If you're preparing for a major endurance event this summer, staying healthy and recovering from your training are all essential for achieving your goals. Massage therapy can be a recovery tool to keep you going longer, harder, and faster.
Here are some of the ways massage therapy can help endurance athletes.
Aerobic exercise stimulates growth in your heart, lungs, muscles, and other systems. Although this growth will make you faster, it can come with some serious side effects like soreness, sickness, and injury.
After your hardest and longest workouts, your body is forced to rebuild and repair. During this recovery window, seeking massage therapy treatment can help you recover faster and avoid nagging injuries. As you design your training plan you should pencil in massage therapy appointments. For the best results, you should schedule one massage therapy treatment session between your micro cycles. For most endurance athletes, this is about every 18 to 21 days. Building these massage therapy sessions between your micro cycles can help your body when it's most depleted.
Mobility and Stretching
Massage therapy for endurance athletes can look very different depending on the needs of the athlete. Your massage therapist can also help improve your mobility and flexibility during your treatment sessions.
Active Release Therapy (ART) is all about using eccentric muscle contractions to lengthen your levers. Many massage therapists will begin or end treatment sessions with a brief ART segment. One of the benefits of getting ART done during your sessions is increased mobility and flexibility. Additionally, your massage therapist can show you how to use ART after your most intense training sessions at home. With a stretching rope or stretching band, you can transform your body and ward off stiffness after your most intense workouts.
Intense exercise creates micro-muscle tears. These tears are why you get sore after your toughest workouts. As your body repairs micro muscle tears you can develop micro scars and liaisons, particularly near your muscle attachment points. These scars and liaisons, if left untreated, can reduce your flexibility, mobility, and power. Your massage therapist can use a recovery tool known as a scrapper. This scalped piece of stainless steel can allow them to break apart your scar tissue and muscle liaisons. Although these massage therapy sessions can feel uncomfortable, the results can make it well worth your pain. When getting scrapping done it's important to schedule these sessions immediately following your hard workouts, not before.