Running season is here and there are many races on the horizon for our local running community. One of the main mistakes we see runners make is not seeking post-race care at the optimal time following a longer distance running race. Unfortunately, this can result in suboptimal performance when they return to training or, even worse, an injury.
It’s important to remember that the body has undergone a substantial amount of stress during a race resulting in micro- trauma, tearing and adhesions. The most ideal time for post-race massage is generally 24 – 36 hours after the event. This allows the body opportunity to do some of its own healing and acute inflammation to settle and sets the stage so that the maximum benefits of massage therapy can be achieved.
Three of the main benefits for post-race massage therapy:
1. An increase in circulation to muscle and connective tissue.
- Fresh oxygenated blood brings nutrients to the tissues on a cellular level and helps to remove cellular metabolic waste that has formed due to exercise stress. Reduced circulation can lead to injury, congestion, tightness and shortening of the tissue.
2. The break-up of adhesions, scar tissue and trigger points that can restrict the movement of your muscles.
- Due the repetitive strain of running, our muscles and fascial system can begin to develop adhesions and trigger points. These can lead to muscle pain, shortening and injury. Myofascial release, muscle stripping and trigger point release are all massage techniques that aid in offsetting these formations resulting in injury prevention, pain reduction, muscle lengthening and slide-and-glide between muscle and fascial compartments.
3. Promotion of relaxation of tense and sore muscles.
- Massage therapy decreases stress levels by promoting the release of dopamine and serotonin and reduces the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Chances are that the days leading up to the race were filled with nervousness and anxiety, on top of the regular stressors of life. Swedish massage techniques incorporated into the post-race massage promote relaxation thus gently reducing muscle tension and promote a feeling of well-being.
One last piece of advice: Book your post-race massage in advance. We all know how hard it can be to try to get a massage when you really need it. A few months BEFORE your race is a great time to book your post-race massage with your favourite RMT.
Our team at Alaia is here for you after and our RMT’s would be happy to help you rehabilitate those tight post-race muscles.
Registered Massage Therapist