This post was originally posted on the Flexible Warrior blog and is re-published here with permission from the author.
Spring is in the air and many more runners are lacing up and hitting the streets!
Training consistently is of course key to fitness and a successful race day. But since everyone is so busy, runners often skimp on stretching, cross-training and eating healthy. There is only so much time in the day! Juggling kids, full-time jobs and a logging miles is no joke!
That’s why incorporating superfoods, smoothies and yoga is so great for runners.
Both yoga and smoothies are fast, efficient and super effective at helping runners boost energy and recover faster. And like running, yoga doesn’t require any equipment. All you need is 10 – 15 minutes plus consistency, commitment, showing up and doing the work. A yoga mat is nice, but not a necessity.
As for smoothies, all you need is a blender, superfoods in your fridge and pantry, an open mind, and about 10 minutes. If it’s new for you, it may take some extra time, but as you gain experience you’ll be in and out of the kitchen faster than a drive-through window and WAY healthier. Pour your smoothie into a mason jar and off you go… it’s delicious, healthy fast food to go!
If you’re really motivated, get your post-run smoothie prepped before your run, and drink it during your post-run stretch! That’s my kind of mulit-tasking.
Why Yoga and Superfoods?
Adding both Yoga & Superfoods to your training schedule will take about 20-30 minutes a day and will reap you a ton of benefits… increased energy, endurance and core strength, decreased inflammation, pain and chances of injury, improved flexibility and performance and even weight loss and a faster recovery! Even if you only do yoga and add a smoothie 3 – 4x a week, you’re likely to see and feel the benefits.
Superfoods are the perfect nutrient-dense fuel for warriors and are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals. I’m a big fan of an anti-inflammatory superfood diet because it decreases inflammation in the body (which can lead to pain and chronic health issues along with a slower recovery) and it can boost energy, stamina, immunity and speed recovery.
Some of my favorite anti-inflammatory superfoods for runners are coconut oil, ginger, turmeric, lemon, avocado, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, raw cacao, himalayan sea salt, bean sprouts, pumpkin seeds, kale, bananas, blueberries and goji berries (I could go on and on).
As you add in superfood smoothies, it will help you “crowd out” and limit unhealthy inflammatory foods like sugar, artificial sweetners, refined carbohydrates, fried foods, soda, processed meats, dairy, and gluten.
Weight loss is often another nice “side effect” of incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet.
Willpower vs. Chillpower
The Flexible Warrior approach is all about the balance of opposites. Do hard things that require willpower, perseverance and determination and balance it out with what I call “chillpower” to recover, rest and recharge. Superfoods and Yoga are both great ways for runners to incorporate more self-care and chillpower into a busy training schedule and hectic life.
My favorite chillpower yoga pose for runners is called “legs up the wall” (Tarah Willson picture left – Yoga for Runners at CCR Timonium). This pose helps to restore tired legs and feet.
Be sure to add Legs Up The Wall pose to your post long run / race day recovery routine. Again, no equipment required. Stay in the pose for about 5 minutes. Breathe!
I also encourage runners to take an Epsom salt bath and / or use a topical magnesium oil to help tired muscles rejuvinate, relax and recover. If you don’t have time for an Epsom salt bath (or if you’re in a hotel or no access to a tub), try magnesium oil on the bottoms of feet before you go to bed. Add a few drops of lavendar to the magnesium oil to support a restful and rejuviating nights sleep. Many athletes are magnesium defficient so supplementing can be beneficial too. I use Natural Calm.
Time to Stretch
Taking 10 – 15 minutes at the end of your run can make a big difference over time. Again, the beauty of yoga is you can do it at home! I have a Youtube channel with lots of free segments and Charm City Run hosts Yoga for Runners classes frequently in their stores.
Here are two post run stretch routines to try (the first one is a little more basic and the second is a little more advanced so go at your own pace, honor and protect your body and give them a try)…
Post Run Chocolate Berry Superfood Smoothie
This smoothie is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, protein and healthy fats to help you rehydrate, refuel and recover.
1 cup coconut water
1/2 cup coconut or almond milk
2 T goji berries
1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 T coconut oil
2 T chia seeds
1 T raw cacao
1 T raw honey
1 scoop Vegan protein powder (I use Sunwarrior vanilla)
Optional, top with cacoa nibs and extra goji berries and chia seeds (beware, chia seeds will stick between your teeth – don’t say I didn’t warn you )
To make: place goji berries and coconut water in the blender and let soak about 10 minutes to soften. Add all the other ingrediants and blend well. Add extra water or ice to desired consistency. Enjoy while stretching (hint hint)
Healthy Sports Drink
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for performance and overall health. Instead of grabbing a florescent green sports drink that’s full of artificial colors and sweetners, you can make your own natural sports drink Coconut water is natures sports drink and has electrolytes and potassium, but by adding a few extra ingrediants to your coconut water, you can truly make your own healthy sports drink to rehydrate and replenish the body. Just combine all ingrediants in a mason jar, shake and store in the fridge…
2 cups Coconut Water
1 cup 100% fruit juice (like POMwonderful)
1 t Pink Himalayan sea salt
2 T coconut sugar or raw honey
2 lemons or limes, juiced
Interested to add more yoga and superfoods to your training? Join the Flexible Warrior 5 Day Core Yoga & Smoothie Challenge! This challenge is about adding in more superfood smoothies to your diet plus doing daily short yoga segments to increase core strength, which can help you run more efficiently … The program is all online, so you can participate in your own home at any time that suits your busy schedule! Plus you’ll have access to the recipes and yoga forever.
About the Author: Karen Dubs
Karen Dubs has been in the fitness industry for over 30 years. She is a registered yoga teacher, a holistic health coach and a doTerra wellness advocate, specializing in helping athletic, Type A’s create more balanced, pain-free, flexible minds and bodies by incorporating an anti-inflammatory superfood diet along with essential oils, supplements and simple self-care techniques. Karen believes that everyone is a warrior on some level… Whether you are a professional athlete trying to recover faster and improve flexibility, a corporate executive wanting to reduce stress or chronic pain, a cancer survivor or a stay-at-home mom trying to stay healthy, calm and energized… We are all warriors! Check out the Flexible Warrior blog here.