7 Yoga Poses for Race Recovery

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Running can take a toll on the body. The repetitive motion has a huge impact on our joints and muscles. It is, thus, vital to take the time after that big race to recover. Taking the necessary time to stretch and cool down may prevent running injuries, increase flexibility, and allow time for your body to return to a balanced state. Yoga is a combination of gentle static stretches and strengthening that may further support race recovery. Including these 7 yoga poses in your post-race flow can stretch out those tight muscles, improve your running form via postural correction and core activation, and reduce the risk of running injuries.

Half Pigeon

The half pigeon pose can relieve tightness in the gluteal and hip muscles.

How To:

  1. Sit on the ground or mat.
  2. Send one foot straight back.
  3. Plant your toes on the ground with your knee resting on the mat.
  4. Allow the opposite knee to fall out to the side in front, with your foot tucked in toward your groin.
  5. Slowly walk your hands forward as far as you can, bending at the waist.
  6. Hold the position for 5 breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth for each breath.
  7. Repeat for the opposite side.



Tips & Tricks

  • Flex the toes of the leg with the bent knee to ensure the knee stays flat on the mat.
  • When walking the hands forward, only go as far as you comfortably can. One option involves resting on your forearms.

Reverse Child’s Pose

Tight hip flexors are a common problem for many runners. The reverse child’s pose gently stretches out the hip flexor muscles, as well as the quads.

How To:

    1. Begin sitting on a mat on your shins and knees, with your feet together.
    2. Sit back on your heels.
    3. Gently lean back and plant your hands behind you.
    4. Slowly lean back down to the forearms.
    5. Slowly lean all the way back until your head and shoulders rest on the mat.
    6. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you have sensitive knees, place a pillow or towel underneath.
  • You do not have to lean back the whole way. If you feel enough a stretch from leaning back onto the hands or forearms, hold the position for 5 breaths.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog can stretch out tight calf and hamstring muscles post-race. This yoga pose further engages and strengthens the core, arms, and quadriceps.

How To:

  1. Start in the tabletop position on all fours. Your hands should be planted directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Straighten your arms and your legs, pressing your heels back into the mat and lifting your tailbone high to the sky.
  3. Hold the position for 5 breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.


Tips & Tricks

  • Be careful of the position of your head and neck. Keep it in a neutral position throughout the pose.
  • Think about pulling the shoulders down and away from the ears while holding the downward dog pose to avoid shoulder and neck tension.

Supine Splits

The hamstring muscles can become tight due to repetitive knee flexion during a race.  The supine split yoga pose stretches out these major leg muscles.

How To:

  1. Lie on your back on a mat with your feet straight and a belt or towel wrapped underneath one foot.
  2. Keeping your legs straight, gently pull the towel or belt toward you bringing your leg straight back.
  3. Gently pull as far as you can, without pain. You should feel a stretch on the back of the upper leg.
  4. Hold the position for 5 breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

Tips & Tricks

  • Pull the leg only as far as you need to feel a gentle stretch.
  • For increased stretch on the outer and inner thigh regions, pull the leg slightly to each side holding for a total of 5 breaths.

Low Lunge

The low lunge pose in yoga tackles those tight hip flexor muscles. Often this pose is completed following downward facing dog.

How To

  1. Begin in downward facing dog.
  2. Bend one knee and bring the foot forward resting it in between both hands. The knee should be directly above your foot, and the thigh should be parallel to the ground.
  3. Drop the back knee down to the mat. The back leg should be far enough back that you feel a gentle stretch in the front of the thigh.
  4. Hold the position for 5 breaths. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
  5. Repeat for the opposite side.

Tips & Tricks

  • For more of a stretch, slowly inch your back leg further toward the back of the mat.

Forward Fold

The forward fold is a very common pose in yoga. It can aid in your post-race recovery by stretching out the calves and hamstrings. It further engages the core which is important for overall balance and running form.

How To

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Engage and tighten the lower abdominal muscles.
  3. Bend forward at the waist.
  4. Allow the hands to rest on the floor.
  5. Hold the position for 5 breaths. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.

Tips & Tricks

  • Do not round your back when bending forward.
  • If you are not able to reach the floor yet, crossing the arms and holding the opposite elbow with the opposite hand may be a comfortable position to hold for the 5 breaths.

Seated Spinal Twist

The lower back and trunk can feel stiff after a run. Ensuring you have proper running form may reduce some of the discomforts that may follow after a long race. The seated spinal twist pose can further stretch out and open up the trunk and lower back regions.

How To

  1. Sit with good posture, with both legs straight in front.
  2. Bend your left knee and cross the left leg over the right leg. Your left foot should be planted on the mat beside the outer thigh of the right leg.
  3. Slowly twist the trunk to the left side.
  4. Place your left hand on the ground behind your lower back.
  5. Bring your right arm to the outside of your left knee. The arm can be straightened or bent with the palm facing outward.
  6. Hold the position for 5 breaths. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
  7. Repeat for the opposite side.

Tips & Tricks

  • Maintain a straight posture throughout the exercise.





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About Melissa

Melissa is the Community and Content Marketing Manager at Lumo Bodytech. She spends her free time reading, doing karaoke, and training for her next triathlon.

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