Massage therapy is a recovery modality concept to most triathletes, and even the most stalwart holdouts can be seen on occasion receiving a post-race massage. It seems massage is still viewed as a luxury and an indulgence and is used very infrequently. Most will still wait until every muscle has seized up and muscles and tendons are about as tight as the weave of carbon on your carbon-fiber bike. To me that is crazy based on my experience.
Sure, if you wait until that point, you will garner some brief relief from your ailments. However, for an athlete at any level, the real benefits arise from frequent massage therapy and from working with a massage therapist that understands sports massage and your body. I believe that if you are serious about your sport and performance, it is essential to integrate massage therapy into your training program.
To help convince those that are still unsure, take look at what Tom Brady is doing at age 38. Tom Brady gets a massage before and after each practice to keep his body pliable, flexible, and to recover. On Sunday he’ll be playing against James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers who is also 38 years old playing line backer. He also swears by massage therapy and other body work.
Last summer I completed two Triathlons….my first two at age 45. I can tell you that as I prepared for these races my body needed massage absolutely helped with my performance. I was getting weekly massage as my body got used to moving around. For me the calves really seem to tighten up and rest doesn’t seem to loosen them up. Deep Tissue / Sports massage focused on my legs allowed me to continue training and recover from the workouts. I was amazed at the difference massage made. You can see me running above! It was fun and I look forward to seeing what I can do this year. I needed a weekly targeted massage to keep me going while I was training.
Therapeutic massage is key to any training regimen.