Sage Advice: Yoga During T2

Eleanore asked an interesting question:

Is there a good pose to do during T2 [the second transition, from bike to run, in a triathlon]? Something to help facilitate the transition from bike to run? Not for a sprint tri, but more for longer distance races where an extra two minutes spent in transition might be regained by a faster start on the run.

While a yoga pose or a stretch wouldn’t make you faster at the start of the run (nor do we need to be fast at the start of a run in a half or full iron-distance race), it certainly could improve your comfort in the first mile or two of the run, and that might mean that you run more relaxed, delaying a degradation in form and keeping you more comfortable, both of which will yield a faster time overall in the run.

With that in mind, we’d look for something that is (a) efficient, since you’ll be standing still for it when you could be moving; (b) addresses the effects of riding, especially in an aerodynamic position, releasing places that get tight (chest, hip flexors); (c) preps the muscles to run (specifically, engaging feet and releasing the calves and hip flexors).

Crescent with side bend
Crescent with side bend

For this, I like a crescent lunge with side stretch toward the front leg, as pictured here. From the bottom up, you’ll:

  • engage the foot of the front leg
  • stabilize the knee of the front leg
  • stretch the sole of the back foot
  • stretch the calf of the back foot
  • stretch the hip flexors of the back leg
  • stretch the obliques and intercostals of the back-leg side, making more space for breath
  • stretch the shoulder of the raised arm

I’d hold for five or ten breaths per side. Better yet, you could be multitasking—changing your shirt, for example—while you do it.