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Yoga for the long run: juicy stretches for after that big effort

You'll feel loose and re-energized after these gentle stretches

person on yoga mat in child's pose Photo by: Photo: Unsplash/ConciousDesign

Long run days are an integral part of training for many runners, but you may find you are quite sore afterward, especially if you’re training for a marathon or an ultra. Moving your body gently through a few relaxing stretches can be key to keeping stiffness at bay, and continuing into your next week of training pain-free.

yoga stretch
Photo: unsplash/klara-kulikova

Supine twist with a quad stretch

This pose combines a spinal twist with a quad stretch, making it effective for releasing tension in the lower back, hips, and quadriceps.

Begin on your back with arms extended outward and bend your right knee, drawing it toward your chest.

Send your right knee across your body to the left side, creating a gentle twist in your spine. Use your left hand to gently press your right knee toward the floor, and keep your right shoulder blade pressed to the ground. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute on each side.

Dragon pose (yin splits)

This pose targets hip flexors, hamstrings and groin, helping to release tension from long runs. Make sure you don’t try to force this one–ease into it and hold the pose when you feel a stretch.

Begin in a low lunge position (back knee on the ground) with your right foot forward. Slowly lower your hips toward the ground and slide your right foot forward, extending the leg.

Keep your left knee on the ground and slide it back to find the level of stretch that works for you. Hold for two to five minutes on each side.

Supported fish pose 

This restorative pose opens up the chest and gently relieves tension in the upper back and shoulders, areas often affected when fatigue causes poor posture during the end stages of a long run. You’ll feel deeply relaxed after a few moments breathing deeply here.

Place a yoga block or a cushion horizontally on your mat (you may need to experiment with different heights). Sit in front of it and lower your back over the support, with the block resting between your shoulder blades.

Legs can be extended or bent, whichever is more comfortable. Allow your arms to relax by your sides. Stay in this pose for three to five minutes, focusing on deep, slow breaths–imagine your entire body softening into the stretch as you soak in the restorative benefits.


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