have the mental patience for it myself-I think the in the moment stuff is what gets me most. That, and my competitive nature just don’t gel with the mindset for yoga. And that’s OK.

    • Ha!
      Yes, it is great. And it does take focus, which can be hard to do – especially when there’s people falling, grunting, or ladies whale tails are showing. 😉
      It’s not supposed to be competitive, but kind of like running, I do try to best myself (and maybe a few others in the room)

  26. TartanJogger

    I know how good yoga is for runners, I’m so inflexible, maybe I really should think more seriously about doing more of it (or any, actually)!

    • Ha, yes, give it a go. I’m still not flexible, but I’m definitely more so than I would be if I didn’t go. If that makes sense.

  27. I’ve always hated yoga, but lately (just in the last few weeks), I have been experimenting with it as a way to cross-train for and recover from running. I’ve just been doing videos at home, but I’m starting to like it more because I can see the benefits. I agree that yoga is a great complement to running and I’m planning to do some either today or tomorrow. 🙂

    • Yay! Welcome to the dark side…er uh, the bright side? Yes, it is so beneficial in so many ways. And I can see how it’s helped my running. There’s nothing worse than being an injured runner, and so I try to do all I can to prevent it! Have fun in your practice!

  28. Right with you on this one my friend. Yoga is one of my favorite ways to relax and rejuvinate while feeling like I’ve done physical activity for the day. It’s makes everything physically feel better and clears my mind. I definitely yoga for myself and my running. 🙂

    • Thanks LGRS! Exactly! You do get a peace of mind while still getting your sweat on! Yes, totally agree – I always feel better after class!!!

  29. The bloody socks and shoes really capture how absolutely horrible that race was, OUCH!!!!!!!!!

    I couldn’t agree with you more regarding yoga. The mental thing was hard for me too!!

    • It was a loooooong painful day. Afterwards I couldn’t walk, it was rough for sure!

      Yes! Like you, I find the hardest part is the mental aspect! Keep up your good yoga-ing!

  30. Those shoe and socks look awful! I really enjoy yoga too. I haven’t been to yoga for a couple months now, your post is reminding me why I should go back!

  31. missadventuresinrunning

    I’ve just started going to yoga! The trickiest part for me in the breathing. I really have to focus on it. I love the stretching though!

    • Yes, the instructors always talk about the breathing, but it’s easy to ignore them. Once I started trying to match the breath with each movement, it really changed my yoga world!

  32. I love yoga and how it helps my running. I do heated yoga, and I think it also helps me with dealing with running in higher temperatures too.

    And please, that bloody sock picture is very traumatizing for me.

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  34. I don’t practice yoga but I totally believe it helps with running! The only reason I don’t practice is lack of time and money right now. As soon as this house situation is over with, I’ll have more free time. And yes, I threw up in my mouth a little bit even though I’ve seen that photo before.

    • You don’t practice yoga, but I thought you were Asian?!?! 😉 Luckily this Lululemon class is free! I understand the whole housepoor situation. Then there’s the whole babypoor stage. Ugh. As for the throw up #sorrynotsorry

  35. Socks = Grody
    I have had two back surgeries and resigned myself to a lifetime of chronic back pain at 35 years old. Running back then? Not even possible without oodles of pain. Then I discovered power yoga. I have been pain-free for years now. And, yes, I am back to running. I swear by it.

    • Oh really? I didn’t know that. That’s so cool! I wish more people knew the power of yoga. I even had a runner friend the other day say she might join me cause ‘she needs a good stretch after a hard week of workouts’. Um, she doesn’t know what she’s in for! Haha. But yes, I really do attribute yoga to helping me be able to do all that I do!

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