Ben Keyes - IMFL Massage Team Captain of Triage
Alright Ironman Florida athletes, it's about that time! If you haven't been getting massage after your long training sessions, you should start now. Manual compression and basic massage (not "deep tissue" or "sports massage") will help flush the blood-filled, swollen muscles.
Myofascial therapy and some other deep tissue techniques will unrestrict the muscles to make all of your movements more efficient. That will also take compressive pressure off the joints that those muscles cross over.
As you are tapering or about to start tapering, you should increase your massage therapy. The average person walks around with approximately 60%+/- of their blood in their veins (deoxygenated blood trying to get back to the heart). After an endurance workout, up to 95% of your blood is in the venous return state. A foam roller helps considerably, but a trained sports massage therapist will be much more thorough.
Ideally, your schedule should be as follows:
- Three Weeks Before Get 30 - 60 mins this week to address any particular aches and pains from a medical/orthopedic massage therapist. And a slow flush for your legs, shoulders, back and glutes.
- Two Weeks Before Get 60 mins focusing on just getting your legs thoroughly flushed. Maybe and a revisit to any problem areas (if any). This can be your "cheap" massage done by a student at a massage school or a massage chain. Let your massage therapist know you don't want any deep or specific work. Avoid invasive work done with elbows and thumbs, unless you have been working with your massage therapist during training.
- Race Week! Seasoned IMFL veteran massage therapists will be near the lobby of the Boardwalk at Ironman Village Wednesday through Friday 8am - 8pm. Our massage scheduler, Rocky, will schedule you for 30, 60, 90 or 120 minute massage session with an experienced massage therapist at $1/minute (Cash or credit cards accepted by most massage therapists). You will want to take advantage of getting as much blood out of your muscles. It is so effective that it has similar effects to putting oxygenated blood back into your body. Yes, really! It is like blood doping, but it is pre-event sports massage, and totally legal. Get a mild, 60-90 minute session on either of those days. The last day for any "deep" work is on Thursday. Friday is all about blood flow and helping you get a good night of sleep. You may want to schedule your massage session for Sunday, as spots are limited and fill up quickly.
- Race Day We offer free post-race massage for 10 - 15 minutes. This is performed by massage students and the IMFL Sports Massage Team. Once you finish your race, keep moving, get fluid, get food you can keep down. You are now in recovery and YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! Once you have somewhat recovered your brain, and assuming you are not going into the medical tent, walk on over to the massage area inside the hotel and get your free massage flush. I will be there, in case you are cramping.
- Sunday and Monday Schedule with the IMFL Sports Massage Team for an hour. This massage assists the blood flow back to the heart and lungs, feels fantastic, and increases mitochondrial ATP (That's geek for "makes you stronger at the cellular level.") We will be there from 8am - 2pm. If you are traveling, it would be in your best interest to get a slow, rhythmic flushing massage on Sunday or Monday.
I wish you save travels and I hope you have an excellent race! You've worked hard and I wrote this so that you can benefit from my 13 years of clinical experience and 9 years working with triathletes. If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them for you.