Even with a foam roller (which hurts like a beeyotch when you hit a knot), the stick and my on/again off again commitment to yoga, I still am pretty tight all over. Maybe the miles are starting to add up. Maybe I am not making more of a commitment to my cool down as I should. In any event, I was long overdue for a massage, and that is just what Dirrty Girl got me for V-Day and even better, scheduled it for today during my mid-winter break.
1. Break up scar tissue that may have built up in your muscles.
2. Improve blood flow to your muscles.
3. Loosen muscles that have contracted (shortened) with continued use.
4. Allow more oxygen to move into your muscles.
5. Improve the flow of lymphatic fluid, which aids in healing.
6. Reduce the chance of injury, through proper stretching, race preparation and through deep tissue massage.
7. Improve range of motion and muscle flexibility, resulting in improved power and performance.
8. Shorten recovery time between workouts.
9. Maximize the supply of nutrients and oxygen through increased blood flow.
10. Enhance elimination of lactic-acid build up (a by-product of exercise).
All of the above I have neglected for quite some time. One of the reasons was finding the time to make it out to Hansons Running Store in Lake Orion which was a bit of haul for me and the other was some apprehension in trying to find somebody local who knew athletes and more specifically runners.
Today, I was lucky enough to end up @ Essential Massage Therapy where Stacey listened to my particular areas of concern and then managed to work me over for the next 90 minutes. Although I was not surprised to feel her working the knots in my right hamstring and refer to it as "twingy", I was grimacing a bit when she began working on my quadriceps, an area where I have had no soreness or at least was unaware of. The one thing I have learned in getting massages is that you can use a foam roller, the stick, and do yoga, and think you have an understanding of your body, but until you have someone put there hands on you who understands the bio mechanics and techniques to loosen muscles, break up scar tissue, and improve blood flow, you don't know what you are missing that could pay huge dividends in your training.
Isn't it expensive? Sure, but think of it this way. On average, a massage costs as much as a new pair of running shoes. But if you are injured and can't run, then what good is a pair of shoes?
Although, I walked out of there feeling taller and looser then I have in months, it also provided me with some perspective that I should pay more attention to preventative maintenance if I want to keep running down the road.