Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Yogi Triathlete

So, I am now in my week 6 of my 1/2 Ironman plan. Here is what my week looks like...

Monday - Off day
Tuesday - Swim at 8am (1950meter - speed intervals) and Bike on trainer 1:10 (9x1min Z5)
Wednesday - Strength training and Run Speed Intervals or track workout (50-60 min)
Thursday - Run 50 minute @Z2 then Bike for 1:30 @Z2 (think I may do the Group ride for this)
Friday - Strength training (plyos/core) and Swim 2000 m (drills/intervals)
Sat - Bike 2 hours and 30 minute run (BRICK)
Sun - Swim Time Trial (w/up, then 1650 TT, c/d) and then 1 hour Run

A few posts ago, I talked about the importance of incorporating strength training, but what I also need to do is incorporate yoga back again...another thing I used to love before triathlon training got the best of me...but if you think about it - we need yoga more than anything.
So today, on Tuesday, I did my Yoga for Athletes tape and feel so much better, that I thought I needed to blog about it.

Here are just a couple applications to yoga and triathlon training:

Learning to control the breath in difficult positions
Whenever I am running in a race or just a really hard run or even the anxiety of a swim at a triathlon event, the very first thing hat comes to mind is Brian Kest. You are probably saying "who the hell is Brian Kest?" Well, Brian has been my yoga friend since VHS tapes were out...Okay so he isn't REALLY my friend, but I have been doing his power yoga tapes for a long time. He always talks about breathing in difficult position, finding your breath, controlling the breath. When I get into these difficult positions (running hard, swim start, etc.). I have found that by focusing on the breath, it calms me down and gets me focused on the task at hand WITHOUT sacrificing form/speed!

Focusing on your core and lower back when running, biking (using your aero bars) and swimming.
The reason everyone talks about the core, the core, the core. Are you tired of it? Well don't be, LISTEN UP , the core is more important than you think and you should try to do DAILY core exercises, whether that be yoga, a random plank or side plank during the day, just do it. Also, since we are focusing on core - PLEASE DON'T forget the opposing muscle - the lower back. I have had injuries and pain in my back from biking that I found was due to passing up on my core/lower back exercises, whenever, I focus on it - NO PAIN. So start thinking back to being in gymnastics and gym class and do that bridge pose or the wheel (I mean how much fun was that!!). And don't worry if you can't do them yet, work up to it, gives you some motivation. Check out www.yogajournal.com/poses for a list.

I also did a little internet searching for additional resources and found this blogger, he has a couple yoga maneuvers to work on for getting into aero position. Triathlon Training Frenzy

Balance - keeping your eyes focused on something.
It helps increase my focus on the task at hand. I sometimes feel a little ADD at times and yoga really does help keep me focused. It also helps my balance, I find I fish-tail in the water too much, but if I focus on looking straight, I swim straighter, thus not adding to extra unnecessary energy output. We want to be as efficient as possible.

Pigeon Pose and opening up your hips
"Hips are huge storage depots for the stress and tension" for running and high impact sports. Another line from Brian, but I am telling you it is true! Have you ever just got into pigeon posed and sighed with relief (and pain).

Here are the tapes I own and I love...I am not saying do Yoga everyday, we have too much other stuff going on, but stretching/yoga/core is so important that even if you incorporate a 15-20 min set a few days a week will help you in the long run.

Yoga for Athletes
This tape is a new favorite, especially since I am now training year-round. I dislike the lack of real flow but for just getting what needs to be done and if you aren't a huge yogi connoisseur this is a really good tape. She focuses on what athletes need to focus on.

Brian Kest Power Yoga (3 workouts)
Well, I think you know I am inpartial. I started doing this because a colleague of mine was a yoga instructer and I asked him what I should get that would be close to a class but not quite expert language and such...Started out in level 1, then did 2 and 3 over the years. All three are a little different. If I haven't done yoga in a while (shame on me) I do level 1. Then go back. Level 3 has a great backbend series. The outfits are yoga circa 1990 but it works!

Shivea Rea(build your own) - Yoga Shakti

The other one I was recommended was by Shiva Rea - she is wonderful, her voice is great, the serene area on the beach is nice. She is tough but shows you additional levels for poses. Plus the cool part is you can make your own workout and mix and match or just use the ones they suggest. These recommended ones are a little longer so I would suggest if you don't have the time do this in the off-season unless you make up your own track.

Oh and this is my yoga partner - seems like he likes to hang out with the mat whenever I do yoga, and does his own little "cat stretches."


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