Marathon Cross-Training: Run Stronger And Faster With These 7 Yoga Poses

I fell in love with yoga on the shores of South Beach, Miami. Miami started my transition of becoming who I needed for a more productive and joyful life. Between eating healthy, self-reflection, Bootcamp classes, and running consistently, I was tapped out on enjoying the physical. I needed some etheral habits that would bring me more perspective. I was always interested in yoga, and it wasn’t until I made it a consistent part of my day did I start to enjoy the various benefits it offered. And in this case, regular yoga practice helped me become a stronger and faster runner, while also helping me find serenity and balance on the trails.

Finding Balance

From May 2013 through November 2014, I spent nearly every morning walking to the beach. Once I hit the sand, I started my 2 mile jog and ended with a workout near one fot he lifeguard towers. After every workout, I closed out my morning with some yoga stretches.

Initially, I had no idea what I was doing, so I searched YouTube for videos that would teach me some yoga flows. For two weeks, I cleared space in my room, and followed along on my laptop. Although I enjoyed the flow and structure provided, I didn’t want to be restricted on how I moved. So instead of memorizinf flows, I focused on learning poses, and created sequences based on whatever offered me the release I needed in the moment.

Every session started and ended with sun salutations. Greeting and praising the sun for all that it provides was humbling. The salutations also allowed me to honor the sun for the change it was bringing into my life. Since I started hitting the shore, I was more relaxed, self-reflective, friendlier, and felt more connected with the my body, surroundings, and my spirutal prowess.

Yoga For Running

I mostly ran to calm my energetic and chaotic thoughts. Movement has always been a mental escape, and embracing the runner’s high, allowed me to revert back to a primal feeling. I was a jacked beast running through the plains; rain or shine.

Running is a full-body exercise. Although your legs are the primary movers, developing your lungs and core (abs and lower back) are crucial for better running.

The movement requires you to be limber from head to to avoid tense shoulders, muscle fatigue, and joint pain. Yoga poses helped me realize how pooe my equilibirum was and how weak my legs were individually. Running is always, a constant repetition of single foot alternation on the pavement. This means you have to build stability and power in your legs individually.

Over the years, I foudn 7 yoga poses that helped me become a stronger runner. I broke the seven poses into four major categories: breathing, stretching, core, and stability. Combined, they provide a full scope of all the essentials you’ll need to be a stronger and faster runner.

Yoga Poses For Stronger And Faster Running

If you’re new to yoga or these poses, hold each pose for eight breaths. Take deep inhales through the nose and exhale deep, steady, and powerful breaths though your mouth. Once you start feeling stronger and confident with each pose, increase the breath count to 12 or shift to time-based holds (30 seconds, 1 minute). Transition however you want, and mix the sequence up to keep your muscles on edge — too much familiarity causes adaptation and limits growth.

Sun Salutation

Pay your respects and always face the sun, before you start and once you're done.


These two poses are great for building your lung capacity. The faster you move, the more oxygen your body needs, and the more oxygen your body needs, the more your lungs will have to work.

Camel Pose

The camel pose expands your lungs to its full capacity. The breathing helps your lungs increase their capapcity, and the stability and focuse involved adds the extra aerobic work to build capacity. The camel pose also:

  • Opens up the hips to stretch deep hip flexors
  • Stretches and strengthens the shoulders and back
  • Expands the abdominal area to improve digestion
  • Opens the chest to improve respiration
  • Loosens up the spine to improve flexibility
  • Relieves lower back pain
  • Stretches the ankles, thighs, groin, abdomen, chest, and throat

Bridge Pose

The bridge pose expands the lungs to support stronger and better breathing. Be sure to roll your abs toward your spine to get an additional core building benefit.

The Bridge Pose also:

  • Stretches the chest, neck, spine, and hips
  • Strengthens back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Calms the brain and central nervous system
  • Stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands, and abdominal organs
  • Improves digestion
  • Reduces backache and headache
  • Rejuvenates tired legs


I’ve never stretched pre or post run. The traditional stretches I’ve been taught in public school are boring and I never really felt any benefit from them. But yoga stretches are unique and challenging. They open your joints up and spread your muscles out to keep them relaxed and ready for the work that’s upcoming.

Crescent Lunge

The crescent lunge is a full-body stretch that promotes stability, strengthening, and balance. Try to get the best extension on each leg as you alternate. The crescent lunge also:

  • Stretches the legs, groin, and hip flexors
  • Opens the front torso, chest, and shoulders
  • Strengthens and tones the quads, glutes, and hamstrings
  • Helps develop flexible stability
  • Helps expand the front of the body increase energy and reduce fatigue

Triangle Pose

One of my favorite stretches. The triangle pose:

  • Stretches your legs, muscles around the knee, ankle joints, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, and spine
  • Strengthens legs, knees, ankles, abdominals, obliques, and back
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves digestion and constipation


Lower back pain is a common issue for people. We live sedentary lifestyles and eat foods that increase belly fat. Belly fat adds excess weight to the front of your body which then strains our lower back. Your core needs to be balanced. Strong abs and a strong lower back.


The most important part of planking is rolling your abs toward your spine. That contraction will offer additional muscle burning to build endurance, and stability. Planks also:

  • Promote better posture
  • Help reduce back pain
  • Improves coordination
  • Improves flexibility


Running is always one leg at a time, so strengthening your legs individually will give you more power to push off, kick back, and stay centered as you run.

Warrior III

Warrior III is my favorite balance pose for stronger running, that is also the most challenging. Warrior III is all about balance. Standing on one leg while bringing your other leg behind you and both arms in front of you to stay centered and focused. The goal is to have as straight a leg as possible. If you’re just starting off, bend your knee to improve your balance. Warrior III also:

  • Strengthens the legs, ankles, shoulders, and back
  • Improves memory, focus, and concentration
  • Promotes better posture
  • Invigorates and energizes the entire body

Tree Pose

Lastly, tree pose is another one of my favorite poses. Less stressful, more fun, and less demanding than Warrior III. Tree pose reintroduces focusing on your center in a different way. Focus on stability, breathing, and placement of your secondary foot onto your inner thigh. Tree Pose helps:

  • Stretches the thighs, groins, torso, and shoulders.
  • Builds strength in the ankles and calves
  • Tones the abdominal muscles.
Clifford Genece

Clifford Genece