Is it safe to combine yoga and running on the same day? Are you looking to build your core and restore your body after a long run? Follow along below to learn how you can rejuvenate your body and gain the most out of your yoga routines before and after your runs.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- How to use yoga to warm up & condition your core before/after a long run
- How to appropriately fit your yoga and running exercises in throughout your day
- What time works best to practice your favorite yoga pose
- The basics of restorative yoga techniques
- How to safely increase your workout intensity without endangering your health
- 5 post-run yoga stretches to help you cool down after a long run
How does Yoga Help You Warm Up & Condition Your Core?
Before and after all of my best workouts, I have found that the yoga poses I’ve included below have helped me warm up and cool down. In fact, many of my yoga students are also marathon runners and also agree that jumping into any strenuous activity involving running or heavy cardio requires a warmup and cooldown that is designed specifically for runners in mind.
A good yoga routine helps you to activate inactive muscles and condition your core while loosening up before a much needed run. If you don’t take the time to stretch your muscles, build up your intensity, or get your mindset right you may end up with any number of runner’s injuries.
You can do yoga as a warm-up, a cool-down, or a standalone workout!
Did you know that 99.9% of all running injuries are preventable?
Overstretching, running without an adequate warmup, and pushing too hard can cause you to feel aches, pains, and you may end up missing out on week’s worth of workouts that cause you to miss critical progress that you need to meet your running goals.
Just a few minutes of yoga each day can help you prevent the following running injuries:
- Shin splints
- SI joint pain
- IT band pain
- Lower-back pain
- Runner’s Knee
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Stress fractures
In fact, almost all running injuries (including those ones above) can be traced back to one of three things:
- Muscular imbalances
- Muscular tightness
With the right exercises and correct intensity, you can go a long way towards preventing the injuries above. Stretching and moving your body for just a few minutes per day in the right way can address the root causes of these issues and prevent further runner’s injuries.
Why Is Restorative Yoga Important For Runners?
After a long and active run, including if you incorporate yoga and running in on the same day, you’ll want to return to a relaxed, peaceful state where your body’s muscles are back to their pre-workout state. Restorative yoga helps with reducing soreness, preventing over-trainingrelated injuries, and for helping with sleep and recovery.
Restorative yoga is actually the opposite of running: long, deep stretches focusing on building up long holds, stillness, and deep breathing. I always tell my students that restorative yoga is best fit in a day when you combine yoga and running in the same day because it is focused on calmness and feeling the stretch. Restorative yoga’s intensity is almost the polar opposite of the more active and rapid vinyasa or Bikram styles.
Benefits of Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga helps you to:
- Relax your body and renew your mind
- Cool down your strained muscles
- Recover from a long run
- Sooth your nervous system and revitalize your body’s core
Restorative Yoga Pose #1: Standing Backbend
Standing backbend is an amazing pose to open your chest and strengthen your spine, which prevents back injuries. It also helps release tension in the neck and shoulders, which is great for men because the upper body is where we tend to hold our tension
Some of the major benefits of Standing backbend include:
- Helps with your respiratory system for long, deeper, full breathes
- Stimulates the sympathetic nervous system
- Realign the vertebrae
Restorative Yoga Pose #2: Forward Fold
One of my most favorite restorative yoga poses is the Forward Fold. If you’re not familiar with these, a forward fold is when you reach down and try to touch your toes. (The key word here might be “try”.) The thing is, almost everybody does it incorrectly – and it’s especially common in inflexible guys who haven’t done yoga much.
The video tutorial above will teach you the importance of an engaged core and a flat back in your forward fold and how you can restore your body after a long run or strenuous workout. You’ll learn how to properly stretch and strengthen the muscles that work with the spine so you’re not just letting the spine relax and inadvertently reinforcing what you do while sitting.
Major benefits of the Forward Fold pose include:
- Stretches the hips, hamstrings, and calves.
- Allows you to build strength in your thighs and knees
- Rejuvenates your muscles and maintains your body’s muscle tone
If you are interested in learning more about restorative yoga and other rejuvenating poses, check out the Man Flow Yoga YouTube channel.
When Is the Best Time To Do Yoga?
For most people, morning is the best time to incorporate yoga and running into your day because it is when your motivation and your willpower is at its highest and after you complete your routine, you’ll feel better off and ready to complete a long run with ease.
Your morning yoga session is most often more active and helps you build momentum while an evening yoga session is more geared towards ending your day with reflection and mindfulness. Fitting in running and yoga on the same day is perfect alongside a powerful Savasana (Corpse Pose) as well as the yoga poses I’ve listed below.
Is It Safe To Stack Your Workouts?
You can also do yoga/run on the same day as long as you are spreading them apart enough. So you can do yoga/running in the morning, and then whichever one you didn’t do in the afternoon or evening.
You shouldn’t stack workouts, meaning you shouldn’t do two intense workouts back to back – BUT – you can do a restorative yoga session after a run, or an intense but shorter yoga workout as a warm-up before a run.
Calibrating Your Core: Cardio or Yoga?
Cardio is one of the most critical parts of a runner’s exercise routine and yoga maintains its place alongside it.
Benefits of an effective cardio workout for men include:
- Cardio workouts help to increase blood flow and decrease risk of stroke
- Lowers your risk for Alzhemers disease
- Cardio workouts lower your blood pressure
- You can easily fit cardio along with yoga and running in the same day
Drawbacks of cardio workouts can include:
- Improperly executed cardio workouts can damage your muscles
- Cardio workouts not begun with even minor yoga routines can cause lasting damage
- Daily cardio can lead to physical and mental exhaustion
- Overtraining including packing too many workouts along with yoga and running in the same day can lead to injury
Full Body Yoga for Runners & Endurance Athletes
Full body yoga allows you the chance to build endurance and exercise all of your body’s muscles. Whether you are an olympic athlete training to ebay your personal best or a runner looking to improve your lap time, the video below will help you build endurance and speed in your routine.
Are You Safely Increasing Your Workout Intensity?
Are you combining yoga and running on the same day? Be sure to be careful to avoid increasing your workout intensity too fast and without following a structured scale up and cool down technique.
Dangers of increasing your workout intensity without following a structured scale up and cool down technique include:
- Soreness and muscle damage that may last for days or weeks
- Torn ligaments or broken bones
- Burnout and demotivation can occur
Be sure to remember to practice these post-run yoga stretches when deciding if you should do yoga and running on the same day!
5 Post-Run Yoga Stretches To Help You Cool Down After a Long Run When Combining Yoga and Running on the Same Day
Are you ready to learn how you can use yoga to help you cool down after a long run? The 5 stretches below are my personal favorite stretches for after a run. They will help you improve mobility, reduce your risk of injury, recover more quickly, and (over time) even make you a better runner! Watch the video or scroll down to read the full description for my 5 best post-run stretches for runners.
Inset video from https://manflowyoga.com/blog/best-post-run-stretches/
#1 – Reclined Quadriceps Stretch
The reclined quadriceps stretch is a fantastic post-running stretch for runners that helps to prevent knee injury, relieve tightness in the knees and thighs, and reduce soreness the next day. It speeds up your recovery, so you can get back to running more quickly, and it ultimately builds the potential strength in your quadricep for more endurance, faster miles, and a smoother ride! Hold for 45-60 seconds on both sides for the best results.
#2 – Half Split
Half split is one of my favorites for after a run, because in addition to stretching your hamstrings and calves (this would be enough if these two were the only benefits!) it also helps to relieve tightness in your spine. This helps to relieve lower-back discomfort or pain caused by the pound and ground of stride after stride, whether you run on the pavement, grass, trail, or treadmill. This one is essential to taking care of your ankles, knees, hips, and spine! Make sure to keep your chest upright for this one. Hold for 45-60 seconds on both sides.
#3 – Pigeon
Pigeon is a fantastic run for helping to reduce pressure or discomfort in your lower back caused by hip tightness. It’s a stretch that most runners don’t do, but a surprisingly regular culprit of lower-back pain. Pigeon targets your external hip rotators (your glutes, or your butt muscles), and this is important because your external hip rotators affect the feeling of tightness in your lower-back. Stretch these muscles, and you reduce the pressure caused by these muscles pulling on your lower-back. Great for after any workout – not just running! And an awesome cure for lower-back pain in general. Do pigeon on both sides for 45-60 seconds.
#4 – Lizard Helps You Stretch After Doing Yoga and Running on the Same Day
This stretch is all about your hip flexors. As runners, we tend to get tight in the hips from the repetitive stride. You can be very fast, strong runner, and STILL have tight hips. Stretching your hip flexors allows you to keep these important muscles that connect your legs to your spine happy, and using the lizard position shown here helps you get an even deeper, more satisfying stretch. Try it out! You can use any prop you have handy to help get your chest higher off the ground, and thus get a better stretch for the hip flexor. Hold lizard for a minimum of 45 seconds, and up to 90 seconds.
#5 – Wide-legged Forward Fold (with groin stretches)
This combo is great for helping to stretch the muscles that connect to your hips and spine. Starting in a wide-legged position with forward fold, slowly bent into one knee while keeping the other straight, and then switch every few seconds or so. This helps to stretch your inner thighs, groin, spine, and even your ankles! Doing this will help you take care of every joint in your body from the waist-down, and will also help you get back to running more quickly by speeding up your recovery time. Spend a minimum of 60 seconds in this pose, and up to 90 seconds.
Looking For A Program? Start Yoga Today!
If you’re interested in starting a yoga program with Man Flow Yoga to gain strength, flexibility, and mobility, BUT don’t know where to start, we got you covered!. Give our FREE 7-Day Trial a try. Sign-up below!
Additional Resources After Doing Yoga and Running on the Same Day
- Video 1: 5-Stretch Running Warm-up
- Video 2: 15-minute yoga for runners
- Video 3: Cool down stretch techniques
Note: You’ll have to scroll down to the appropriate section on the page to view the workout!