How to Combine Yoga with Running

How to Combine Yoga with Running

Many runners already spend hours on the road or trails every week. It is no surprise that one of the top questions I get when they are introduced to yoga is how to incorporate it into their tight running schedule.


There are a number of ways that you can fit yoga into your running schedule. The key is not to think about it as “how to find time for yoga”, but to realize that as a runner you can’t afford not to do a few minutes of yoga after a run if you want a long and healthy running life.


Not only will practicing a couple of yoga poses after a run make you feel a lot better right afterwards, it also has a number of short and long term benefits.


Short term benefits of post-run yoga:

  • Injury prevention
  • Faster recovery
  • Stress release
  • Mindfulness
  • Pain Relief
  • Easier run the next day


Long term benefits of post-run yoga:

  • Improves posture
  • Increase flexibility and range of motion
  • Rebalance your body
  • Body awareness
  • Weight loss and control
  • Extends your running career


I would like to point out that everybody is different, and that there’s no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to practicing yoga, however I can share what works for me and other running yogis, and you can try it for yourself.


After years of running and practicing yoga, here’s what works for me to maintain flexibility:


Pre-run: No stretching, only a couple of dynamic movements like swinging my legs from front to back and side to side.

Post-run: A few quick stretches to stretch my quads, hamstrings, hips and glutes (up to 5 minutes).

Weekly: I try attend at least one 60-minute yoga class per week at a yoga studio on a non-running day to stretch and build strength.

Daily: I really enjoy practicing yoga every day before going to bed. Whether it’s just sitting in hero pose and breathing for a minute, or a longer sequence, it always feels great, makes me super relaxed and I feel less tight the next morning. The poses I do are based on how I feel and what areas I feel I need to stretch out.


Some of us never stretch at all, so having tight muscles can feel normal. The more you practice yoga, the more mindful you will become of how your muscles and joints feel, and over time you will be able to tell when you “need” to do a quick yoga routine to stretch everything out …and I think you will start craving the feeling yoga gives you afterwards 🙂


With that said, here are some more guidelines that you can follow from other runners who already practice yoga.


Real Life Examples

I chatted to some of my running yogi friends on Instagram to find out how they practice yoga together with their running, and this is what they had to say:


Vanessa Lobb aka @ness_run_yoga

-Victory Athletes sponsored runner and ambassador for Northern Star Yoga.

Yoga builds a strong core, which is essential for efficient running and avoiding injuries.” – Vanessa Lobb


How has yoga helped to improve your running?

Yoga has improved my strength, balance and flexibility, all of which I believe have contributed to fewer injuries and faster running times. As a psychological benefit, yoga breathing and relaxation exercises have helped calm race nerves and improve my focus, which in turn helps me stay ‘in the zone’ during a race and avoid negative thoughts creeping in.


How do you practice yoga around your running?

When it comes to yoga, I believe more is better. But this doesn’t mean you have to devote an hour every single day. Even a few minutes here and there can yield great results. I do a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga after every running session, but preferably 20 minutes if I don’t have to dash. If I don’t have much time after my run, I just do a few minutes of stretches then try to squeeze in a 20-30 minute yoga session later in the day.


Sara Lavino Zona aka @sara_yoga.and.run_

-Ultra trail runner, trainer, yoga teacher and sports psychologist.

Sara Lavino Zona

I believe that cross training is the best way to escape common injuries related to running” – Sara Lavino Zona


How has yoga helped to improve your running?

Yoga practice helps me physically to be more flexible, strong and agile. Psychologically, helps me to understand my limits and my possibilities, to believe in myself and helping to manage my duties essential to reaching my goals.


How do you practice yoga around your running?

I practice yoga almost 4 or 5 days a week, without counting my classes. For few minutes or for hours, it depends on my energy and wandering… I put my attention on how I feel, muscular tensions, little problems in my body or in the energy level I feel, and starting from that considerations I choose what to do… my body speaks, yoga teaches me how to listen.


Heidy Arellano aka @heidyarellano

-Marathon runner, yoga teacher and running coach.

Heidy Arellano

Yoga is an effective way to keep the body in balance and in tune for healthy and pain-free running.” – Heidy Arellano


How has yoga helped to improve your running?

Yoga has helped me by easing my lower-back tightness. Simply feeling better, stretched out, and calmer. Although I feel better instantly, the greatest benefits are gained over the long term. As the tight muscles stretch out and the weak ones strengthen, the body achieves greater balance and symmetry.


How do you practice yoga around your running?

Rule of thumb will be body awareness. There might be times when more frequency or longer sessions are needed. Some other times a couple of minutes will suffice. A balanced and consistent yoga practice is the best way to keep your body tuned up.


Francien Kruiswijk aka @yoga_and_running

-Runner and mom of 1

Francien Kruiswijk

I certainly believe that yoga has added value. Muscles become more flexible, stronger and restore faster.” – Francien Kruiswijk


How has yoga helped to improve your running?

In running, yoga helps me to run longer or just faster. Also, my overall posture has improved. I have fewer injuries and heal quickly from them.


How do you practice yoga around your running?

Always respect your body in yoga practice. It should never hurt or feel really uncomfortable. I have a short yoga practice every day, I do a lot of stretches for my legs, and there are days I practice for hours. Difficult poses takes time, you always have to respect that. Have fun during your yoga practice, feel what is happening to your body. Also, breathe and keep running!


Everyone is different, but eventually you will establish what amount of yoga works best for you and your running goals. Even though it will take up some extra time, the benefits that you gain are by far worth the time invested.



If you’re a runner and practice yoga, join the conversation and share how you incorporate it into your running training in the comments below!