If you understand this middle picture of Ross on Friends, then this (happily and sadly) puts you in my group of BFF television compadres. Upon answering the door, Ross thinks he is going to be massaging a beautiful gal only to learn the appointment is for her father who is standing behind her.  The unfortunate massage happens, but Ross refuses to actually touch the old man and instead massages him with wooden spoons and hot wheels cars.  Hilarious.  

Did you read the info on stretching?  Yes?  Good for you!  No?  Haven't read it yet?  Go ahead and click on addition 4 up above and give it a quick read. :)  And then head to this article.  They kind of go together like peas and carrots.  

Week 5.  Deep Tissue Massage

Ahhhhh.  A massage.  Can't you hear the ocean in the background and the soothing Enya music calming you into a deep relaxing state?  Now completely abandon that thought like waking up with a hideous alarm.  Sadly, deep tissue sports massages aren't the escape nirvana that you have come to know and covet.  They aren't horrible, but . . . well, just keep reading.  

When you tell a NON runner that you are going to get a sports massage, they will say in an overly fancy voice "Ohhhh.  Look at you going to get a massage on a Wednesday" as they drip with jealousy and judgment.  But when you tell a RUNNER that you are going to get a sports massage, they will say with a knowing smile of empathy "Ohhhh.  Good luck.  Hope you've got water for afterwards and a bullet to put in between your teeth for the trigger points that you are about to meet"  And then they will laugh at you.  The laugh that only fellow runners can sarcastically deal to each other.

Wait.  What?  I'm totally confused.  And now you've totally depressed me.

So massage.  Listen closely.  It's a key component for running recovery and success.  And not even just for runners.  It's key.  Major.  You think it may be a wonderful indulgence, but that's what cruise ships have taught us.  The actual act of massage is truly therapeutic, especially for us runners.  Even "cruise ship" massages are therapeutic with their sense of touch and calmness.  But this sports massage, this deep tissue thing - it's like comparing pee wee football and Monday night football.  Let's just say it's a tad more intense.

So you need to know the who, what, when, why and how of massage.  Here ya go . . . 

"I'm not an athlete, so would I really benefit from a sports massage?"  Yes ma'am, you certainly would.  If you are running or engaging in any sort of consistent physical activity, sports massage has been proven to improve not only performance, but also recovery and healing from said activity and very importantly, keeping injuries away.  You don't need to be a marathon runner or a triathlete to warrant a massage.  It's for you.  I promise.

Those muscles that are helping you run - they are repairing like gangbusters during your period of rest.  And they are protecting themselves from your next workout.  Your muscle cells are multiplying, getting denser.  And there are new muscle tissues and fascia forming around those muscles as an extra band of protection for your next stress that you will dose out to them.  Some newly overworked muscles may have decided to just stay a bit contracted due to dehydration or excessive contraction during exercise or maybe they are surrounding a deep point of injury or inflammation.  And some muscles may be tighter and unnecessarily pulling on the accompanying joint.  You also probably have some lactic acid pooling in those muscles.  (Lactic acid is a normal byproduct of strenuous exercise when carbs are used as your energy source.  But it can pool in the muscles and make those muscles sore.)  So THIS is why your body is in need of a massage.  Your web of muscles and tissue surrounding those muscles work best when they are long and lean, flexible and free of toxins.  Overworked muscles can become rope like and filled with knots (also called trigger points) that get in the way of your full potential of movement and flexibility.  And ropey knotty muscles can hurt and ache.  Time for a massage.

"Is it going to hurt?"  Well, maybe . . . okay, probably.  But it's more of a discomfort and not an excruciating hurt.  Spa massages just pinpoint the very top layer of muscles and their main therapeutic benefit comes from the feeling of touch and superficial pressure.  I love these massages.  (Actually, I love the smell of eucalyptus and the thought of a mimosa waiting for me in the spa room.)  But a sports massage is going to dig a little deeper - literally.  And you will practice and learn to breath through the uncomfortable pressure so that muscle will release and allow itself to be manipulated.  You've got many layers of muscle fibers helping you run and they are calling for attention.  The aftermath, however, is amazing.  A-MAZ-ING.  With some added pressure and concentration, that inflexible web of muscles will release allowing blood flow to come in for additional repair.  That knot in your leg or back or shoulder will break up a bit and give you more flexibility.  And those sore muscles will be freed from lactic acid that may be hiding in the depths of the tissue.  You will feel lighter after a massage.  Taller even.  You'll have a great exhale and feel looser.  Your muscles may be like jelly and they might be sore.  This will dissipate.  Water is essential after a sports massage for the next 12-24 hours.  Lots of water = happy healthy post massage muscles.

So there are a couple of options for this very needed therapy.  

#1.  You've got your professional sports masseuse option.  Make sure it is a reputable, trained SPORTS masseuse.  They have to have "sports" and/or "deep tissue" in their list of massage techniques.  60-90 minutes is the norm for this type of massage and it's up to your schedule and bank account to determine how much you can participate in this cross training activity.  Yes, I truly view sports massage as cross training as it is a workout in itself.  Seriously, it is.  Be prepared to pay at least $80+ for a 60 minute sports massage.  90 minutes will run you $100 - $125+.  Again, it's your decision.  I budget in massages like I budget running shoes and it's a luxury that I'm extremely blessed to get to utilize.    

#2.  Another option for a deep tissue massage is an extremely wonderful "at home" remedy.  Your masseuse is now a foam roller and your body weight.  Holy toledo.  This is effective.  For $40, you can buy this log of hard foam that can inflict all kinds of deep tissue and muscle discomfort.  You actually get on the ground and put your weight on this foam log and roll your muscle over this column of pain.  Depending on how much of your body weight you can stand to engage on the roller, this pressure will dive deep into the muscle tissue and mimic the motion of a masseuse as it breaks up the inflexible muscle fascia, squeezes out the lactic acid in the tissue and elongates those fibers as it works on those stubborn knots.  All you need is a little tutorial and you can pinpoint all of your major muscle groups from back to glutes to thighs and calves.  You've got to be tough because you've got to breathe and dive in to the discomfort.  Using a foam roller is a great way to assess and get to know your muscles and problem areas.  I urge you to make this purchase as part of your running arsenal.  A few minutes of discomfort will give you days of muscle relief.  The below pdf files are picture tutorial pages on how to roll some muscle groups.  Please feel free to ask me as well to show you.  I won't make you do this in public. :)

If you are not a kabillionaire, then your own personal masseuse and a daily massage is out of the question, but a professional massage once, twice, even four times a month is a great investment if you have the time and the budget.  It will help your running, your digestion, your sleep, your mental clarity, everything.  A released body is a game changer.  

But for a few twenty dollar bills, rolling your muscles 3-4 times a week is also a game changer.  Give yourself a week or two and you'll be a believer.  Again, your body is begging for it.  Distract yourself with some television and roll over each area 5-10 times for the best benefit.  Spend a bit more time on tighter problem areas and then give it a rest.  Don't roll too much.  Your body needs to recover from massage and rolling too.  

Ready to be a better runner?  Let's rock and roll.

Foam Roller 1-1.pdf Foam Roller 1-1.pdf
Size : 5815.19 Kb
Type : pdf
Foam Roller 2-1.pdf Foam Roller 2-1.pdf
Size : 5478.249 Kb
Type : pdf