Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Beauty of Sports Massage

Ah, the taper.  I'm now 2.5 weeks out from my marathon and am immensely enjoying my taper.  I'm cutting back the miles and will be running every other day, more or less at race pace (7:45-8 minute miles).  I've done a lot more miles than in the past, but I looked at prior years' data and realized my long runs were actually slower than year.  Hmm.  I still feel in much better shape so I am just doing the runs now at race pace to make sure I know what that feels like and to train my legs and HR to peg there.
Another critical aspect of the taper is to make sure my body stays well enough to get to the start line in perfect shape.  I've done the training, now it's time to go after those nibs and nabs that rear themselves in every marathon training cycle.  For me, I've been blissfully injury free (knock on wood), but I do get calf issues when the mileage creeps up.  Tightness on the inner calf, especially on my left leg, has been the bain of my marathon training.  I've more or less been able to train through it, but last Thursday I thought my legs had just about had it with me!

So the next few weeks are all about foam rolling, icing, stretching, and getting the muscles back into race form.  Yesterday I went for a sports massage with Betsy.  It had been my first massage since I started training for the marathon (I had two over the summer in Seattle during triathlon season).  But I knew I needed it- badly!  It's 60 minutes of blissful pain. 

I told her in advance about the calf issue and she focused on the legs for most of the session.  Some spots hurt when she works them, but I think it's good because that means she's finding areas that need work and can focus there.  She could feel exactly what I had described and was able to get some of the tension out.  I'm taking it a bit easier the next few days to allow the muscles to heal from that "'trauma" (which, yes, deep massage can be) but hopefully they'll be looser as a result.

I already have a follow-up session scheduled for next week, 9 days out from the marathon, to be sure my muscles are good and ready.  For me this makes a world of difference and if I could afford a massage every other week I would do it!  There's a reason the pros get them so frequently.  And, of course, it's relaxing and the 60 minutes tend to fly by!

No comments:

Post a Comment