Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pre-RACE massage

Should you, or shouldn't you, get a pre-race massage?

First, I should admit that I haven't had many professional massage experiences.  Most of what I had read regarding pre-race massage steered me away from the idea of having one very close to an upcoming race.

When Carol Duncan (Massage Central, Sutherlin, OR), suggested I try one a day or two before my goal race, I was more than a little nervous. I mean, I wanted a massage, just not that close to the race! I was concerned that I might end up sore from the massage and then not race well. I agreed to Friday before the Sunday race, but with apprehension and a plan to keep it to "light/medium touch" .

After the initial paperwork of getting started we talked about what I wanted the massage for: relaxation, muscle lengthening, tension relief etc ??...I decided to just trust her opinion, and had her work on some sore spots, and mix in a little relaxation.

Though it might have been nice to fall asleep on the table (drooling), for the most part, this was not the type of massage I got. What I did get was a pair of experienced hands who found knots and adhesions in my calves, outer lower legs, hamstrings, and shoulders/neck (trapezius). She lengthened the areas and worked on each knot, pressing fairly deep, until it released. What was odd to me was that, although I could feel where most of these tight/sore places were, she could- without any directions to them!
NOT my leg.

Carol worked on me for over an hour. Since I had a cold, she used a little aromatherapy on my neck too. Then, when she was done, she also gave me an herbal tea and advised me to drink up. (I already was!)

That night I went for a short run of about 3 miles. Although I could slightly feel the outer tissue areas where she had worked, while running I no longer felt any tight places in my legs, shoulders or neck. Around thirty-six hours later, I went on to race a PR half.

This is just my experience, but what can I say? I am SOLD on pre-race massage. In fact, I think I will try to get back in there again as soon as I can just for a tune-up!

Have you ever tried massage for a race, or any other form of sports massage? 

What did you think?

18 comments:

  1. Interesting. Pre-race massage would make me very nervous in case the muscles were too loose or I was too sore from the massage. I'm glad it worked out well for you!

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  2. Sounds amazing! Having it timed out far enough before would work for me, otherwise I think I'd prefer it a day or two post-race. I've only had a handful in my life, so I don't have a lot of experience to draw on!

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  3. I did this a few times during Newport marathon training. It was nice. Same with adjustments. So valuable.

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  4. yes yes and yes! I am very fortunate and bring my personal masseuse whenever I can :) My sister is a massage therapist and it is such an amazing difference. I get pre and post race and quite a few inbetween :)

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  5. Interesting! I've never had a REAL massage. I've had boyfriends and an ex-husband TRY, but all they did was annoy me and cause pain. I feel like I saw people getting massages at the Vegas RnR expo last weekend. Perhaps those people were on to something!

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  6. I loved getting the massages. It still is amazing how one can simply release knots. Darn, I try and try at home, find the knot (my hamstrings are filled with them) but can't release them. Darn, need to go back:) But, honestly, I am not sure if they actually help with my running. Have not really noticed a difference when compared to runs when I did not get a massage. Still, I will go back:)

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  7. i've never tried a massage... thinking i would love to based on your post. maybe not before my next big race, but definitely in the future. now i just need to find the time....and place...and money.... :)

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  8. Glad that the massage worked! I have gotten a couple massages after working out, but never before. I know that the elites get massages a lot, so it must be a good idea. I guess a foam roller is the closest thing I have to a massage, haha

    Soccer at the Olympics should indeed be awesome, it's what I'm looking forward to the most too. =)

    About Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, I hope they play well against Oklahoma State, but I'm not sure how it's going to go. Ok State reminds me of Oregon, and we all know how that worked out when Stanford played Oregon, haha But if Stanford can run the ball a lot against Ok State I think we have a chance - we shall see!

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  9. I can arrange a pre race or post race massage or both... in Eugene with Chris C. He now has his Oregon Massage license.

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  10. I was afraid the first time I had a massage before a goal race, too, but like you I had a conversion experience and now absolutely plan to get one a few days before Houston. It will be further out from my race just because I still wouldn't want to try it with a new therapist. But for all the reasons you mention I'm definitely doing it. And who doesn't want a way to relax during taper, right???

    I'm also a convert to a post-race massage after long races. I used to think that it would be bad for my muscles after a half or a marathon to do that to them, but if the therapist has the right touch, it really helps right after, especially because I don't know about you, but stretching just *hurts* after a long hard race--so it's nice to have someone stretch for me! And then another, deeper one four days later....I did that after Top of Utah and it completely eliminated all my soreness. I've never recovered faster from a marathon!

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  11. I've never done the pre-race massage, but I have done pre-workout rubdown...so I am guessing that is similar. I have also done a lot of pre-workout heat therapy..just a heat wrap on my legs. I have had success with that.

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  12. sluggo- I am really very happy with Carol (and my husband prefers she do that kind of work on me) So, I will stick with her expertise. Thanks though! I am sure Chris is also very good.

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  13. I have never had a profession massage but I am hoping to get one soon since I've been hearing a lot of great things about how much they can benefit runners especially ones dealing with nagging injuries :)

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  14. I've gotten a few sports massages, and I think you should get them in around one week or more from your race. That way, they can really dig deep into the problem areas. Post race massages are also pretty awesome. I think I'd like a massage every month, but I am not ready to justify the cost. And not all massages were created equal. Some are so much better than others.

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  15. For a good professional massage - ANYtime is the excuse or reason.

    New URL for my blog - cheerfulrunner.blogspot.com

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  16. I have not ever tried a pre race massage or even a post race massage. I am a total weirdo that doesn't like them!! I know, what is wrong with me. BUT you did get a pr so maybe I should give it a try!

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  17. As I am getting older, a massage post race or post long workout is part of my routine. It works because I prevent many problems.
    However if a pre-race massage means a PR I will do it everytime!

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  18. It's a nice way to prepare for a race, or almost any physical activity for that matter. It helps the body, since without the kinks in our body, we would be able to perform more efficiently. A bit of time to relax the body and free it from those iffy knots can do wonders, indeed.

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