Yoga Is for Runners Too – but Runners Aren’t Yogis
With the weather cooling off and marathon season just around the corner, you’re bound to see an influx of runners in your classes this fall. Indeed, yoga is a great cross-training workout for other athletes, particularly distance runners, whose muscles are tight from logging (literally) hundreds of miles per month.
It’s exciting to have new students, but if you don’t know very much about running, you might be wondering how you can help these students achieve their athletic goals. Remember, yoga is for everyone, yet not everyone is a yogi. What works well for your most dedicated clients might be the opposite of what runners need, even though both are in great physical shape.
Knowing this, consider adding a dedicated “Yoga for Runners” class to your studio schedule, which focuses on the strength and flexibility poses these athletes will benefit from most. Be sure to research and learn the best ways to enhance your yoga class for these students. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some suggestions for teaching those classes.
- Ask questions. You’re likely already asking if there are any injuries at the start of class, but with runners you may need to push a little bit harder for honest answers. Take an extra minute here and make suggestions – “is anyone having pain in their knees,” or “has anything been nagging you on your long runs”, for example.
Runners are used to pushing their body to its limit. They’re competitive, even if their competition is their own self, which can be counter-productive in yoga. Over stretching or bearing weight on already stressed tendons is a recipe for further injury. Encourage students to listen to their body and make suggested adjustments throughout class.
- Emphasize flexibility and include a focus of strength training on the core. Typically, runners are extremely tight from the miles they run, so consider focusing the class on flexibility and mobility. Loosening the hips, shoulders and iliotibial bands are important for runners. When incorporating strength, focus on the core. Oftentimes runners neglect their core throughout training, which can lead to muscle imbalances that – you guessed it, lead to injury.
- Be a stickler about form. Runners put a lot of stress on their knees in particular, so it’s extremely important that they bear weight properly and protect their limbs. Be very specific when introducing new poses, and move around the room, offering to make corrections where needed.
- Encourage mindfulness. Ask your students if a particular muscle feels tighter than the others. Let them know they should be aware of this tightness, as it increases the risk of injury, and offer tips on how to loosen this muscle.
- Give homework. Most runner students won’t have time in their training schedule to practice yoga more than once a week. Teach your students a short routine they can do before or after runs, to help improve their flexibility throughout the week. This will go a long way when they return to class.
ProSight Global Inc., and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“ProSight”) do not endorse nor recommend specific yoga classes, programs, stretches or poses described above. These descriptions are for informational purposes only. ProSight shall not be held liable for your inclusion of any programs, stretches, poses, or advice referenced above in your classes.