Not being able to walk down the stairs in the morning is not exactly a perk of running, so to prevent post-workout soreness, stretching is a must. Short on time? Here's a quick five-pose yoga sequence to target all the major muscles worked during a good run. Repeat it through on the right side, and then again on the left.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
- Come into Down Dog, then step your right foot forward and rise into Warrior 1.
- Lower your hands and back knee to the ground. Hold here for five breaths, stretching through the hips.
- Pick up your back knee, balancing on the ball of the back foot. Crawl your right shoulder as far underneath your right thigh as possible, and plant your right hand next to the outside edge of your right foot. Hold for another five breaths, deepening the stretch.
Intense Side Stretch
- Lift the torso, tuck your back toes, and lift the hips up, straightening both legs. Draw your back foot in a few inches so there's about 3 feet between them. Plant your hands on either side of the front leg.
- Fold over the front leg, breathing deeply for five breaths.
- Stand on your knees and lower the hips, sitting in between your heels. If this is too much, sit on a block and stay here.
- Take a look at your feet and curl the arches around the curve of your bum, so your toes are pointing behind you and slightly toward one another.
- If you're sitting on the floor, shift weight behind you and lie flat back. Try to keep your knees as close together as possible to feel a deeper stretch in your quads. Lift your arms overhead and hold opposite elbows.
- Breathe deeply in this pose for five breaths, and then sit up.
- Sit with both feet together, knees out wide.
- Inhale with a straight spine, and exhale as you fold forward, pressing your elbows against your inner thighs to deepen the stretch.
- Relax your shoulders away from your ears and stay like this for five breaths. Then lift the torso up.
- Straighten out both legs in a straddle (or "V") position. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and on an exhale, slowly fold forward as far as you can with a flat back, making sure your toes and knees are pointing straight up.
- Keep your spine long, and avoid hunching. Rest your hands on your feet, your legs, or on the floor in front of you. As you feel your body opening up, work on lowering your chest toward the ground.
- Stay here for five breaths.