Triathlons are one of the fastest growing and popular sports in the UK. However the demand of training and racing three separate disciplines together places large stresses and demand upon the body.
Training for each of these disciplines on their own is hard enough, yet alone for all three together. Recovery and maintenance is even more important as a result. Sports massage is a huge part of this process along with a good diet and structured training and racing schedules with rest dates factored in.
You can look at the key areas which each sport affects most upon the body.
- Swimming stresses the shoulders
- Cycling affects the legs, gluts and lower back
- Running stresses the legs and gluts
How can sport massage help Triathlons?
Sports massage will speed up recovery from triathlon training and racing and help to reduce potential injuries from developing and becoming too serious.
Swimming is predominantly upper body focused. It works and stresses the back and shoulders through muscular effort and range of motion. To swim well you basically need timing and flexibility through the stroke. This is achieved by quality coaching, stretching and Sports Massage to help keep the muscles supple and injury free.
Cycling takes up the largest amount of time in training and racing and is arguably the most enjoyable when outside and racking up the miles in the saddle. This does have its downsides though as the body is in a ‘hunched’ position for prolong periods when on a road bike. This position is even more extreme when you are on a Time Trial (TT) bike, due to more aggressive bike geometry. To help counter this stressful position on the body and particularly the lower back, you need to have a good bike fit carried out by a professional, have good strength through your gluts, lower back, core and be flexible to allow free movement while cycling. Sports massage easily targets these areas to keep them healthy and maintained. You simply need to see how Sports Massage is used in professional cycling to see its importance and value.
Running as previously mentioned in the previous blog, places large stresses upon the body and legs, due to the impact associated with running. You also have other factors such as running off the bike which is difficult. When cycling you your legs are working on a fixed circumference of rotation while pedaling and then you are asking your legs to break out of this tight circumference when you start running. A good tip is to run on shortened stride for a minute or so when you initially come of the bike to help loosen them up rather than going straight into your normal running gait straight off. To assist in this transition and general running, sports massage can help to keep your muscles supple and healthy and target potential areas of issue. If your muscles are supple and injury free they can work more efficiently and cope with the demands of triathlon far better.
Triathlons are hugely addictive and enjoyable but you do need to go about it in a structured manner and Sports Massage is a key part of this and needs to be factored in along with diet, coaching, equipment, training and racing schedules. The aim is to enjoy and achieve your goals; after all it is more than having the kit. It’s having the engine (body) to drive your kit/equipment on and to reduce injuries which may occur.