Rub It Out

Massage for runners and cyclists.

So you’re training incredibly hard for a triathlon or the Ridge Run and you notice some pain running down the side of your leg and into your knee. Your running partner’s been complaining about a heel ache that’s excruciating at times and she’s developing a limp. Stretching helps some, but the pain seems to linger even when you’re not exercising. Is it a muscle strain or Iliotibial Band Syndrome? Is your running partner experiencing plantar fasciitis?

Rigorous training for specific running or biking events leads to significant strain on muscles and joints, resulting in overuse injuries that can negatively affect your overall performance and lead to injury. Fortunately, relief is close at hand in the form of therapeutic sports massage. Although most people think of massage therapy as an indulgence, in the world of athletics, it’s a necessity for peak performance.

Therapeutic sports massage improves the rate at which the body can recover from injury and illness. Massage therapists identify taut, overused muscles and surrounding tissue. Tense and adhered muscles are susceptible to strains and injuries. Swedish massage, cross-fiber friction, myofascial release, trigger-point therapy, and stretching are extremely effective for manipulating the soft tissue structures of the body, resulting in pain reduction and increased athletic performance. Talk to your massage therapist about a comprehensive plan that’s right for you, but in the meantime, the following approach should cover all the bases.

Pre-Event Massage: supplement your warmup to increase circulation and reduce muscle tension prior to an event.
Post-Event Massage: this reduces muscle spasms and lactic-acid build-up; it can also enhance the body’s own recovery process, which in turn improves the athlete’s return to training and reduces the risk of injury.
Maintenance Massage: schedule one for a maintenance day to remain injury-free throughout training. 

Training is tough on your body, whether you’re a competitor or not, and even though you might think you’re in great shape, an injury might be just around the corner. In fact, the more you train in a repetitive manner, the greater risk you’re exposed to. Before something pops, tears, or sprains, do yourself a favor and take advantage of the benefits of therapeutic massage therapy.

Cheryl McDonald is a licensed massage therapist and the owner of Origins Massage & Bodywork.