With ten years of Massage Therapy experience and being the sole owner of Cassidy’s Massage Clinic since 2003, I have been fortunate enough to build some great relationships with clients in tri-athalons and other sports. This has given me the opportunity to understand the inner workings of the athletic mind and body. Although I personally have been maintaining the “recreational tri-athlete” title, I find myself getting increasingly involved in the sport. My experience has proven that the proper scheduling and type of massage therapy not only decreases recovery time, but can be the deciding factor between a successful season and sitting injured on the sidelines.
So how can you implement a proper massage modality and schedule that corresponds to your training?
There are four main types of sport massage: pre-event, intra-event/training, post-event, and injury rehabilitation massage.
Pre-event massages are given directly before an athletic event, or for our sake, within 72 hours of a triathlon. They should be circulatory in nature; stimulating blood flow, opening up/increasing your range of motion, and helping the muscles get ready to fire. Assisting at races such as the Xterras and the Koz Enterprises race Series in San Diego , I have also found that mental relaxation is also a very beneficial component of the pre-event sports massage. It will calm the excitement and nervousness associated with being at the event, allowing for your stored energy to be used more efficiently. When you go to perform, you will be focused. It is absolutely critical that the therapist does not apply any deep tissue techniques, as it tends to leave the muscles sore and feeling heavy, which would impair the ability of your muscles to fire efficiently.
Intra-event/Training massage is the most common form of massage for triathletes. Regular treatments, when performed by a skilled sports massage exmouth therapist, can eliminate any chance of chronic or over-use injuries. Unfortunately, we usually have athletes come in for a massage after they have already started to feel the effects of an existing injury. The medical term for this (for those who are unaware) is “not-getting-massage-at-the-right-time-itis,” or, inflammation as a result of not getting a massage at the proper time. All joking aside, in this situation, massage will decrease recovery time and get you back on schedule.
So, when should you plan your intra-event massage? Get your pens ready because this is very important. You should plan your intra-event sports massage the day before or on your day off. If you have a coach(which is not necessary for a recreational tri-athlete), talk with him/her about implementing massage into your training schedule. However, I am not a coaching expert … just a massage expert, so it is best to work with someone you feel comfortable with and someone that is helping you achieve your desired results.
Post-event massage is given directly after the event, and is very effective in decreasing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), or soreness you feel after pushing your body to the limit. It, like the pre-event massage, is circulatory in nature, with focus on the lower extremities or specific trigger points that your therapist finds in spasm. The decreased recovery time will allow you to return to your training schedule sooner and more refreshed.
Injury rehabilitation massage is the massage that we all wish we will have no need for. I would much prefer working proactively than retroactively with an athlete. However, we do have the bodywork tools to help athletes free themselves from nagging injuries and get them back in training condition. For those that have not received this type of massage, please note that this type of massage does not feel relaxing. Injury Rehabilitation massage tends to be applied to the area around the injury. Please avoid this massage if possible by implementing more intra-event massage. I will go over injury-specific massages in future posts.