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The Yoga Effect & It’s Importance for Runners

21 December
Creative Commons License photo credit: Synergy by Jasmine

One of the most common questions runners ask is how they can get faster.  While speed is certainly relative, there are many factors that contribute to overall improvement.  Inside Marathon Nation we consider the top three factors to be flexibility, control, and durability aka what Coach Patrick often refers to as the “Yoga Effect.”  Read on to learn how a yoga program can benefit you as well as a special offer coming 12/26/14 thru 1/2/14 for subscribers of the Marathon Nation newsletter!

There are a lot of flashy programs out there which promise instant results with your running speed and technique.  The introduction of minimalist shoes has also contributed to the “get faster quicker” mentality. Experience has shown, however, that the vast majority of runners and naturally gravitate to their most biomechanically efficient form.  As a result, making changes can be incredibly hard.  After all, many of us already have 10 or 20 years of running experience ingrained to our brains and movement patterns. So here’s how you can crack your own personal code.

The Yoga Effect

Coach Patrick coined this phrase after conducting multiple running technique clinics and seeing how the participants incorporated the suggested technique changes. In general, women showed much quicker gains than the men. In fact, some of the men were so out of touch with their body that they couldn’t hold even some of the most basic exercises in the technique progression.

Investigating further it became clear that the one thing that most of these women had in common was yoga. Sure a dance background could help, but in reality it was the repeated exercise of assuming a pose, holding it, and deepening it that gave these women a critical competency in terms of technique. Thus the “yoga effect” was born.

Not only could they achieve new positions more quickly, they were able to relax inside that space. The men, however, had a much more physical experience, literally contorting their bodies in a generally unsustainable way. Members of this group go home with the run exercises for the future and explicit guidance to get into a yoga class or routine immediately!

Step One: Flexibility

Improved flexibility as a direct result of the consistent program oriented towards critical running groups of muscles.  Some people are naturally gifted in terms of flexibility, others are not.  Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, both maintaining and striving to improve your 40 is a critical or of improving overall running.

Thankfully, this does not mean that you need to spend an hour a day stretching on top of your existing running workouts. Even a very simple program, if implemented consistently, can generate the desired results.

As you are searching for the right flexibility program for your needs, keep in mind that you’ll really be looking for something that focuses on the hip area. Flexibility here determines our stride length, impacts our overall gait. Consider it the “Central Nervous System” of your running!

Step Two: Control

DVDs and books on running form aside, there is not one “true” way to run. That said, most runners can significantly improve how they run simply by becoming more aware of how they run now and making some tweaks.

Unfortunately, we as a society are so focused on results and outcomes that we jump right to making changes before we determine our own starting point! The result is a jumbled mess of changes that either never stick or have more of a negative than a positive impact.

A good flexibility program will help you gain a better personal understanding of what your body is actually doing at any given time. Learning to get into — and sustain — particular yoga poses, for example, is a fantastic method of connecting mind and body. Continually exercising this connection will result in better self-knowledge, and from this point making changes to your stride or posture become significantly more impactful.

Step Three: Durability

While flexibility and control are cultivated, durability is earned by stacking weeks and months of consistent training together. Durability provides the foundation from which you can begin pushing for more speed through intense workouts, or by extending some of your longer runs.

Durability isn’t something you can chase, it’s actually a result of the work you do. It follows Flexibility and Control in this specific progression because taking care of yourself and running with proper form both go a long way towards making sure you can run consistently.

The Special Offer

Coach Patrick has found a fantastic yoga program just for runners. With specific routines broken down into videos, pictures and audio guidance, you have everything you need to make flexibility a priority. Plus you don’t have to sign up for some funky yoga studio and then travel to/from classes every week. You’ll have everything you need right on your own computer and can do the program in the privacy of your own home!

The deal will happen between Boxing Day (the day AFTER Christmas) and New Year’s — a Yoga Resolution!

I will only be emailing the deal to the Marathon Nation Weekly Update email list, so be sure to sign up for the MN Weekly Update List here if you haven’t already.

Coming Soon — the Runner’s Yoga Program that helps you:

  • Dramatically increase your FLEXIBILITY, head to toe
  • Build your CORE STRENGTH.
  • Burn FAT.
  • Improve your BALANCE and POSTURE.
  • STRENGTHEN and TONE every major muscle in your body.
  • Improve your MENTAL FOCUS.

Sign up to be notified of the special offer!

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One Response to “The Yoga Effect & It’s Importance for Runners”

  1. Painful Foot Problems February 21, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    Informative read! I am excited to add yoga to my regular training routine. I was skeptical at first, but it’s worked wonders on my IT band!