mundane adventures in running
Shout from the hills, there’s a way to stretch without stretching, to enjoy the luxury of deep tissue massage as part of a training regime.
My month long program of core strength training finished yesterday. That, combined with more focus on doing intervals and tempo runs, carrying my children around and continued attempts to stave off achilles injury has left me aching and sore.
As I get older, my back and legs particularly are less happy to do what they’re told. I don’t wake up feeling limber and supple any more; I wake up creaking and crunching, with joints popping and incalcitrant muscles pulling away at each other. My calves and hamstrings seem to be at all out war. My iliotibial bands have some grudge against my kneecaps. My lower back has beef with the whole of the rest of my body and desperately wants to secede.
Stretching is great. Obviously I stretch. I particularly work on ankle motility, with a goal of being able to squat comfortably on flat feet like people in China can. But, I’d be lying if i said i stretch religiously after every run, or that i always do the full 30 seconds static stretch. I also have a tendency to focus on quads and down facing dog, and often neglect any serious groin stuff. Oh to neglect serious groin stuff.
Anyway, so I booked an appointment with a friend who’s left the glamorous world of environmental services personnel recruitment to train as a sports masseuse.
I booked in for midday on Monday, which gave me a chance to do a bit of work, get some VO2 max hill reps and some strength training in then to head over to Steve’s massage parlour (aka his front room… for now, the plan is for him to get some room in a leisure centre in Victoria).
Massage is great: an hour long session, occasionally droopingly relaxing, occasionally incredibly painful, but overall I came out feeling about a stone lighter, and like I was Mr. Soft from the old soft mints ads from back in the day (you remember them, right? right??).
I’m sure I could achieve something similar at home, but there are muscles you just cant get by stretching and foam rolling yourself. you get a bit more by paying someone. Then, of course there’s the pleasure of talking to somebody about exercise, fitness and yourself when they’re paid to listen to you. Oh, captive audiences.
I’m pretty sure the massage hasn’t got anything to with the nasty flare up of plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis or some such irritating training impediment which has suddenly affected my foot, so if you’ve got a spare £35, and you fancy somebody else doing your stretching for you, give it a go.