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Time for a Tune Up! – August 3, 2012


As the dog days of summer begin to fade, training plans for your big PR in marathons or other events across the country are taking shape. As you start ramping up your workouts and investing in new shoes, shorts and technology, please remember to take equally good care of the machine (YOU!). Without proper attention to and management of your muscles, optimal health (let alone improved performance) can't be attained. This year's Indy 500 winner, Dario Franchitti, could never have accomplished his spectacular win without support from his fabulous pit crew. Think of massage in the same way!

Massage therapy has become very popular in recent years among athletes in general, and as many of the testimonials on my website confirm, among runners in particular. In fact, my current client base ranges from teenaged track phenoms to septuagenarian weekend warriors. Despite their differences, they have at least two things in common: 1) a love of physical activity and 2) recognition of the value of the benefits of massage therapy. As noted elsewhere on my website and in this post on trackshack.com, massage relieves muscle soreness, can help shorten recovery time, restores range of motion, removes adhesions and even improves performance. As we all know – and have sometimes learned the hard way – pain during training can cause us to favor a major muscle or muscle group. This has the potential to generate injuries due to an imbalance or overuse over time.

With the 2012 Summer Olympics now in full swing, I've been thrilled to see many examples of world-class runners promoting their training methods. Central among them is collaboration with a team of people – including massage therapists and other health management professionals – to keep their bodies well-tuned. Read on to discover what they have learned about the importance of massage therapy, and best wishes as you gear up for the fall!

Ryan Hall:
According to a recent article in the New York Times, Ryan Hall visits a massage therapist and a chiropractor weekly and spends 90 minutes or more each day on what he calls self-therapy. He rolls his back and hips over a softball or lacrosse ball to relieve the tightness; stretches his left foot to manage swelling due to plantar fasciitis; rubs his legs with a tool that resembles a cake cutter to smooth the connective tissue surrounding the muscles; uses resistance bands for leg lifts; and strengthens his abdomen by exercising on blowup balls.

Meb Keflezighi:
"I do at my age have to pay attention to the little things. I have to be smart. I do ice baths regularly, and massages. Sometimes I stretch three or four times a day. I'm always doing something that could make me better, whether it's more core exercises or more stretching. I really don't rest until I go to bed."

Shalane Flanagan:
"I realize what an amazing opportunity we have before us, therefore I am learning and pushing to take my performances to the next level. I realize that for me, the best way to do that is to seek help from others and surround myself with a great team. My extended support system consists of my coach, core trainer, massage therapist, training partners, and manager; all of whom imagine, create, and innovate my training and racing."

Catherine Ndereba:
Catherine Ndereba, "queen of the marathon" according to Runner's World, says massage is the one thing she cannot live without. She receives two massages weekly as her reward for running 90+ miles a week: "I still do intense interval training. I like miles and quarters best. In races I can set my mind, and I believe I could break 2:20 again. The main difference is that massage is now a must. I do not feel I run so smoothly. In the past I had massage only every few weeks..."

Note: Unfortunately, Ndereba (former world record holder in the marathon; two-time world champion; two-time Olympics silver medalist; four-time Boston Marathon champion) was not selected by the Kenyan Athletic Federation to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The Final Mile
I’m very proud to be celebrating Stiner Massage’s second year in my current location in Durham. Thanks so much to all of you who have trusted me as your massage therapist over the past 24 months! As a special thank you, I'm offering current and new clients $20 off your next massage if booked by the end of this month (August 31, 2012). Just mention this blog and my anniversary special when you schedule your next appointment, and you'll receive a $20 discount from my regular rates. I look forward to helping you stay well-tuned in the months ahead.

Best wishes!