Yoga and Running

Runners have found a new way to relax and improve their run time that goes beyond what they might not have considered before.

Typically, runners think about interval training, or logging more miles, to improve their time.

Now, runners are turning to yoga as a way to enhance their running.

Kim Monti, a YMCA yoga for runners instructor, and runner herself, says this makes perfect sense.

“It keeps the ligaments and the joints lubricated, for lack of a better term. They just feel healthier. It teaches them to lift out of their hips, so they don’t sink into their hips while they’re running,” says Kim Monti.

Runners often have stiff or heavy legs as a result of their latest workout. Yoga can help stretch those muscles, creating more range of motion.

Kim Monti says, “Within yoga, all the small muscles, the stabilizers, kick in and they teach you better balance and again, teaching you to elongate as you run for better stride, better gait, and healthier hips. It’s less likely you’ll have an injury.”

Aaron Ford, a long distance runner, finds yoga not only makes him less injury prone, but also gives him new confidence that helps him focus while he’s running.

“I think to have to hold poses that are a little uncomfortable, or stretch something to the point of discomfort. Just knowing that you’re working past the point of comfort is something that you do in running and you do when you’re in yoga. I think when you’re being mindful in yoga really helps you be more mindful when you are out there running,” says Aaron Ford.

The commitment to master yoga poses in class is similar to the focus it takes to finish a run. Stretching those mental muscles along with the physical ones can help lead runners to positive results.

“The more I practiced, the more I thought about how to lift my hips and to focus. That was a big one for me, the focus and concentration, just to withdrawal. My goal this year is to shave fifteen minutes off. I know for other runners, they have been able to shave a minute and thirty seconds from every mile as they started within the first year,” says Kim Monti.

For the best results, Kim suggests doing yoga three times a week. Putting in the time may be just the key to take your running to the next level.

Aaron Ford says, “I think a lot of yoga is very mental. So, just knowing that you can get yourself to do things that you didn’t think you could do. You can run that extra mile. You can hold that pose for a little bit longer. You can deepen that stretch a little bit more. I think knowing that you can do something that on the outside feels impossible, but then you can achieve it with practice. I think that’s important. I mean, that’s important to life, but that’s especially important to running.”

For more information about the yoga for runners YMCA class, go to www.ymcachicago.org.

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