Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why I'm Incorporating Yoga & Strength Training Into Triathlon Training

Since posting my approach to training for my second triathlon I have been asked why I am including yoga and strength training into my plan. Why not just swim, bike, run? Let me explain.

The yoga class that I go to on Tuesday & Thursday morning's is a stretching based yoga. At the end of class we do some strength based poses but for the most part it is all stretching all the time. It is well known that runners need to stretch after working out but I find it difficult to actually take the time to stretch. I would rather take a shower and eat a big sandwich than stretch. Yoga incorporates stretches that I wouldn't normally think to do and the instructor in always finding ways for us to increase the stretch when we need it. Stretching helps maintain our range of motion, which helps us get faster and develop more power.

Additionally, yoga helps build balance which helps prevent injuries. Many athletes have imbalances and doing balance balance exercises can really with these. Balance also increases your mobility and flexibility, which as mentioned above helps us get faster and develop more power. Yoga also helps quiet my mind. I don't have to push myself while doing yoga but rather can relax and enjoy just being. Yoga certainly isn't for everyone but I have noticed a difference in my running, my recovery, and my mindset since starting.

Strength Training
I have only been to the gym to lift a few times but I know how beneficial it is. The first time I dabbled in lifting was a few years ago when I was still swimming competitively. I was coming off of an injury and needed to start strength training in order to stabilize my shoulders and rebuild the muscle I had lost from having surgery. I was amazed at how much stronger I felt in the water after only a few days. It is important when doing strength training to focus on the big muscle groups because those are the ones that get used the most both in training and in every day life. It is also important to strengthen the stabilizer muscles to help prevent injury.

Strength training can help increase speed and endurance in running and hill climbing on the bike. I am a weak cyclist and even weaker hill climber so strengthening my legs and core is a must if a want to see improvements. The great thing about strength training is that it benefits swimming, biking, and running. You use you legs in all three sports and even if you don't realize it you are also using your arms and core.

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