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Swim, Bike, Run, and Yoga

Posted by: on June, 12 2012

Swim, Bike, Run & Yoga
Found on Spinnervals and written By Karen Dubs
You’ve been hearing about all the great benefits of yoga and want to add it to your triathlon training, but where do you start, and how do you fit it in to your already packed training schedule?

Yoga can increase your flexibility, strength, and balance which can help prevent injury, reduce recovery time and positively affect performance. But like all training frequency and consistency is the key to success. Its not necessarily how long you do it, but how often.

Many triathletes have very busy training schedules and lives and skip yoga and stretching in general because of limited time. “I began to feel less stiff and more flexible within a few short sessions. When I skip my yoga sessions because of busy training and race schedules, my body starts to ache so its worth it to spend a few minutes after each training session to stretch,” says Hollie Kenney,
USA Triathlon coach and 17 time All American Pro Triathlete.

I interviewed of few of my fellow female triathlete friends who have incorporated yoga into their training routine to create this list of “top 10 poses” to compliment your swim, bike, run training.
Hollie Kenney has a love / hate relationship with Warrior 2 pose. “I love warrior poses because they stretch and strengthen at the same time. I can feel my front quad burning, a stretch in my hip flexor and my back calf. It’s always surprising to me how hard these poses are to hold. I do Ironman distance races and these poses challenge me in a different way and are great cross training” says Hollie. “I also like Crescent Lunge and Dancer’s Pose for hip flexor stretches, strength and balance.

Juda McGannon is a five-time Ironman distance finisher and USA Triathlon Coach. “My favorite pose is pigeon. It helps to relieve tension and tightness from my hips and piriformis from long rides and runs. I also like doing “Eagle arms” before my swims to open up my shoulders,” says Juda.
Kathryn Heyl, who competes regularly in marathons as well as triathlon, agrees with Juda. “I love the hip stretch I get in Pigeon,” says Kathryn. “Including yoga into my training has been so valuable,” says Kathryn. “I’m typically prone to injury so it’s important for me to redirect my focus on recovery and rebuilding as opposed to the natural breakdown that happens with my other workouts.”

Kathryn also includes Triangle and Forward Fold with Chest Expansion among her favorite poses.
Gaby Fisphaw also competes in triathlon and running races. She agrees that Eagle is one of her favorite poses for shoulders and balance. In addition, she likes Pyramid for the intense hamstring stretch, Reclined Pigeon for hips, and Balancing Half Moon for the mental and physical challenge. But Gaby says favorite pose of all is Downward Dog with Calf Stretch variation for “the ultimate
hamstring, shoulder and calf stretch.”

Try these five poses in the comfort of you own home (it should take you about 10 minutes). You don’t need any special equipment or expensive gear for yoga (although a yoga mat is helpful).

Practice Tips:
•Move slowly and deliberately into and out of your pose. Listen to your body.
•Do not force a stretch! Doing so will only tighten muscles and can result in injury.
•Hold each pose for 5 – 10 breath cycles
•Focus on full diaphragmatic breathing to open the body and calm the mind. Breathe in and out of your nose.
•Add “Yoga” to your training schedule and commit to stretching 10 minutes, 2 – 3 times a week minimum.
•Practice several or all of these poses after each swim, ride or run.

Remember… The time you take to add yoga to your training routine can actually save you recovery time, get you back on the race course faster, or spare you time off due to injuries.

Karen Dubs is the creator of the Flexible Warrior: Yoga for Triathletes DVD series. For more information visit www.flexiblewarrior.com