Yoga keeps trail runners in peak condition.When you're running on trails, you're continuously adjusting your stride to accommodate rocks, dips, and turns. Your yoga practice helps you navigate uneven terrain with control and agility, and protects you from injury, says San Francisco yoga instructor and running coach Kerri Kelly. Standing poses improve balance and coordination and encourage the development of even strength throughout the leg, a key to preventing injury, says Kelly. "The more you can strengthen all of the muscles around your joints, the less vulnerable those areas are," she says.
The core strength you gain from yoga also serves you well on the trail. Strong abdominal and back muscles keep your torso upright and your pelvis in healthy alignment, Kelly says, allowing you to move more efficiently. "The core is like mission control," she says. "The more connected you are to your core when you are dodging rocks and trees, the more effective you are going to be in responding." To stay in top trail-running form, Kelly suggests warming up before your run with Sun Salutations and including the poses shown here in your regular yoga practice.
Yoga Practice: Posed to Run
Warrior I: Strengthens and stretches your legs from feet to hips.
Tree Pose: Teaches balance and strengthens the muscles around your joints.
Locust Pose: Tones your back muscles and awakens the core.
Chair Pose: Strengthens the muscles that support healthy knees and ankles.