Swimming, biking and running for short or long distances requires a tremendous amount of strength, endurance and mental stamina. While a triathlon-specific training regime is necessary in developing staying power, a yoga program will also physically and mentally help take you to the finish line.
Power for the Swim
Stretching is definitely crucial to counter balance the muscle tightening actions of triathlon training, however stretching against a light resistance (as in yoga) will not only lengthen your muscles, it will improve the contractibility of your muscle fibers. This means your muscles will have the range of motion and power required to propel your body through the water. Practice the following stretch for up to one minute, five times a day.
Door Jamb Stretch: Stand in a doorway with both arms along the side of the door, elbows bent in a 90-degree angle. Lean forward through the door to stretch your chest as well as your shoulders. This will help your freestyle stroke and give you the power advantage against someone who suffers from a tight upper body.
Endurance for the Ride
A strong core will keep your body feeling tough and resilient, but while strong abdominals are important, a sturdy low back is key in taking you to the finish line without extra fatigue. After sitting for miles on your bike, your back will inevitably begin to tire and drain you of your energy. Prevent this with the following yoga pose.
Locust Pose: Lay on your stomach with both arms stretched by your sides. With your palms facing up, raise your upper body and both arms off the mat. You may also raise both legs. Lift and hold for up to five deep breaths. Release back down to the mat, rest for 30 seconds and then repeat, up to five times.
Mental Stamina for the Run
Whether it is a 5K or a half-marathon left in the race, drawing on your mental skills will give you the inspiration to keep charging ahead. Practice the following guided imagery several days before the race to assure a strong finish.
Visualization Technique: Sit in a comfortable position away from external distractions. With your eyes closed, visualize the road ahead of you. See it vividly, with trees, bushes or other familiar landscape features. Feel your legs moving in a comfortable and relaxed cadence. Sense a burst of energy coming into your legs every time your feet hit the pavement. Picture the finish line. Hear the cheers of your friends and family praising your hard work, encouraging you to take those victorious final steps.
If visualizing your loved ones cheering for you has sparked your interest to train for your first triathlon, visit Beginner Triathlete and start training today. For the ladies, Danskin Triathlon and Iron Girl offers information and events for girl powered races in your area.