It’s become the norm for all sorts of pro athletes to incorporate yoga it into their training schedules – and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you, says Lucas, who successfully trained about 100 non-runners to run their first marathon.
“Yoga is great for balance, flexibility, mobility and mental endurance – all of which are needed if you’re participating in any endurance event or having to lift a very heavy weight,” he says.
According to Lucas, yoga is particularly good for boosting running performance because:
1. Yoga helps build strength and endurance through its strong poses which you generally have to hold for a while.
2. It significantly increases your flexibility, which is important for runners as it loosens tight muscles and reduces the risk for injury to a great extent. “Many people suffer from injuries due to stiffness and poor range of motion, usually because a lot of us are bound to a desk every day,” says Lucas.
3. It boosts your recovery. “When I was practicing for marathons, I had to run for long stretches almost every day, which inevitably led to sore joins and tightened muscles. I started doing yoga to balance out my training, which led to massive improvements with both my recovery and performance.
4. Science says it is. A study by the American Council on Exercise found a regular practice of Hatha yoga significantly improved subjects’ flexibility, muscular strength, endurance and balance. After eight weeks, the group improved their flexibility by 13% to 35%.