What to expect from a Post-Event Massage
For the last few years, I have been lucky enough to get involved in quite a few sporting events around the Gold Coast region as a post race sports massage provider. As a distance runner and sports enthusiast myself, it’s always a pleasure to be a part in a community of what I love to do even though I am not running at the event. Being able to be a part of someone’s journey is one of the most rewarding things of my profession and such a pleasure to see your smile, achievement, motivation, and all that sort of emotion even though you are sometimes in pain (suppose it is a good pain, right?), which definitely motivates me to keep doing what I do. In this blog post, I would like to give you all a bit of the tip of what you should do and expect soon after finishing your events to shift to the next race or training.
So, what are you expecting to achieve out of getting that onsite massage? Would you like me to fix your ongoing chronic injuries? Would you like me to give you a first class relaxation spa type of treatment with aromatic and warm oil? Probably neither. Most of you would just want some kind of muscle relief, right? And that is exactly what I do in this particular situation. I am focusing on giving you a bit of a relief that will result in aiding and enhancing recovery from a tough physical activity you have just done.
Onsite massage or event massage is not something to fix injuries, but more to focus on your recovery, it is usually held outdoors regardless of the weather (could be very sweaty and dirty or even cold and windy). Here is the ideal procedure which you should take steps from finish line to the massage table.
1. Take some fluid in
Hydration is one of the most important things in sports in general, right? Even though you don’t feel thirsty or have stopped by every water station during the race, you are not a camel. You have sweated a lot and have lost a fair amount of fluid from your body. Drink plenty of water as well as some sort of electrolyte soon after you finish your race.
2. Catch a breath
Okay, I’m pretty sure it won’t be only you but most people would love to jump straight on to the massage table after you finish. This is not the best way to spend your time at the finishing area because you have just raced and your heart rate is still reasonably high and unstable. Go for an super easy jog or walk to catch your breath and lower your heart rate as well as calm yourself down, then you are all good to go to the next step.
3. Get a quick bite
Same as hydration, you have just done a high intensity activity and have lost fair amount of energy and micro-damaged your muscle, so take in some kind of energy source as well as protein. If you are not up for eating anything soon after your race, take something easy like bars or shakes in the meantime. Your body would definitely appreciate you in ensuring that you recover properly.
4. Stay clean and dry
Right. I know it is hard because of the situation. Usually there is no change room or shower facility at an event but if possible take a warm shower and change your clothes. If no shower, no worries. At least dry yourself off and change clothes. Staying on with wet clothes will lower your body temperature which makes your body work harder again to get it back to normal. So stay warm enough after the race.
5. Make you taller and loosen your muscles
Finally massage time! I usually stretch your muscles passively as well during a quick massage but you should do it actively before or after a rub down. Focus on the muscles having been used on your activity or if you are not sure where you should stretch, stretch out your tight areas that you have felt by receiving a massage. Massage is not all about a therapist treating you but also of you being aware about your muscle conditions. Onsite post race massage should be quick and lighter to improve circulation and to make tight muscles relaxed so the techniques I normally use would be more broad with a longer stroke. It shouldn’t be too deep or trigger pointing (You wouldn’t take too much pressure anyway). The duration of this type of massage should be about 10 minutes or so, no more than 30 minutes if it is within 24 hours. For the next 24 to 48 hours you should focus on active recovery, do a bit of cross training, yoga or even just a light jog/walk etc instead of running hard. Having a further massage that is a bit longer and deeper after that period of time would be ideal to maximise your recovery for the next race or hard training block.
6. Review, rest then give yourself a go again
To achieve something is always a great thing in life in general. Once you have achieved your goal or got closer to do so, you might like to set another goal to achieve and jump straight back to training soon after but take a bit of time to rethink about your training process and how your body feels. I personally think that the bigger the goal to achieve is, the more time you need to rest and refresh both physically and mentally.
So why not enjoy doing something you enjoy in general or reward yourself a little bit. (Mine is always a big bowl of chips and a litre of ice cream all to myself!) It is not an everyday thing, just a small reward definitely helps you go further towards your next goal!!
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