WHETHER YOU ARE an elite athlete or just getting started with an exercise routine, you need to look after your body. It becomes even more important when you’re upping your mileage, increasing intensity or approaching a competition, and regular sports massages have a place in every training program – whatever your sport!
Sports massage is a great way to loosen up and stretch tight muscles, address any muscular imbalances, maintain soft tissue health and range of movement, get your body ready for competition and to promote quicker recovery after a hard workout or competition. It will also help you recover from any injuries quicker, through helping with the alignment of scar tissue, reducing pain and inflammation, and breaking down adhesions before they become chronic. A good massage therapist will work with you and take into account your training plan, race and recovery weeks, and can customize treatments to best suit your current needs.
HERE WE ARE again – it’s the last day before a half marathon, my second one in six months. Though by no means an experienced racer (not an experienced half marathoner in any case), I’m feeling quietly smug about knowing what to expect by now and therefore going into this better prepared. I’ve even had the luxury of a day free of any other commitments, so I’m reasonably confident that I haven’t forgotten any important bits of information off my various race prep and packing lists. (Oh, I do love a list.)
If you’re preparing for your first big race, the number of things to remember on the eve of the event may seem overwhelming. But fear not, I’m happy to share my love of lists along with my personal experience and professional knowledge to provide you with this to-do list for the day before a big race, to reduce your stress levels and help you with your race preparations.
I’M STARTING TO believe – believe in being able to complete my first half marathon in a time at least closely resembling the initially totally crazy-sounding target times from our coach. I think my first reaction to my predicted time was nervous laughter, then horror. Training has been going well; our long slow runs have been feeling relatively easy and enjoyable, and the speed sessions tough but entirely doable. But I have been really struggling to see how those two things would translate into being fast over a long distance, and so I have doubted myself on and off for weeks now. Continue reading
RACING WAS a great experience. I felt anxious about getting there on time, nervous just before the start, unsure about where I should position myself at the start line (as it turned out, I ended up a bit too far back), and annoyed I didn’t get my GPS signal sorted in time, but as soon as we were off it was enjoyable and fun. Yes, fun. The route was hilly (“gently undulating” is a big, fat lie) and it got a little too hot for anyone’s liking, but I enjoyed every minute. Sure, some of the hills felt tough and I put everything I had left into a sprint finish, but it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. I did run very cautiously for the first half, but picked up the pace and started overtaking runner after runner, finishing in a fairly respectable time too. But it was after the race when my competitive spirit really kicked in. By the following day I was kicking myself for not running the first half of the race a little bit faster, wondering how much quicker my time could have been. And the day after that, I signed up for another 10k in just a few weeks’ time to test my fitness and a better race strategy on a flatter course, hopefully on a cooler day. Next time, I want to be faster. Continue reading