When is the best time to go for a massage - the day before a race or the day after?
We do get asked this question often. It’s not a straightforward answer to give. There are several moving parts to the equation such as; have you had any injuries with training? How much training have you been doing? How intense is your training? Have you been going for preventative maintenance bodywork along your training journey?
In a short answer, the day after will be more effective and here is why.
The day before an event is not the day to be treating issues such as tendonitis or other overuse injuries. It is also not the day to be going in and getting all of the “kinks worked out”. The body needs to recover from an intense massage treatment and you don’t want the body to be recovering from a massage on the day of your event!
We can, however, do a more relaxation type of massage to help with blood flow, settle any nerves or anxiety about the event, release some tight fascia that can help with range of motion and muscle function.
The day after an event is when your body will be healing. A massage that will flush out the muscles and help remove cellular waste, getting oxygen and proper blood flow back to the muscles, decrease muscle soreness and easing muscle tension will enhance the recovery process.
A post event massage will be lighter pressure, broader strokes and using drainage techniques. The therapist will be able to notice any injuries or muscle tension and be able to make a plan to treat them. Massage will help recover from injury and help you get right back into training for the next event.
In my opinion the best time to get a therapeutic pre event massage is 7 to 10 days before the event. That gives sufficient time for the body to recover and be at its best for the event. Therapeutic massage is important along the way to help prevent injury, keep you functional and to help you reach towards those goals!
Be well and see you on the trails or in the clinic! ~Erin Adams, RMT