Lesson Plan (Intermediate) for Runners

*This 60-min workout is customised for runners. Targets building strength in gluts and muscles around knees, introduces some core strength, opening chest and strengthening back muscles for better shoulder position.  Also builds stability and balance, and increases flexibility in muscle areas that are typically tight in runners, i.e. lots of stretching for hamstrings, quads and hip flexors.

 

Om 3x and warm-up (10-15 minutes)

  • Starting in seated position (after Om): Half-circles with neck. R/L, R/L, R/L
  • Bend head to the right, gently pressing head down with left hand. For a more intense stretch rest your right hand lightly by your side.
  • Shoulder rolls – rotate outwards, then inwards
  • Arms up by shoulders, small circles….. change direction
  • Arms in front , small circles… change direction
  • Arms big circles, like you’re flapping angel wings.
  • Deltoid and tricep stretches
  • Rounded back stretch (arms in front), chest opening (arms behind), seated twist (R&L)
  • Stand up – feet slightly apart, arms relaxed, and then just twist your upper body from side to side, let your arms swing with the momentum
  • Hands on hip, hip rotation
  • Swing leg forwards and backwards; Ankle rotation
  • Jump up and down lightly, and then bounce higher, like you’re on a trampoline. Bounce, bounce bounce, slowly come down lower
  • Jog lightly on the spot, bring knees up high, higher, higher… slow down to a light jog again
  • Kick heels to butt, kick, kick, kick , slower down to a jog, then come back to standing.

 

ACTUAL PRACTICE

Surya Namaskar A (5x)

1) Virabhadrasana A (1 min each side)

Builds strength on muscles around front knee, flexibility in hip flexors & lower leg of back leg

2) Utthita Trikonasana (1 min each side)

Builds isometric strength, stretches side and chest

  • Variation: Do against wall, using block  

3) Virabhadrasana C (30 sec each side)

Builds strength in glutes, hip stabilizers. Requires core stability and focused sense of balance

  • From Trikonasana, slowly release raise torso back up with hands still outstretched, then jump with feet together at middle of mat.
  • Inhale arms up over your head and interlace your fingers, index fingers pointing upwd
  • Exhale shift weight to right leg, lifting left leg behind. Hinge at your hips as you lean torso and arms fwd until torso is parallel to the ground. Feel your arms and left leg pulled in opposite directions, making one straight line. Your body is now a “”T-shape””.
  • Hold. Inhale, maintaining straight line as you slowly raise your arms up while lowering left leg back to floor. Exhale shake it out.

4) Parsvottanasana (1 minute each side)

Stretches hamstring and hip stretch for front leg, calf stretch for back leg. Opens chest.

  • Rotate shoulders inward & bring hands behind your back into reverse prayer (anjali mudra), fingers pointing upward. Keep shoulders down away from ears
  • Open up chest and raise elbows until forearms are parallel with floor
  • Inhale take a big step to the right to face the back, right foot and knee facing straight, left foot turned out about 45 deg. Square your hips. Tuck in your pelvis slightly
  • Inhale and lift your spine up tall, exhale fold forward from hips keeping back straight
  • Fold halfway until torso parallel to floor. Hold for 5 breaths, lift sternum & gaze upwds
  • Fold down until stomach on thighs, feet firmly on the mat. Hold. Pivot & repeat on left
  • To release, lift sternum and come up, then release mudra
  • Variation: If arms too tight for Anjali Mudra, take arms behind back and clasp opp. elbows

5) Utthan Prithasana (Lizard Pose)

Stretches tight hip flexors and hamstrings

  • Step fwd with right leg, bend knee and sink into low lunge, lower back leg onto mat
  • Place hands on mat on inside of right foot, moving front leg slightly wider to side
  • Lower elbows and forearms to the mat
  • To release, push torso up with elbows & bring right knee back. Knee up. Switch to left
  • Variation: lift back leg-knee off floor for more intensity

6) Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of Fishes)

Twists spine, hip stretch and chest stretch

  • Sit in Dandasana. Bend right knee up & bring foot over left thigh, right foot flat on mat
  • Keeping left leg on mat, bend left knee and bring left heel to outside of right hip
  • Place right hand behind you, inhale and lift up through spine. Exhale and twist to right, placing left elbow against right knee. Twist torso further turning to look at back of room
  • Twist deeper with each exhalation. Lengthen spine, pull tailbone down on floor.
  • Gently untwist as you exhale. Repeat on left side

7) Virasana and Supta Virasana (Hero’s Pose and Reclining Hero’s Pose)

Stretches quads, iliopsoas, sartorius

  • Come up on all fours. Bring knees together until they touch, push tops of feet into mat
  • Lift your torso upright, put hands on thighs, lean forward slightly and sit back onto butt, resting between your heels
  • Lift chest, press shoulders down and back, lengthen tailbone and rest on sit bones
  • Press knees and inner thighs together pointing straight forward, feet close to hips and ankles comfortable, not in awkward angle
  • Sit and hold for a few breaths. then slowly lean back. Exhale, hands behind you for support, lowering yourself onto elbows
  • Recline all the wab back until back reaches the floor.  Arms rest on either side, palms up
  • Squeeze knees together and keep knees firmly on mat. Do not lift them.
  • Hold. To release, slowly push yourself up with elbows until you come up on knees
  • Avoid: sliding knees further apart than hips

8) Suptha Padangusthasana (30-40 sec per stretch – front and side)

Intense hamstring and inner thigh stretch

  • Lie back down on mat facing ceiling, legs together straight out. Fold right knee up
  • Use first three fingers of right hand to hold right big toe OR slip a strap/towel under right foot and straighten leg toward ceiling, flexing foot.
  • Keep right leg straight as you pull it closer towards chest
  • Keep back and shoulders firmly on mat (don’t lift right shoulder off mat)
  • Hold, then keeping hips square, bring right leg to side , stretching from the hips

9) Navasana (Boat pose)

Builds core strength (abs, hip flexors, quads)

  • Hold for 1 min. Drop feet to mat,  come up on knees and lie face down in crocodile
  • Variation: Half-boat (Ardha Navasana) option, keep knees bent 90 deg

10) Salabhasana (Locust pose) 30sec x 2

Builds strength in erector spinae, rhomboids and serratus ( to maintain good shoulder position. Builds hamstring strength.

  • Turn your face to centre, nose and forehead on mat, arms resting on either side
  • Turn your legs in toward each other so knees point directly into the floor
  • Squeeze buttocks, inhale, and lift your head, chest, arms and legs at the same time
  • Extend arms and legs behind, lift as high as possible, balancing on pelvis and lower abs
  • Keep head and neck neutral. Breathe slowly and hold. Lower arms & legs to floor. Rest

11) Dhanurasana (bow pose) 30sec x 2

Building mor
e back strength, really opens up chest, builds strength in glutes

  • Inhale place chin on floor, exhale as you bend your knees, reach arms behind to grasp your ankles from outside.
  • Inhale and lift chest off the floor, kicking legs up. Lift thighs off the floor, shift weight to abs and keep knees closer together

20) Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand) 40-60sec/20-25 breaths

Inversion means gravity increases venous blood flow to heart, brain and eyes, relaxes heart. Stimulates thyroid, smoothes nervous system, excellent for relieving stress/tension/anxiety

  • Lie on your back, arms by side, bend knees with heels on mat close to sitting bones
  • Exhale, press arms against floor and push feet away from mat, drawing thighs toward chest
  • Continue to lift by curling the pelvis and then the back torso away from the floor, so that your knees come toward your face
  • Bend elbows up, resting upper arms on mat (parallel to side of your torso)
  • Draw elbows inward (about shoulder width or slightly less) to bring hands under your torso. Support your back with palms pressing into your back
  • Raise pelvis up and over shoulders so that torso is about 90 deg to the floor (legs prob bent)
  • Inhale and lift your bent knees toward the ceiling, bringing thighs in line with torso
  •  Finally inhale and straighten your legs, pressing the heels up toward the ceiling
  • Soften the throat and tongue. Firm the shoulder blades against the back, and move the sternum toward the chin. Try to lift the upper spine away from the floor
  • Variation: Use folded towel to support neck area if neck has bony protrusions
  • Variation: Halasana if shoulder stand is too intense for first-timers in the pose

 

*To expand into 75 or 90-minute workout, introduce additional poses e.g.:

– Pavritta Trikonasana

– Prasarita Padottanasana A, C

– Planks, plank with alternate arm/leg lift, low plank and side plank

– Pidgeon stretch

– Lunge at wall (bend right knee up 90 deg, slide left shin & top of left foot against wall

– Purvottasana

– Halasana

 

(Laurel, 200hr TTC)