When I saw a physiotherapist a few weeks ago to help fix my calf, she suggested getting a sports massage, just to help prevent injuries and help relieve soreness. So yesterday I went for my first one. I had read a lot on a running forum about how agonising they are, so I was prepared for some pain, but I was a bit sceptical, as I didn't find the physio treatment particularly painful.
I decided to cycle there for the sake of the environment (and because I couldn't be bothered to find a parking space), so I hoped I wouldn't be too achey to cycle back.
Sure enough it was fine. She concentrated on my calves first, but said they were quite 'soft', then hamstrings (fine), shins (some soreness), quads (eeew, that is a bit painful actually) and glutes (that means bum to you and me, and ouch). Turns out I should be stretching my quads a lot more, as there was a lot of tightness there, and I have a small issue with my piriformis (who doesn't?).
So when she dug her knuckles or elbow into a sore bit, it was uncomfortable, and maybe even a little painful, but honestly, I've had 2 children, it takes a lot more than a bit of heavy-duty rubbing to bother me. Pah.
On Wednesday evening, I went out with my Jog Scotland group and it was a lovely sunny evening for once. We went to the local school field, and ran intervals around the newly painted track. It was great! I clearly remember the last time I ran on a track, and it was when I left school at 18, and attempted a race round the track with some friends. I was unable to finish, retiring after about 200 metres wheezy, red-faced and clasping my unfit chest. This time we did 2 mins fast, 1 min recovery x 6. I love intervals, it's like a game trying to go as fast as you can. (Ok ok, I know how ridiculous that sounds... but I love it!)
Anyway, this morning I planned my usual early morning 3 miles before the rest of the house got out of bed, and decided to go back to the track. I jogged there, ran a mile at an effort-ful pace, then jogged back. Mile 2 was 7.59 mins - pretty fast for me! Whether this was down to the fun of the track, the morning sun or the massage, I really couldn't say, but my legs did feel a little looser when I started running.
I suppose I'll have at least one more massage before the marathon. If it goes any small way to preventing injuries, it'll be worth the money and the mild discomfort.
Meanwhile, I've decided you're never too young to learn about race strategy and training...