Will yoga help my marathon training?
Running has many benefits, but increased flexibility is not among them. If you have access to a gym or yoga studio that offers yoga classes, make an effort to find a beginner class and fit it into your schedule. Even one class a week will make a difference in your strength and flexibility. I have been attending a yoga class once or twice a week for about 10 years, and my marathon times have improved. Coincidence? I think not.
Any type of yoga class (Ashtanga, Bikram, or Hatha) encourages you to stretch more deeply than most of us do on our own. Yoga also works muscles that you don't use in running, which promotes muscle balance and reduces your risk of injury. Yoga makes you stronger, too. It isn't a substitute for weight training, but you will build upper-body strength without bulking up. You'll be forced to work on your core muscles of your abdominal and back muscles by holding your body in the yoga poses. And an Ashtanga-style or “power yoga” class provides an aerobic workout, too.
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