Muscle aches and stiffness can be a natural consequence of running, especially when we’re increasing our mileage or adding things like speedwork or hill running to our training regimen. Our muscles become stronger by rebuilding and repairing themselves as they adapt to more challenging activities. But for any change of routine, it is important to be able to differentiate between the body’s natural response to increased training (adaptation) and pain that is caused by injury or overtraining.
Yoga encourages a deeper awareness of our body, and this is a valuable tool when it comes to challenging our body’s limitations. As we gradually hold poses for longer periods of time, we naturally become more familiar with the body’s signals. And the more we are attuned to our body, the better equipped we are to recognize early signs of injury. Normal muscle fatigue, aches, or stiffness may well fade after a good stretch, an Epsom salt bath, or a sports massage; but persistent or recurring discomfort, sharp pain in the joints, or any type of continued muscle distress should be attended to promptly by a qualified professional.
Try this series of seven postures to stretch and strengthen all of your major running muscles.
3. Cobra Pose
5. Single-Legged Bow Pose (variation of Bow Pose)
6. Bridge Pose
7. Seated Spinal Twist (variation of Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)
If you want to read more about how to "yoga your running," check out how yoga can increase breath control.