Incorporating yoga into your training routine when preparing for an ultra marathon can offer numerous benefits, including improved flexibility, strength, balance, mindfulness, injury prevention, and recovery – here’s why:
Long distance running can lead to tightness in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Yoga can help improve flexibility by stretching these areas, helping to prevent injuries and improve overall performance. Increased flexibility can also enhance your range of motion, allowing for a more efficient running stride.
Yoga poses often require engaging various muscle groups, including the core, legs, and upper body. Building strength in these areas can help improve your running form, stability, and endurance. Strong core muscles, for example, can help maintain a proper running posture and prevent fatigue in the upper body during long runs.
Balance and Stability:
Many yoga poses require balance and stability, which are essential for trail running or navigating uneven terrains. Improved balance and stability can help you maintain control and prevent falls during your ultra marathon, reducing the risk of injuries.
Mindfulness and Mental Focus:
Ultra marathons can be physically and mentally demanding. Yoga emphasizes mindfulness, deep breathing, and mental focus, which can help you develop mental resilience and concentration during training and races. Yoga can also aid in stress reduction and relaxation, which can contribute to better recovery and overall well-being.
Injury Prevention and Recovery:
Yoga can help prevent common running injuries, such as tightness, strains, and imbalances, by improving flexibility, strength, and balance. Additionally, yoga can aid in recovery by reducing muscle soreness, improving blood circulation, and promoting relaxation.
Here are some of our favourite yoga poses to improve the above and help you in your journey to an ultra marathon:
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This pose stretches the hamstrings, calves, and shoulders, while also building upper body strength. It can help improve overall body flexibility and increase blood flow to the legs.
2. Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
This pose stretches the hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings, while also building strength in the core and legs. It can help improve stability and balance, which are important for running long distances.
3. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
This pose stretches the hips, hamstrings, and calves, while also strengthening the legs and core. It can help improve lower body flexibility and stability, which can be beneficial for endurance running.
4. Bridge Pose (Setu Banhasana)
This pose strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, while also stretching the chest and shoulders. It can help improve core stability and hip strength, which are important for maintaining good running form.
5. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
This pose stretches the hip flexors, glutes, and thighs, which can get tight from long distance running. It also helps open up the hips and increase mobility, which can enhance your running performance.
6. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This pose is a restorative pose that helps to stretch the lower back, hips, and thighs, while also promoting relaxation and stress relief. It can be beneficial for recovery and relaxation after a long run.