Hi there! Welcome back to Fitness Friday! Last week when we started the beginner 5K program I said I would start to talk about some cross training you can use to improve your running. One of the most important cross training techniques is Yoga. Yoga not only strengthens the mind, but it stretches and strengthens the body and muscles. A lot of muscles that you use when you run.
Did you all do your .5-1 mile runs last week?
This week I want you to set a goal to do 1 - 1.5 mile runs. Try to get in two and then two or three yoga poses after your run to aid in stretching. I prefer to do these stretches or poses the morning after a run. That is something that works for me, every body is different!
The High Lunge is a great stretch pose that not only strengthens your quads and glutes, but stretches your hamstring and hip flexor. This is also a great extension stretch for the low back as you reach up with your arms but lunge into that bent knee. Notice my bent knee is directly over my ankle and the straight knee is stretched; try to reach behind you with that heel of the straight leg.
Warrior pose is one of my favorites! This gets your inner thigh while strengthening your core and quad. You want to be sure you're tucking your pelvis under (push your hips forward) so that you remain in what is called neutral spine.
Pigeon pose (and I apologize I did NOT photograph the beginner variation) is another hammy and hip flexor stretch. To do an easier version you can simple stay up on the palms of your hands instead of coming down onto your elbows. What you cannot see in this image is that the heel of my right foot is at the hip bone of my left leg, creating almost a 4 formation.
Balance poses are important for a number of reasons. Not only do they train your focus, which you'll need if you want to begin to run longer distances. But, they also strengthen those stabilizer muscles in your legs and core. The above move is somewhat advanced, but give it a go!
Tree is my favorite balance pose. This is a simpler one and to simplify further you can lower your bent leg. There are three true positions for tree as far as your feet go; knee as I am above, arch on calf and arch on ankle bone.
Ok, I know I've said the word favorite about a bazillion times already but, I like yoga ok? Down Dog is so important to really stretch and lengthen the back of those legs. You can also get a bit of a workout going from Down Dog to Plank Pose repeatedly! While in down dog you want to be sure your arms and back are straight while you reach your hips to the sky and push your heels deeper into the floor.
Cute yoga and running gear help you stay motivated!! I had to show off the cool electric blue detailing of these pants! The YogaOutlet.com has a lot of really fun and affordable finds in the way of workout gear!
I hope you feel refreshed and recharged after not only running but incorporating yoga into your life and fitness routine! I've definitely felt mind and body benefits and have only been doing it for a short time.
*Disclamer* I share information I have learned by taking yoga classes and by researching. I am not an expert or yoga instructor.