Sunday, April 29, 2012

Post Marathon Sports Massage

When I was training for the 2011 Chicago Marathon, I wanted to follow all the recommended steps to try and prepare for the marathon.  I read that a pre-marathon sports massage and a post marathon sports massage would make a difference.  I dreaded the thought of a massage and I contemplated as to whether or not it could really make any difference.  But then again, I put a lot of miles on my body and it sort of made sense and since it was recommended that weight training and cross training would also be a big benefit of my marathon training and I was seeing the results of both it seemed pretty clear that a massage was in my future.  The marathon training program I was using had me averaging almost 40 miles per week.  Not to mention that running 26.2 miles on the streets of Chicago leaves you tired, sore and stiff.  I decided to take a chance.

There are many different types of massages, and I needed to find someplace that was experienced in a sports massage.  A sports massage (also referred to as a deep tissue massage) helps increase the blood flow to the areas of focus, removing metabolic wastes, and improving soft tissue mobility. It is most beneficial approximately 4-7 days prior to marathon. A good deep tissue massage should help promote flexibility, help prevent injuries, improve endurance, remove fatigue,  and prepare you to compete at your best. After doing a lot of research and talking to others that ran a marathon I was convinced. Based on a running friend’s recommendation, I set up an appointment for a massage the week before the Chicago Marathon.  As I walked into the salon, the first thing that I noticed was that there were only women there that were getting their hair or nails done, so I really felt out of place. I informed the receptionist that I had an appointment for  a “sports massage” (I wanted to be clear that I was not there for any of those other salon treatments) and sat down waiting for the massage therapist. She paraded me past all of the women getting their hair done to a room in the back for my “sports massage”.

My first thoughts were, wow this therapist was got some strong hands! I wasn’t sure if she was using her hands, elbows, knees or a 20lb bowling ball? I felt bordeline discomfort almost on the verge of pain which was expected, I just didn’t think that she packed that much force. The therapist explained that I might be sore for a day or two and that was normal. I did feel a little sore but definitely looser.  Not the type of massage that I would look forward to again, however if it helps me complete a marathon, it would be worth it.

Then came the Chicago Marathon.  I did it!  I completed the Chicago Marathon!  Despite the mental satisfaction, I was feeling it physically. My quads were very sore, when I dropped my post marathon snack bag, I could barely bend over to pick it up. Stairs were a struggle.  Two days after the Chicago Marathon, I went for my post marathon sports massage, by then I wasn’t as sore so I was hoping that the post marathon massage would be as vigorous as the pre-marathon massage. As it turned out is was, and it actually felt okay. As I walked to my car, I did notice the difference, and was able to start running again a few days later.  

I highly recommend a post marathon sports massage.  This year, as the Chicago Marathon draws near, I will again have a pre-marathon sports massage and a post marathon sports massage with Liz at New Day Spa Salon in Oak Lawn.

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