By Chris George – Run Course Champion
Let’s face it, triathletes place a good deal of stress on their bodies. No matter whether you’re listening or not, your body does cry “uncle” from time to time. Most often we choose to ignore our bodies until it’s too late. Next thing we know, we’re sidelined and asking ourselves “Now what?”
Ahhhh, the beauty of stretching.
I’ve never been a huge fan of stretching to tell you the truth. It has only been within the past few weeks that I’ve come to find the benefits that stretching yields. While juggling a full-time job, my training routine, social/family time, and the various other things I put on my plate, stretching is the area that I tend to neglect. I’ve been warned multiple times by my lovely girlfriend that I can’t keep beating on my body week after week, month after month, year after year, without doing any preventative maintenance. i.e. stretching/yoga. “Your body needs to be taken care of.” “You’re not going to be doing this very much longer unless you change your ways and take care of yourself.” “You sound like an old man when you get out of a chair or off of the couch.” And most recently, “I told you so!”
A few years ago I had bad I.T. band problems. This led to many races being skipped and a good deal of preregistration money lost. I got to a point where my I.T. bands were so tight that I couldn’t move. I learned the hard way. Along comes my new best friend, the foam roller. Now I use that beautiful piece of foam at least 4 times a week. So far, so good. It keeps my legs feeling fresh and allows me to do the things I want to do without pain.
After my back went out and I had to miss 3 days of training, I felt it was a good time to introduce some of this stretching/yoga stuff into my routine. I don’t want to learn the hard way again. Right off the bat, it helped immensely. Now, I feel that it’s a necessity that I incorporate a few moves each day to avoid possible long-term pitfalls. Granted, everybody has their own way of doing things, but for me, easy stretching before a workout followed by 15 mins. of deeper stretches helps. A yoga class here and there isn’t a bad idea either.
Here are a few triathlete specific stretches that I like: Click here to download!
Have fun and stay healthy!