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Yoga Before Or After Running? How Best To Schedule Yoga + Running

Many people find that they need or want to do running and yoga on the same day at least once or twice a week. 

In these situations, the question that comes up is, “Should I do yoga before or after running?”

The good news is that if you are trying to determine if you should do yoga before or after running, you are already in a great place: clearly, you are motivated to exercise because you are invested in doubling up your workouts to maximize the benefits for your body.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of doing yoga before running and the pros and cons of doing yoga after running to help you decide if it is better to do yoga before or after running.

We will cover the following: 

  • Should I Do Yoga Before Or After a Run?
  • Benefits of Doing Yoga and Running
  • Should I Do Yoga Before Or After Running?
  • Benefits of Doing Yoga Before a Run
  • Benefits of Doing Yoga After a Workout

Let’s get started!

A person doing yoga on the beach.

Should I Do Yoga Before Or After a Run?

If you are a runner, there’s a good chance that you love running and will prioritize getting your running workouts to fit into your weekly allotted time to exercise.

However, there are many excellent benefits of doing yoga as well.

If you are trying to add in additional types of exercise that address other aspects of fitness, such as flexibility yoga workouts, as well as taking a rest day for full recovery every week, it can be difficult to figure out how to structure your weekly workout routine to fit it all in.

This may lead you to ask questions like: “Should I do yoga before or after running?” or “Should I run before or after yoga?”

It would be great if there were a simple, straightforward answer to these questions that would universally apply to everyone.

Unfortunately, as with many things related to health and fitness, recommendations and answers to seemingly simple questions are not often straightforward.

Each person has a unique body, individual training goals, and a confluence of various other factors that can affect whether it is better to run before or after doing yoga.

A person doing yoga in the grass.

Benefits of Doing Yoga and Running

Before we try to answer whether it is better to do yoga before or after running, let’s look at why you might be looking to incorporate both types of exercise into your training.

This question is typically asked from one of two directions—either an avid runner is looking to add yoga to his or her fitness routine for a potential perceived sense of yoga, or a diehard yogi is looking to add cardio exercise to his or her consistent yoga practice.

If you are someone who regularly practices yoga, you are likely well aware of the many physical and mental health benefits yoga can provide. However, for those who are firstly runners, it is helpful to touch upon the benefits of yoga for runners briefly.

Understanding the potential benefits of yoga can help you decide if you should do yoga before or after running.

So, why is yoga helpful for runners?

Studies have shown that a consistent yoga practice can increase flexibility and mobility, reduce chronic pain and back pain, improve breathing, strengthen the entire body, improve balance and posture, increase circulation, and reduce stress and anxiety.

Yoga has also been shown to improve mode, decrease symptoms of depression, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a feeling of overall well-being.

A person doing yoga on a rock on the beach.

Should I Do Yoga Before Or After Running?

We will discuss some of the pros and cons of running before or after yoga.

As will be uncovered in this discussion, it may be better to do yoga before or after running based on your particular goals and needs.

That said, the good news is that by and large, runners will benefit from adding yoga to their running routine, and yogis will benefit by running whether they do yoga before or after a running workout.

Benefits of Doing Yoga Before a Run

Here are some of the benefits of doing yoga before running or running after doing yoga:

A person running on a sunny day.

#1: Yoga Before Running Can Help You Warm Up

Doing yoga before running can be beneficial because yoga increases circulation and can help warm up your muscles before running rather than jumping right into a high-intensity session after sitting down all day.  

This is especially true if you do a yoga flow, like Vinyasa yoga, which can function like dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching increases blood flow to your muscles and prepares them for exercise.

#2: Yoga Before Running Can Increase Your Mind-Body Connection

One of the benefits of yoga is that it increases the mind-body connection, which means you’ll have better body awareness and will feel more connected to your breath while running.

Benefits of Doing Yoga After a Workout

Here are some benefits of rolling out your yoga mat and spending some time doing yoga poses or a full yoga flow after running:

A person running.

#1: Doing Yoga After Running Is a Great Way to Cool Down

Oftentimes, as soon as we are done running, we want nothing more than to have a big glass of cold water or an electrolyte drink and then jump in the shower and move on with the day.

However, most runners are aware of the benefits of stretching and doing a thorough cool down, and doing yoga after running can be a great way to accomplish these goals.

Doing yoga after running helps guide your heart rate and respiration rates back down. If you go directly from a hard running workout to a hot shower or sitting or lying down to rest, your heart rate will plummet.

This can lead to blood pooling in your lower extremities, which can cause lightheadedness and may exacerbate delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the days following the running workout.

Basically, running and then doing yoga right afterward gives your body a gentle way to facilitate the transition from high-intensity cardio exercise to a fully resting state.

A class of people doing yoga.

#2: Doing Yoga After Running Can Reduce Muscle Soreness

Just as yoga helps your body cool down from running from a cardiovascular standpoint, a post-run yoga session cooldown is also a great way to stretch out your muscles and continue perfusing them with good blood flow to aid recovery from running.

Blood carries oxygen and nutrients such as amino acids and glycogen.

If you sit down or stop moving right after running, blood flow will quickly drop down to resting levels, and the skeletal muscles will not receive as much oxygenated blood as if you continue to be moderately active by doing yoga. 

The glucose will be used by the muscles to help restore muscle glycogen and also provide the energy necessary to take the amino acid building blocks and assemble them into prepared proteins. This is an anabolic process that requires energy.

Getting enough oxygenated blood to your muscles after exercise will help ensure they have plenty of resources for the recovery process. Enhanced circulation by doing yoga after running will also help flush away residual metabolic byproducts from a hard run.

Together, these benefits of doing yoga after a running workout can potentially reduce muscle soreness and support faster recovery.

Indeed, studies show that incorporating yoga into your workout routine can reduce DOMS. 

A person doing a yoga pose.

#3: Doing Yoga After Running Can Increase Flexibility 

Many runners are notoriously tight and do not necessarily like to do lots of stretching. 

The good news is that a lot of yoga poses focus on lengthening and stretching muscles and connective tissues surrounding a joint. 

This can help improve flexibility.

Particularly if you do a style of yoga like Hatha vs. Vinyasa, which involves holding poses rather than moving through a dynamic flow, yoga is akin to static stretching.

Thus, it is best to do yoga after your run because research shows that static stretching can temporarily reduce strength output, so doing yoga before a workout can potentially compromise your performance in the workout. 

So, how do you decide if it is better to do yoga before or after your run?

Generally speaking, deciding how to structure yoga and running in the same workout session will depend on your fitness goals, the type of running workout you’re going to do (easy run, long run, speed workout, hill sprints, etc.), and the style of yoga you are practicing. 

As a general rule of thumb, it tends to be better to do yoga after running.

If you are specifically using yoga to build strength, we have eight specific poses for you to try out here.

A yoga class.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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