Runners aren’t always the most flexible, but if you can incorporate yoga into your weekly routine you will go a long way to countering any running-related stiffness. Adam Husler, international yoga teacher, shares some useful poses.
“Yoga helped me survive four marathons and a 100k ultramarathon in the space of 28 days,” says Husler, whose home studio is triyoga in London.
“Here are some of the poses I found key to my durability and recovery. Spend as much time as you can in all of them, especially the more passive stretches.”
- Take your bottom shin forward, parallel to your torso, and take your top ankle on top of your bottom knee – make sure it’s your ankle, not your foot, or you’ll end up just twisting the ankle rather than opening your hips.
- Use your hands to encourage your top knee down, towards the bottom ankle.
- You might get nowhere near, but as long as you can feel it, perfect.
- A more accessible option would be to sit on the edge of a block and actually lean slightly back, with your hands behind you.
Foot and Ankle Release
- After spending miles with your ever-swelling toes being squashed together and your ankles taking a pounding on the concrete, part of a runner’s recovery session should be dedicated to these
- In any comfortable position, use your hands to mobilise your ankles and stretch out your toes, if possible spacing your toes out with your ﬁngers.
- Aim to get as much movement in these areas as possible, in every direction.
Legs in the Air
- After hours on your feet, ﬂuids of all sorts will have built up in your legs and the simple action of inverting will fast forward the process of things recirculating.
- For an extra hamstring stretch you can have your legs up a wall, but for something more passive, popping your sacrum on a comfortable object can aid relaxation.
- Enjoy letting your breath slow down, your mind calm and spine decompress.
- Hip ﬂexors are tight for most runners and the psoas is the biggest player in this family
- The key to this stretch is to hug one knee to the chest and let the other leg straighten and go as low as possible, stretching the psoas on that side.
- Using a block can work (as per the photo), but you can also do it on the side of bed or pavement.
- The lower that straight leg can go, the better.
- You’ve probably seen this wonderful hamstring stretch, but try to not get too focused on grabbing your foot or headbutting your knee.
- Sit on the edge of an object to help your pelvis tilt forward, then use your arms to draw your chest forward, without overtly rounding the back.
- Flex your foot to get some extra intensity in the calf stretch.