Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When Should Runners Get a Sports Massage?

When do I “Feel Like Getting a Massage?”

by Kathleen Lisson

Wherever I am in my training season: basebuilding, sharpening or tapering, I schedule my massages once every month. I have used two techniques for remembering to get a massage - either I go on or close to the first of the month, or I rebook my next month’s massage appointment immediately after my previous massage.

If I am in a particularly hard phase of training, I will keep a look out for signs that I need to book a last-minute massage on my next rest day. My personal warning signs for overtraining include obvious signs and not-so-obvious signs.

The obvious signs:

  • Sore leg muscles for a few days in a row.
  • Getting minor injuries more often than usual, visits from old injuries I thought were healed.

Not-so-obvious signs:

  • Catching every bug and illness that is “going around.”
  • Changes in my sleep - sleeping like a log for hours or staying up extra late.
  • Feeling bad exhausted (not good exhausted) and less motivated to run every day.
  • Feeling agitated and struggling with my relationships.

I have also read that taking one’s pulse right after waking up and recording the results will allow an athlete to catch overtraining before it leads to injury. Recording daily results in one’s training journal and looking at the average heart rate at the end of the week is the best method for examining potential parasympathetic hyperactivity, according to the Evidence of Parasympathetic Hyperactivity in Functionally Overreached Athletes study, found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23657173
Some athletes just opt to only take a rest day and end up on the couch eating a bowl of ice cream when they encounter these symptoms. Even worse, some just pop a few pain pills and try to run through their symptoms.

I like to go the extra mile and get a massage to completely relax my muscles and focus on drinking water and eating clean so I can come back at 100% on my next week of training.

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