by Erin Taylor: Taking a few minutes to warm-up pre-run not only optimizes your running ability, but also helps to prevent common pain and injuries…
Lucky for you, yoga can be a great dynamic—not to mention a super efficient— warm-up that addresses your specific needs as a runner. Every time you lace up, use this yoga for runners sequence to get the most out of the miles ahead. Here’s how:
#1 Activate your core and hip stabilizers with Half Moon
The smaller muscles that stabilize your hips (aka keep them from flopping around) sometimes get sleepy because they aren’t so intimately involved with powering your usual, forward-oriented movement. Keeping your hips and core awake will help you to prevent injuries and, ultimately, add power to your stride.
- Step your feet wide apart, with your feet parallel.
- Turn your right thigh out (so that the right foot points to the right) and your left thigh in slightly.
- Lift your left leg up, bringing it parallel to the floor as you tilt your torso forward so that it’s parallel to the floor — balance there or bring your hand to the floor or prop.
- Feel the work happening deep in your hips and then engage your core even more — this will really
- Help your hips keep that leg lifted.
- Push down strongly through your right foot, as if you’re pushing the floor away from you.
- Hold for five to ten deep breaths before switching sides.
#2 Align your stride with Runner’s Lunge
Lunges are key for runners because this classic pose mimics your stride, helping you to strengthen your form and gain valuable insight about where your weak spots are hiding so that you can address them.
- Step your right foot between your hands, making sure the knee is directly over the ankle.
- Bring your hands to your waist, feeling for even space between your ribs and hips on both your right and left sides, then reach your arms overhead.
- Engaging your core, draw your belly away from your front thigh and in toward the spine.
- Engage your glutes.
- Mentally scan your body and relax any areas that are working harder than they need to be (relax your face/jaw/neck).
- Hold for five to ten deep breaths, taking an internal snapshot of this strong, efficient alignment, so that you can recall it when you run.
- Switch sides.
#3 Wake up your butt with Chair
Your glutes are the boss of your “push off.” They’re the power behind your stride. The problem, however, is they’re often lazy and they force muscles like the hamstrings and calves to work harder than they should, which can lead to imbalance and injury.
- Stand with your feet hip’s width apart and parallel.
- Bend your knees to come into a squat with your knees tracking over your ankles.
- Rest your hands on your hips or reach your arms overhead.
- Focus on engaging your quads, hamstrings, and glutes evenly — rather than relaxing your glutes and just sticking your butt out behind you.
- Hold for five to ten deep breaths.