Yoga for Runners: The Ultimate Guide

yoga-for-runners

Yoga, it’s everywhere.

It’s in our schools. It’s at our gyms. It’s even on NFL football fields.

But is it part of your training?

Yoga has exploded in popularity over the past several years, and yogis of all ages use their practice to gain physical strength, calm their minds, and work through life’s stresses.

As plant-based athletes and runners, yoga can be a major training tool to help both the mind and body, whether you’re training for a goal race or running to stay in shape.

How My Yoga Teacher Wife Changed My Running

Yoga is to my wife Katie as running is to me. It’s her way of staying healthy — both mentally and physically — and her escape from a hard day. It’s her meditation and platform for a good sweat.

And it shapes the way she lives her life. For example the yogic practice of ahimsa — or non-violence to all living things — is one of the main reasons she follows a vegetarian diet (I’m still working on her with that whole vegan thing …).

But when we started dating some six years ago, I didn’t get it.

I mean, I’m a trail runner. I like mud, rocks, and grunting my way up mountains … not group chants, twists, and something called mountain pose (which at the time looked to me like just standing).

Like I said, I didn’t get it.

Then, in an attempt to impress my new girlfriend, I went to a class … and it clicked.

My body felt refreshed and strong, and my mind reset.

It released areas of my body overworked from running, and strengthened many of my neglected muscles. And after a few injuries from recent marathon training cycles, yoga felt like just the tool my training had been missing.

Since that first class, Katie has gone on to become a 500 hour registered yoga teacher (RYT500) with a focus in yoga therapy, which means that every day she uses yoga to help someone work through a physical or mental ailment.

Many of those she teachers are runners, either fighting a recent injury or lingering overuse pain from years of pounding the pavement.

So when I sat down to write this post, I knew I had to tap into her experience and knowledge about using a regular yoga practice for better training. You’ll see her advice sprinkled in throughout the post, along with two classes designed for runners which you can find below.

6 Ways Runners Can Benefit from Yoga

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Summer Running Camp, Part 4: Advanced Marathon Training and Racing with Coach Jason Fitzgerald

Throughout the first three weeks of summer running camp Matt and I have focused almost entirely on running topics for beginners:

This week we decided to switch things up a bit by exploring the differences between training for a marathon as a beginner, and training for your second, third, or forth marathon.

To do so we’ve invited one of the biggest running geeks we know, Jason Fitzgerald, a running coach and founder of Strength Running.

He shares advice on advanced marathon training, marathon specific workouts, and how to take your racing to a new level.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The difference between your first and third marathon
  • Measuring your workload
  • The best workouts for a faster marathon
  • Why you should run more races
  • The perils of track workouts for marathoners
  • Pacing on race day

Click the button below to listen now:

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Summer Running Camp, Part 3: How to Prevent Running Injuries

A man in a sports uniform is running along the shore of the lake

The weather might be cooling off, but Summer Running Camp is still in full swing.

During the first two weeks of camp we covered establishing a running routine and proper running form. Both fundamentals of sustainable running.

This week we cover a topic most runners pretend doesn’t exist (until it’s too late):

Injuries and injury prevention.

For many runners, injuries have become commonplace. They find themselves with a new injury each season, or battle the same aches and pains year after year.

But that doesn’t have to be the standard — in fact it shouldn’t be. There is such a thing as injury-free running, and in today’s episode we’ll help you find it.

So lace up those running shoes and head towards the lake. Camp has officially resumed for the next 55-minutes.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Are injuries just a part of running?
  • Why most beginners get injured
  • When it’s important to warm-up before a run
  • Eating after a run — should you calculate nutrient ratios?
  • The forgotten recovery tool
  • How to adjust your training after an injury
  • The great ball-bag debate

Click the button below to listen now:

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Announcing ‘The No Meat Athlete Cookbook’ (Plus New Speaking Events this Fall)

With Brenda Davis, R.D., at Remedy Food Toronto's culinary competition.

With Brenda Davis, R.D., at Remedy Food Toronto’s culinary competition.

Well, it’s been a busy summer, full of travel, food, and being a dad. And as you probably guessed from the title of this post, lots of work on a new book!

The short version: The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: 150 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts and the Rest of Your Life is due out next May, written in collaboration with chef Stepfanie Romine and published by The Experiment. They published the #1 New York Times bestselling Forks Over Knives book and more recently, the quirky, virally popular Taco Cleanse. They really understand our vision for the book and what No Meat Athlete stands for as a movement, and Stepf and I couldn’t be more excited to work with them.

A few more details …

It goes without saying, I think, that I’m really proud of my first book, No Meat Athlete, and what it has done. Not quite three years after publication, it’s been translated into three foreign languages, sold over 26,000 copies, and introduced a ton of people to my simple approach to food, running, and habit change.

So why a new book? Lots of reasons.

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Boost Your Performance! 3 Vegan Foods that Really Work

Watermelon slices on the wooden table

You’ve probably heard certain foods and drinks can boost athletic performance.

Coffee, for example, makes you run faster, and tart cherries reduce inflammation.

Researchers are finding that what you eat can actually boost cardiovascular efficiency, hasten recovery time, and increase immunity against common exercise-induced illnesses.

And the best part? Many of the best foods are vegan, cheap, and easily found at your local grocery store.

As a cardiovascular nurse, health coach, and endurance athlete, I love digging through literature on health and nutrition, and research on three of these performance-enhancing foods recently caught my eye.

So I teamed up with my podcast co-host, Jackson, to break down what you need to know to boost your performance with food.

3 Foods to Boost Athletic Performance

Below are three performance-enhancing foods that when incorporated into your daily routine, can lead to stronger racing and faster recovery. And what runner doesn’t want that?

Let’s start with one of my personal favorites:

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10 Vegan Foods We Couldn’t Live Without

Beans in tomato sauce and rice - a delicious vegetarian lunch. O

Everyone has their staples … the foods or meals they turn to week after week.

But how many of your staples do you rely on simply because of convenience, and how many are foods you would truly never want to give up?

In today’s episode Matt and I discuss their top 10 favorite vegan food we couldn’t live without. The foods, sauces, meals, and drinks we rely heavily on week after week for both nutrients and pleasure.

And believe it or not, hummus didn’t make the list.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Are there foods we really couldn’t live without?
  • Sauces and homemade dressings we always have on hand
  • Matt’s favorite pasta dish
  • A simple way to get your G-BOMBS

Click the button below to listen now:

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Summer Running Camp, Part 2: Running Form

A man in a sports uniform is running along the shore of the lake

Get your lake gear ready, it’s time for week two of Summer Running Camp!

During the first week of summer camp we discussed building a consistent running routine. This week, we move on to proper running form.

Most of us learned to run as children, playing tag, sports, and chasing friends around the neighborhood. But it isn’t until we get older — and start running for exercise — that running form even becomes a consideration.

At it’s worst, your running form can leave you injured, but proper form will help with your overall running economy, reducing effort and fatigue while increasing speed.

So what are the basic principals of proper running form?

That’s what we cover in week two of camp.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Why proper form starts with your head
  • The forward lean … why is it so hard?
  • The form technique that changed Matt’s running forever
  • Midfoot vs. heel striking
  • Doug’s big announcement!

Click the button below to listen now:

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5 Effortless Ways to Eat Just a Little Bit Better

Fresh Turmeric Root

No doubt about it, it’s hard to suddenly start eating a whole lot better. Because while it’s no secret that eating almost exclusively whole, plant-based foods is a recipe for health, getting there is a journey that takes either a lot of time (my case) or a lot of willpower.

But if you’re a No Meat Athlete reader, you probably already eat pretty well (congrats!). So what next?

Over the past few months, I’ve made a lot of tiny upgrades to an already pretty healthy diet. Upgrades that take almost no extra effort (in some cases, none at all), but each makes a significant impact. And when you add them all up — or better, when tiny upgrades like this become your habit, and you make 20 or 50 of them over the course of a few months — your diet is substantially better for it.

Here are some simple ones to nudge you down that path.

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