Athlete spotlight: Yoga key to ultrarunner Rory Bosio’s routine

Yoga helps prevent and treat injuries for long distance runner

Long-distance runner Rory Bosio has been hitting the trails since she was 11, and she loves the simplicity of the sport. “No fancy gear needed,” she said. “You can do it pretty much anywhere.” She likens this mindset to yoga, which she practices daily to supplement her running regimen.

Yoga not only helps her unwind and loosen up tight muscles, but it also helps with injury prevention and treatment, like IT band injuries, a common malady for runners. She took notice of yoga as a young teenager. “I grew up doing sports that a lot of kids do,” Bosio said, “like soccer, running, biking, skiing, etc. Yoga was so different and required skills that my body hadn’t mastered yet, like flexibility, balance and concentration.”

Bosio is one of the top ultrarunners in the world. She placed first for the women and seventh overall at the 2013 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc — where she smoked most of the field, covering 104 miles in 22 hours, 37 minutes. But yoga never takes a backseat. She carves out 45 to 90 minutes a couple times a week for a dedicated session, but takes 20 to 30 minutes every night to stretch out. “It’s a great way to finish the day and undo all the compacting and contracting I’ve done to my body,” Bosio said.

Her favorite postures include:

• Downward dog: “Great for stretching out tight calves, a side effect of running steep hills.”
• Hip openers, like pigeon: “My hips are constantly tight from running … it’s extremely challenging for me.”
• Backward bends, like camel and bridge: “This is one area where I’m actually more like a yogi than a runner.”
• Inversions, like handstands: “Great for balance and upper body strength. Because running is so lower-body focused, I like to do poses that focus on the upper body as a counterbalance and to give my legs a break.”

Bosio is what she calls a yoga polygamist; she doesn’t subscribe to any particular style of yoga. Rather, she enjoys a variety of disciplines, like ashtanga, vinyasa, Anusara and the occasional Bikram session.

When not coursing through the mountains, Bosio spends several days a week as a pediatric emergency room nurse in Tahoe, Calif., just 20 minutes away from her hometown of Truckee.