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Yoga for Ironman: Q&A with Ironman Brochan Watts

Yoga for Ironman: Q&A with Ironman Brochan Watts

September 3, 2018

This month the Founded Wellness Yoga team have caught up with to Brochan Watts, 34, from South London. Brochan works in creative in advertising and has been racing for 8 years training with ABC Pure Coaching. He will be racing in Kona this October, so as a serious triathlete using yoga both on and off season, we asked him a few questions:

Q: How would you define your racing goals?
A: My main goal is to get the most out of myself on the day.

Q: How long have you been incorporating yoga into your triathlon training?
A: Not very long, I started when I met my wife 2 years ago but wish I’d taken up yoga a long time ago as I think it would have made me fitter and faster.

Q: How do you define the yoga that you do as part of your training?
A: During the racing season I find the most benefit in doing yin/relaxation yoga, it helps me absorb and balance the training and quieten my mind. It helps me engage the parasynthetic nervous system.

Off-season I stiffen up, so I do more dynamic yoga because I find my body responds better to that. It’s easier for my body when my other training is low.

Q: How exactly do you integrate yoga into your training routine?
A: Well by the end of the season I get stiff and suffer from sciatica, tight hips/glutes, so I do a lot of dynamic yoga during that time as it keeps my blood moving, muscles supple and maintains flexibility. It also keeps my mind interested and challenged. I do yoga 2-3 times a week during at that time. In season I’m lucky if I do yoga every fortnight. However, I do still do a lot more box breathing and meditation instead

Q: What does having yoga in your training plan mean for you?
A: Yoga has become an integral part of my normal triathlon training. I use yoga as a recovery component, alongside sleep and nutrition.

Q: How different is this to what you expected and previously thought about yoga?
A: I thought yoga was more for women and hippies, associating it with wind-chimes, singing religion. Now Yoga has become a bonding activity that I do with my wife and it helps me get the most out of my body.

Q: What are your main go-to yoga poses?
A: During the off-season, I benefit from warrior sequence poses, half-moon pose, single leg poses (rotation helps my hip/leg joints).

Off-season I find that yin poses such as pigeon pose, targeting the glutes is more beneficial.

Q: What’s the impact of yoga on your racing?
A: I feel like yoga has made me faster. Off-season it helps me switch off and recover better. During the racing season, I feel that yoga has helped me absorb the long training hours and helps me recover almost immediately after the training.

Q: Which of those classic triathlon ailments have been eased with yoga?
A: So much! Sciatica, tight hips/glutes, my hip flexors and tfl become very tight so the stretching and strengthening of yoga help me combat these issues.

Q: What message do you have for a triathlete considering taking up some yoga?
A: Give it a try, everyone should give it a go because you’re potentially missing a trick. The mindfulness element really helps with visualisation and calming techniques.

Q: Often we hear that lack of time is the biggest barrier for triathletes when looking to do some yoga and how this conflicts with other training. What is your thought on this?
A: Triathletes train for 3 sports as well as doing strengthening and conditioning exercises, so often sleep and recovery is generally first to be neglected. Yoga and mindfulness should be higher up on the list of activities due to the benefits achieved by these but I can see that it is difficult.

Q: What are your online yoga recommendations? For those wanting to give it a go.
A: The race club has a good online yoga video routine (via the race club Youtube channel).

Q: How do you see your training, coaching, and yoga uniting in the future?
A: My wife and I are working on setting up a yoga retreat offering food, yoga, meditation, plus triathlon training and massage. I think that showing people that training and recovery are both components in a well-balanced training routine, it will negate preconceptions/stigmas about yoga and relaxation.

For more information about Yoga for Triathlon, you can contact the Founded Wellness team directly for suggestions of specialist yoga teachers for athletes in your area. You can also follow Brochan on instagram via @fox_and_bear_triathlon_yoga and Founded Wellness via @foundedwellness 

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