The difference between a good race and a great race is in the subtle preparation. After working with 6 different Ironman world champions, I realized that their preparation was similar: Everything was measured to fit one intention, they wanted to peak, on one day to be the best. When you peak something else can happen.
All of these great athletes trained to peak, mentally and physically. When you train your mind pushes your body through grueling workouts. When you race, the body challenges the mind to except the extraordinary. Stretching will fine tune this mind/ body relationship. Use this set of stretches to relax the body, focus the mind, and prepare to peak.
The master of peaking, Lance Armstrong, spent more of his career with his legs elevated then he did on his bike. The reason Lance likes this position is because it is an easy and effective way to move blood from the legs to the lungs to the heart. To have a great race the legs must be recovered, and feel sharp and snappy. Pros like this stretch because you do nothing and get something.
Legs on wall chest open
- Lie on your back with a rolled up towel or pillow under your head.
- The back of the neck is elongated, chin toward chest.
- The legs need to be at least a foot higher then the head. More is ok. If you can, rest the legs on a couch or a chair.
- The lower back will be flat on the floor.
- The knees can be bent.
- A pillow in-between the shoulder blades opens the chest to add to the relaxing nature of this position.
There is always time to put your legs up. Keep them elevated as often as possible. Legs elevated are contraindicated for persons with high blood pressure.
Seated Pure Hip
There is an image of Aristotle in seated pure hip called, “The Thinker”. Taking this position will give you precise information on the state of the hips, the pivot of all movement. Aristotle knew that if the hips were tight, movement would be labored and the lower back could stiffen. Pros have had to pull out of big races because of lower back and or sciatic problems. In addition, stress from training likes to affect the adrenal glands. Pure hip can help bring circulation and recovery to this tight and tired gland.
- Sit on a chair
- Take the right shin over the left thigh.
- Lean the head toward the left knee.
- Let the arms drape over the leg.
This stretch is strong and direct. When you feel something in the hip wait, let the hip release before moving deeper. The hip wants to open slowly. Never force your stretches.
It is often something simple that separates the good from the great. Be a great racer; let your training infuse your racing with power and stamina. Elevate your legs, release your hips, bring yourself to a peak.
Race and train forever.