Running can be such a great release from daily stress not to mention a fantastic form of exercise. Running, however, can also cause tight muscles and injuries. Here are 7 poses for you to work your way through post race or simply after your morning jog to keep your body in tip top shape for future runs and races.
Release those Hammies!
Tight hamstrings are a constant struggle for runners. This group of muscles in the back of our upper legs are primarily responsible for the bending of your knee and moving your upper leg backwards. All pretty important to runners. Adding this pose to your post running work out will help relieve that post running tension.
- Downward Facing Dog. Come on to your hands and knees. Alsign your wrists shoulder width apart and spread your fingers. Move your knees to hip distance apart and tuck your toes. On an exhale lift your knees of the floor (keeping your knees slightly bent) as you lift the hips up and back. Evenly press into the hands (with added connecting through your pointers and thumbs) to push the floor away and lengthen through your spine. If your hamstrings are very tight it will make your back round. To combat this take your feet wider than hip distance (mat width), keep a bend to your knees to help lengthen your spine and slowly begin to peddle out the feet. Stay for 5-10 breaths and return the knees to the floor.
- Pyramid Pose. Grab two blocks for under your hands and place on either side of your mat. From downward facing dog, lift your right leg up towards the ceiling keeping your hips even (heel pushing out and your toes pointing down) and slowly step your foot between your hands. Draw your left foot in so your legs are 3 to 4 feet apart. Place your blocks on the floor right under your shoulders and bring your hands to the blocks (on the height that allows your back to lengthen the best). Keeping your left back heel up, begin to straighten your right leg. Draw your right hip back as you draw your left hip forward to even out your hips. Keep your spine long (flat back) and if you have further to go, draw your belly button towards your spine on an exhale and begin to forward fold over your right leg. Stay for 10 breaths and switch sides.
Modification: Keep a bend to your right knee if your hamstrings are very tight.
Your Psoas will Thank You
Tight psoas is a common aligment for runners. The psoas is a deep-seated core muscle that connects the lumbar vertebrae to your femur and stabilizes the spine. To lengthen to psoas after your run we recommend a low lunge:
- Low Lunge: From downward facing dog, step your right foot forward, aligning your knee over your ankle. Bring your left knee to the ground and your hands to your hips. Begin to draw your low ribs towards your hip points to engage the core and tuck your tail bone under until you feel a stretch in the front of the hip. Pause here for 10 breaths then switch sides.
Those quads though...
Quads are an important muscle group while running. They bend your hip and straighten your knee. The quads also stabilize the knee and help absorb the shock of impact as you land. It is important to lengthen these bad boys after a run to reduce soreness.
- Quad Stretch. From your low lunge, gently begin to lift the back leg and grab a hold of the top of the foot or ankle. Gently tuck the tailbone under or draw the leg in closer to the hips until you feel a sensation in your quads. Pause and take 5-10 breaths before switching sides. * If you have sensitive knees, pad your knee or come to standing (second picture) with option of hand at the wall to help with balance.
No Achy Feet
Plantar Fasciitis, the struggle is real for all to many of us. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. A strained plantar fascia can cause inflammation and pain in the bottom of your foot (anyone else get those morning aches?? No? ...just me I guess...) Here is a great pose to help ease that pain in the...foot.
- Heros Pose (with toes tucked). From downward facing dog place your knees on the ground. Slide your knees together and then add space between your feet (a touch wider than hip distance). Keep your toes tucked and sit back on your heels. Inner thighs are rolling down towards the floor. Stay for 5-10 breaths. When you release, bring your hands down (table top) and tap out the top of your feet to release the pose.
Modifications: *If your seat doesn't touch your heals, grab a block and place between your ankles horizontally. *If this pose is painful on your ankles, roll a blanket and place behind your knees.
Soothing Shin Splints
Shin splints are the pits and stop us dead in our tracks. Shin splints can be caused by excessive force which leads the muscles to swell, increasing the pressure against the bone causing pain and inflammation. Ice packs, elastic compression bandages and a break from running are highly recommended when shin splints emerge. Here are two poses to add on while recovering:
- Runners Lunge with Pointed Toes. From tabletop (or down dog) step your right foot forward between your hands and keep your left knee on the ground. Bring your hands to blocks if it is uncomfortable to have them on the ground. Begin to straighten your right leg while you draw your hips evenly back. Gas peddle your right toes down to the floor to draw this stretch into your shins. Pause here for 5 to 10 breaths and then switch sides.
- Legs Up the Wall. Sit next to a wall (optional blanket or bolster under hips to deepen inversion) with the side of your body on the wall and your knees bent into the chest. Pivot and transition onto your forearms, to support the upper body, and bring the lower back onto the floor while bringing the legs up the wall. Slowly release from the forearms and lower the whole back down to the floor. If you would like to come closer to the wall, shimmy the upper body closer to the wall. Legs can open any amount and knees can bend as well. Stay for 5-10 minutes. To come out, bring the knees into your chest and roll to your side.
Follow these 7 poses after your run to help maintain a healthy and balanced body. If you find yourself in need of a more robust tune up (or if you have fallen into injury), we have a great team of physical therapists and acupuncturists here at Jade to help get you back to the trails asap.
You may also like: