marathon runners | stretch it out
Get your running shoes out and ready for some action, because in a few days it’s that time of year again… Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon time! Now maybe this year you’re running to raise awareness for a cause that’s close to your heart, or maybe it’s something that’s been on your bucket list and is a personal challenge. Whatever your motivation is for running a marathon is, one thing is for sure— the experience is ambitious, and life-changing.
Training for a marathon is an intense process that takes place over the course of months or even years. From building your base mileage, to working on your time and speed, you will constantly be challenging and pushing your body to its limits. So, it’s no surprise that many runners implement yoga into their training for a marathon. Sure, we all know that yoga is a stress buster. But it also packs some serious perks for runners, like improving flexibility, easing aches and pains, and helping you recover from long runs and races faster. And the body isn’t the only thing to benefit from yoga. During a yoga practice the mind is also strengthened with a sense of determination that will definitely be crucial on race day.
We asked our in-house super strong+ stretchy Yogi Walid for some of his favorite poses for runners. These can be practiced pretty much anywhere, but try focusing on these postures next time you’re in a yoga class, and feel free to ask Walid for pointers on how to perfect them. Good luck on your race!
Upward-Facing Dog Pose
This pose will challenge you to lift and open your chest by expanding the rib cage, while strengthening your arms, shoulders and wrists, as well as increasing flexibility in the back and neck. This is an important pose in yoga for its ability to align the spine and stimulate the nervous system, and can be done before and after the run.
01. Begin lying on your belly with your legs extended straight back behind you and the tops of your feet relaxed down on the mat, hip distance apart.
02. Plant your palms beside your ribs so that your elbows are bent approximately 90 degrees and your forearms are relatively perpendicular to the floor.
03. Look up and on an inhale, press firmly into your palms and straighten your arms, lifting your torso, hips, and the tops of your thighs up off the ground. Your shoulders should be stacked directly over your wrists.
04. Relax your shoulders away from your ears, then begin to roll your shoulders back and find the action of pulling your chest forward through your upper arms.
05. Keep your belly in toward your spine. Remain in the position for 5-10 deep breaths, then exhale slowly and come back to starting position.
This pose can be performed before or after a run, and is effective in relaxing the body and reducing stress. It stretches the chest, spinal cord and neck, and works exclusively on your spine and hip joints. It also helps relieve pain, stiffness and discomfort in these regions and helps resolve any disorders associated with the neck, arms and palms.
01. Lie flat on your yoga mat, with your feet flat on the floor, and your arms by your side, and knees parallel to your hips.
02. Now exhale and push up, and off the floor with your feet.
03. Raise your body up leaving your neck and head flat on the mat, and the rest of your body is in the air. You can use your hands to push down for added support.
04. Stay here for a few deep breaths, then bring your spine back to the floor by articulating it one vertebrae at the time.
Legs-Up the Wall Pose
This a restorative yoga pose that allows the mind and the body to relax, relieving stress and tension while stretching the hamstrings and back after a run.
01. Find an open space near a wall.
02. Lie on your back, making sure that your hips are grounded on the floor as the back of your legs press against the wall, and the soles of your feet face upwards. It will take you a little bit of movement to get comfortable in this position. (you can also bend your legs a bit if you have tight hamstring muscles).
03. Now take a few minutes to breathe and enjoy this relaxing stretch!
We hope that these help and remember: A muscle is only as strong as it is flexible! So get stretching!!