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?