Tight hamstrings, sore calves, achy knees, an uncooperative IT band—you name it, runners have been there.
Aches and pains aren't uncommon for runners, and one way to ease them—and improve your overall performance—is to practice yoga regularly.
But should you head to yoga class right before going for a jog or run? That one's up for debate.
Let's talk about it.
Here's why a regular yoga practice is a good idea for runners.
A number of factors go into being a strong runner. Taking daily action to prevent injuries is huge, good balance is important, and a strong core is vital. The ability to breathe evenly should also being taken into account, as some of us hold our breath when we're stressed out without realizing it.
Practicing Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, and various other styles of yoga is an amazing way to keep your muscles flexible, strong, and mobile. All those tree poses and arm balances are great for balance and core strength, and practicing breathwork will make even breathing second nature.
"Light yoga will stretch tight muscles and loosen up stiff joints that would otherwise be compromised," Dr. Alicia Armitstead tells mbg."[Practicing yoga regularly] will therefore decrease the risk of injury during running. "
So, should you do yoga right before you run?
With all the benefits yoga can bring runners, it certainly seems like doing yoga shortly before going for a run is a smart move.
"We treat so many runners, even marathoners," she tells mbg. "We work with them to create a custom plan for how to protect their bodies while reaching their goals. We tell them that while it can be beneficial to do some yoga poses to warm up before running, I would not recommend a full yoga sequence.
"Practicing yoga stretches and relaxes muscles that need to be tight to withstand the physical load when running. You could potentially injure yourself by doing yoga beforehand because those muscles are too relaxed."
So, there you have it: Be a runner and a yogi. But make sure each activity has its own time and place.
Leigh Weingus is a New York City based freelance journalist and former Senior Relationships Editor at mindbodygreen where she analyzed new research on human behavior, looked at the intersection of wellness and women's empowerment, and took deep dives into the latest sex and relationship trends. She received her bachelor’s in English and Communication from the University of California, Davis. She has written for HuffPost, Glamour, and NBC News, among others, and is a certified yoga instructor.