How Yoga Can Help with Post-Run Muscle Soreness

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Cross Training For Runners
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David Dack

Post-workout soreness is like a badge of honor for runners of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner tiptoeing into the running world or a seasoned sprinter ramping up the intensity, you’re no stranger to that delightful visitor known as DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness.

But here’s the scoop: post-workout soreness is like a secret handshake between you and your muscles. It’s a sign that you’re pushing boundaries, breaking limits, and igniting change. So, if you’re feeling a bit tender after a run, give yourself a pat on the back—you’ve earned it!

But wait, there’s a twist in this tale. While soreness is a good sign of progress, it can also be a bit of a party pooper. In fact, post-run soreness turning your everyday tasks into an obstacle course, leaving you wishing you could just skip up the stairs like a carefree gazelle.

Fret no more.

I’ve got a secret remedy to share: the magic of yoga. This cross-training wizardry is your ticket to a quicker recovery and smoother sailing between workouts.

Here’s the kicker: yoga isn’t just about fancy poses and calm vibes (although those are pretty awesome). It’s like a gentle massage for your hardworking muscles, melting away the soreness and restoring your body’s harmony.

So, my pavement-pounding friend, next time those post-run aches come knocking, unroll your yoga mat and treat your body to a session of restoration. Think of it as a love letter to your muscles, thanking them for their hard work and promising to take care of them.

And as you flow through each pose, you’ll not only release tension but also prepare your body—physically and mentally—for your next victorious run.

Ready? Let’s go!

The Power Of Yoga For Runners

Ah, the traditional stretching routine from high school gym class. We’ve all been there, right? But guess what? There’s a new contender in town, and it’s about to change the game for post-run recovery.

Let’s break it down.

Yoga isn’t just about striking impressive poses or contorting like a pretzel (although that can be pretty cool too). It’s like a personalized rehab session for your tired muscles, a preventative shield against injuries, and the perfect prep for your next exhilarating run.

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to a lineup of yoga poses that will have your muscles singing hallelujah. These poses are like a magic spell for those post-run pains, while giving your key running muscles—think glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves—a newfound flexibility and mobility boost.

Hold each for a cozy 30 to 45 seconds, and as you breathe deeply, feel the tension and tightness melting away like snow in the sun. But here’s the secret sauce: approach this sequence like a gentle embrace, not a wrestling match. There’s no need to rush or push your limits to the moon and back. Take it slow, savor the stretches, and let your breath be your guide.

And remember, my friend, this isn’t a competition to be the world’s most flexible human in a single session. Nope, this is your personal recovery sanctuary, where you nurture your muscles and honor your body’s journey.

Here’s the full guide to yoga for runners.

  1. Standing Forward Bend


This is a must pose for calming the mind while also stretching and relieving the muscles of the spine and the hamstrings.

Proper Form

Begin by standing with your feet together, toes parallel, core engaged, with hands on your hips.

This is your starting position, or what’s known as the Mountain Pose, Tadasana.

Next, while allowing for a slight bend in the knees, fold over at your hips, and roll your spine down as you reach towards the floor, lengthening the front of your torso in the process.

Make sure to let your neck relax once you reach the bottom part of the pose, once you reach your max flexibility point.

Then, let the crown of your head hang loose and place your fingertips on your knees, shins or the floor beside your feet if your flexibility allows it.

Make sure to fold forward with a straight back, releasing slowly and gradually into the full pose.

Then, straighten your legs as much as possible while shifting your weight forward into your toes.

Hold the pose for one to two minutes, being mindful of your spine and legs the entire time.

  1. Wide Legged Forward Bend Twist


Also known as Prasarita Padottanasana , this asana stretches and strengthens the inner back legs and spine while penning the hips and improving the trunks rotation ability.

Proper Form

From mountain pose, widen your feet and place them three to four feet apart, with toes slightly turned slightly out, then hinge your torso forward at the hips.

Next, roll your spine downward and place your hands on your ground or on a yoga block, letting your neck and head relax.

Then, while breathing deep and being mindful of your spine, lift your right arm and reach it toward the ceiling, feeling your spine twist and open.

Hold the pose for 30 to 45 seconds, then slowly bring your hand down and switch sides.

  1. Lunge with Side Stretch


An awesome pose for releasing and opening the adductors, the abductors, and the glutes.

Proper Form

Assume Tadasana pose, then widen your stance with toes pointing 45 degrees outward.

Next, lunge to the right side, bending your right knee to a 90-degree angle and straightening the left leg to point upward with heel on the floor.

You can place your hands on the right thigh, or on the floor, depending on how flexible you are.

Hold the stretch for 30 45 seconds, then change sides.

Please, keep your back straight and core engaged during the stretch.

  1. Star Pose


This pose can help you open up and release tension in the hips, lower back, shoulders, and neck.

Proper Form

Sit down on the floor with the sole of the feet together, knees bent in a kite shape, creating a diamond shape with your legs.

Next, lengthen your spine, grasp your shins or feet, then slowly let your back round and roll your body forward drawing your forehead towards your heels, then breathe deep and look within.

Relax into this pose for at least one to two minutes.

  1. Legs Up the Wall


This is in my experience one of the best relaxing and restorative inversions in the yoga world.

This post speeds up recovery by draining tension from the legs while stretching the lower back, legs, and hamstrings.

Proper Form

Sit on the floor with a wall next to right side.

For more support, you can use a long firm pillow by bolstering against the wall.

Then, raise your legs up into the air then rest them on the wall.

Make sure your lower is resting against the support pillow, if you are using one.

Next, relax your body and put your hands on your belly, rest head and shoulders on the ground, and start taking deep breaths to release any tension or stress in your body, starting from your toes and down through your ankles, knees, thighs, glutes, lower back and the rest of your body.

Stay in this pose as long as you can—nothing short from 5 minutes.

  1. Lying-down Body Twist


Also known as Natrajasana, this asana can help you release tension in the lower body—especially the lower back and glutes.

Proper Form

Start by lying down on your back with both feet on the floor at hip width and knees bent, then extend your arms out at your sides.

Next, bend your knees, and bring them toward your chest as close as possible, then slowly lower your bent knees to the left side while turning your head and looking over to your right side.

Next, reach your arms out to the left side then lower both legs to the left side while keeping your right shoulder in contact with the floor.

Hold the pose for 30 to 45 seconds and feel the stretch in your back, stomach, neck, shoulders, groin and thighs, then slowly return to the center and switch sides.

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