Running paired with yoga is the combination you never knew you needed! And here’s why…

Yoga is renowned for increasing flexibility and strength. You might not think this is important when you set off to do your 5k run as you’ve probably stretched for 5 minutes beforehand. But only when you start practising yoga regularly do you really notice the benefits, especially when running.

A few key benefits of yoga are:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased strength
  • Better posture
  • Improves balance
  • Prevents joint and cartilage breakdown
  • Mental health benefits

For a full list of benefits, view Yoga Journal’s blog post here.

Having always wanted to start doing yoga, I decided to take it up about 7 months ago. The studio I go to is HotpodYoga in Taunton and it’s absolutely perfect for me. The instructors are incredible, and the atmosphere in the pod is so relaxing – I come out feeling amazing. I have never once left the studio feeling stressed or anxious and I urge everyone to try yoga at least once.

I am very much still a beginner but I’ve already started to notice the benefits significantly, specifically on my legs. Just over a year ago, I was training for my third half marathon. Despite training for 2 months, every run was a painful struggle. Even though I stretched for at least 10 minutes before and after my runs, I still had tightness in my calfs that was so bad that I would constantly have to stop and stretch. Because I hate not achieving my goals (and probably because I’m a bit silly), I decided to push through and go ahead with the Bideford Half Marathon, which was a hilly coastal route. It came to no surprise that it was a significant struggle and my finishing time was 20 minutes slower than my first and second half marathons… I remember running on a part of the Tarka Trail and I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping and stretching. In all fairness, I most likely had pulled my calfs during training and that was the issue, however it was an ongoing problem from day one, leading me to think that general tightness was the issue.

Then I had a break from running and decided to take up yoga a few months later. I wanted to start yoga to aid with strength training and because it was something I knew I just had to do. At the time, I wasn’t really thinking about how it would help with running. Then, earlier this year, I started to train for my fourth half marathon (which did not happen thanks to COVID-19). And behold, I experienced NO PAIN AT ALL. I aim to do yoga 3 times per week and the style varies between vinyasa yoga and restorative yoga – both of which I absolutely love.

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Having continued with running for the past 4 months without any pain at all, it is obvious to me that yoga is a must-do for runners. It is so rewarding to see my pace improve, along with my flexibility, and know that I’m not doing my body any harm. As someone who now runs 5 days per week, it is reassuring to know that through yoga, I’m helping my muscles and joints. The mental health benefits are also incredibly significant – there is something about going for a run outside in the sun and then unwinding with a yoga session that will just put you in the best mood ever.

If you want to try doing yoga, a good starting point is to watch YouTube videos – I find Boho Beautiful and Yoga with Adrienne good accounts to follow. Alternatively, you can pay for a monthly subscription to online classes through various providers, which is handy during lockdown.

I hope you found this blog post useful. Feel free to leave a comment!

I’ve also launched a YouTube channel, which you can view here.

Have a good day! 💖