There are many ways to improve your running without stepping foot on the road, trail, or treadmill. Yoga is a great way to strengthen the mind and body, and it can have an immediate effect on performance.
Muscle Strength and Flexibility
Runners who participate in yoga can strengthen important muscles and find additional flexibility. Yoga builds core strength, which is very important for runners, as the core is the main engine driving you forward. In addition to muscle development, yoga increases flexibility. This will help reduce injury and increase range of motion. Studies even show up to 35% improved flexibility after 8 weeks! Strong core muscles and enhanced flexibility will lead to a looser feeling on runs, greatly improving your chances of getting that new PR. Professional athletes from many sports- from football to basketball to running- use yoga to supplement their training.
Strong Mind, Strong Body
Yoga does not just strengthen the body, it also strengthens the mind. Most forms of yoga focus on breathing techniques and meditation. This helps to relieve stress and calm the body. Lots of runners experience pre-race jitters which can have adverse effects on performance. Being able to relax before the big day will reduce that nervousness. Visualization is also often used in yoga. Being able to visualize and run the race without being out on the course helps ease the mind on race day. The relaxation provided can also lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and reduce insomnia- all of which have long term health benefits.