Daily Coaching Tip: What to Expect After a Sports Massage

I tend to be pretty frugal when it comes to my running habit compared to some; I'm still rocking my Garmin Forerunner 305 that I bought in 2008. But, I'm willing to spend some money on a good sports massage a couple of times a year. If I had more in the budget for massage, I'd spend it. A good sports massage from a therapist with running-specific knowledge is worth every penny. Cost aside, people tend to be a little hesitant to know what to expect after a massage, mainly because the typical feedback they hear from their friends about the experience is, "It hurt so good!" Here is what you can expect from a good sports massage:

  1. The massage therapist will find some areas you didn't know were causing you problems. I am always amazed at how much knotted tissue is found in my upper back and shoulders/neck. If you find a good therapist, they will pinpoint what needs to be worked out for you.
  2. You will be instructed to drink a lot of water afterward. I haven't looked into whether or not there is a demonstrated link between fluids and "flushing out the junk," but it can't hurt and the concept does have face validity.
  3. The next run (or 2, or 3) will be characterized by feeling sore and a bit "off."
  4. Once you've gotten enough blood flow throughout your body (in a couple of days), you'll feel like a new runner.

I think the best time to get a massage is a few days after a big race, not right before. That way, you can recover fully, and enter the next training cycle loose and ready for more quality training.