After almost three weeks completely off it feels good to be hitting the roads again.
I wanted to write just a bit about my recent use of Massage at the end of my season to those who might be, like myself, unsure if it would be worth including in their training regimen. I had been dealing with pesky hamstring injuries since February and had cut almost all running out and modified other parts of my workouts due to the long time it took the tightness to go away after a hard workout. I decided I needed to do more than I already was to heal them to ensure being ready for HyVee US Nationals and Austin 70.3. My colleagues at Pinnacle Sports Medicine, who are my first defense on all injuries, had recommended some additional massage from the beginning for this type of injury but I was resistant mostly due to cost.
With a little more on the line in the last two races I figured it was maybe time to try. I set up a series of appointments with Eddie Ulloa at Eddie U. Massage starting before HyVee and running until Austin. I figured I would probably need a series of treatments to give it a fair assessment. I was rewarded with acute relief immediately that had my legs feeling much looser and pain free already at HyVee for my strongest performance of the year even with the lack of run training. With each successive massage the tightness I was experiencing during and after hard workouts was decreasing and I was recovering much more quickly. I specifically remember going out after a massage for a key workout several weeks before Austin at the hills I train on by Lindsborg. It was a hilly 50 mile ride with the last 25 a hard Time Trial followed immediately by mile repeats on a gradual hill all to simulate Austin. Based on where my running had been I was hoping for a 6min pace average on 30s rest. I surprised myself with a 5.35 avg. that felt easy and I finished having some left. I knew my legs were ready and unfortunately didn't get to show it after overheating in Austin.
My hamstrings are very near 100% but I will be making massage a more significant part of my routine because I can tell it is facilitating the healing and recovery, and allowing me to continue quality training. I can only imagine I will have similar experiences with recovery once completely healthy again that will lead to a higher level of performance.
If you're looking to try some massage I would recommend Eddie Ulloa http://www.eddieu.com/ since my experience with Eddie has been terrific. He has a wide array of useful modalities for every situation and adjusts techniques based on current training or up-coming races. He has a good knowledge of working with athletes which you have probably noticed since he makes it a point to be at almost every endurance event in and around Wichita. This was also something that drew me to use his services. I'm a believer in supporting local businesses that sponsor, provide support, and often volunteer at races sacrificing their own weekends to do so.
Good luck to everyone that is embarking on off-season training. Be safe.