When you are training for an event you will often have mapped out routes and training distances, worked out your diet and nutrition but often we tend to neglect one of the most important factors when training for an event ... "Body Maintenance and Recovery"!
Massage should form part of any training schedule and form an integral part of an effective recovery program. It can help the body to heal and strengthen between training days.
Key Benefits of Massage When Training for An Event
1. Faster Recovery
Massage therapy has been shown to decrease cortisol levels in the body. This enables the body to enter a recovery mode.
The increased and enhanced blood circulation helps to relieve muscle tension, reduce soreness and helps with a faster recovery.
2. Improves Circulation
You may not realise it, but massage affects the cardiovascular system. It dilates blood vessels, which helps them work more efficiently to promote circulation. This manual assistance of encouraging venous blood flow back to the heart enhances blood flow, which delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and promotes the removal of waste products.
This improved blood and lymph flow helps brings damaged, stiff, and tense muscles the rich blood supply they need to promote healing.
3. Better Movement
Massage can help with improving range of motion as increasing blood flow allows the tissues (muscle and fascia surrounding the muscle) to increase in length. Massage can help release the tightness of trigger points of muscles and tightness of the fascia which can enable better movement.
4. Promotes Relaxation
Massage can help with reducing stress and tension while promoting relaxation by activating your parasympathetic nervous system.
This can help reduce any mental stress and anxiety which could hinder performance and focus.
How Often Should You Have A Massage?
This will be different for everyone and it will depend on how often you are training, at what intensity, previous injury and cost.
Some elite athletes will have daily massage leading up to an event, for others every 2-3 weeks can work well in between your own maintenance program which should include Foam Rolling and Stretching.
However if you already have an event in the diary then it is worth scheduling in your regular maintenance massages leading up to this.
Pre- Event - every 2-3 weeks.
Post Event - 2-3 days after your event to help with recovery and to reduce any muscle soreness.