But I started to have a problem. I began noticing that I was really stiff all the time. Sure, I could run a half marathon, but sitting cross-legged on the floor was starting to become difficult. I can touch my toes when I'm standing, but I can barely make it past my knees when sitting. I will be honest that it took me awhile to come to the conclusion that yoga may help.
Like I've been running for nearly 4 years now, and I just started about a month ago.
*hangs head in shame*
Yoga is not exactly strength training, but yoga is beneficial to a runner for several reasons. Mainly, yoga helps loosen up stiff muscles (like your hamstrings, hello!), and helps runners avoid injury. Loose, limber muscles are less injury prone than stiff ones!
I found a great intro DVD that I can do in the comfort of my own home (read: pajamas), called Yoga for Runners by Christine Felstead.
I started with the Essentials DVD that is really very basic. Felstead starts with breathing and foundation poses, then moves to back, hamstring, and hip poses.
I really love the "Pigeon Pose" which is great at stretching the hips, but also the pirioformis muscle which I have trouble with.
It takes me about 45 minutes to get through all 4 sequences. I've started doing the DVD on my non-running days. I just get up at the same time as I would for a run, walk downstairs, pop in the DVD and 45 minutes later I'm feeling pretty good!
Felstead also has an Intermediate DVD for those that maybe already have a good yoga base. I am no Yogi, clearly, so I bought this one too with the idea of working up to it.
So far, I have to say that I do think it's helping. The poses are getting easier to do, and I don't have as much tightness after a long run right now. Although, all my long runs are on the treadmill at the moment due to weather. The real test will be once I start pounding the pavement again.
Are you a yoga fan? What kind of cross training do you do if you're a runner?