Recently I joined a group of amazing athletes for a training camp held in Thousand Oaks, California. B78 coaching and Human Powered Racing organized a challenging start to 2016 with miles of hills to cycle up and down! I rode with the group, then set up my massage table for a few treatments at the end of the day. One important lesson from the camp was that your body is your most essential tool when it comes to training. It doesn’t matter how fancy your bike gear is if you are dehydrated and fighting through chronic injuries. Massage therapy helps with recovery from workouts, especially if you are pushing the limits of your physical capabilities with an Ironman triathlon training plan. I recommend taking care of your hard working muscles by scheduling regular massage sessions, not waiting until you feel too sore. Working with a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) to develop a treatment plan is the perfect way to maximize your training and racing results!
I recently joined Magic Places cycling adventures through Europe providing massages to a group of road bike riders. The cyclists were competing in the Tour Transalps, which is a seven day stage race through the mountain passes from Germany to Italy. It is a very challenging event with a total of 880 kilometers and 20,000 meters of elevation gain! My RMT colleague Lesley White and I gave massage therapy treatments to the athletes at the end of each day. We helped speed up their recovery with massage sessions focused on their hard working cycling muscles to get them through the race feeling good. It was a fantastic experience working with such driven and fit individuals, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Magic Places cycling adventures and Lesley White RMT. Looking forward to next year!
A few years ago I purchased my first road bike and joined in with the many recreational cyclists. I find it is a great activity for keeping up my fitness level, but without the impact on my joints that I get with running. That isn’t to say cycling is always an injury free sport, it should be balanced with an overall strength and flexibility fitness plan which includes recovery massage. Two common areas of discomfort that I see as an RMT are the upper back/neck area and the low back/hips. Massage helps decompress the restriction of blood flow, stimulate the nervous system and restore circulation to the muscles. During a massage treatment I incorporate stretching techniques that target specific segments of muscles that are tight. For example bringing your chin to your chest will stretch all of your neck extensors, but not necessarily the tighter aspects at the base of your skull unless manually isolated. Releasing the trigger points in the affected/shortened muscles results in decreased discomfort as well as increased endurance and power on the bike. In the photo below, my friend and Iron-woman inspiration Steph Corker demonstrates great bike posture and the joy of smooth cycling!
“Riding 180km during Ironman can be joyful! Outside of ensuring my bike was fit properly, getting frequent massages ensured that long miles on the bike I was relaxed and getting every ounce of power out of my body. With small tweaks, we really can ride forever……so bring on the gran fondos + massage appointments” Steph Corker