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Sometimes all you want to do after a brutal workout is just sit back on the couch and zone out on whatever’s on the TV screen. But when it comes to preserving your body, what you do after exercising can be just as important as the routines you go through prior to physical activity.
A cool-down massage after you’ve just gotten back from a long run is essential for helping your body recover from the hard work you’ve put it through. From helping your heart rate gradually lower to its normal level, to maintaining blood and oxygen circulation to eliminating lactic acid build up, an efficient cool-down massage is how to keep yourself in pristine condition while providing much needed relief for those sore muscles. Here’s a quick guide to targeting the body parts that require a quick cool-down massage after your running workout:
An often forgotten area to massage after a strenuous jog are your glutes. Smoothly rolling over your backside with your personal massager while keeping your abdominal muscles tight can help alleviate any tension that’s building up in your glutes, while keeping them fresh for your next running workout.
There are three essential hamstring muscles you should focus your attention on during a cool-down massage: the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. All these muscles line up the back of your thigh, and providing them with a much need rub-down will help you avoid strains or tightness in the future.
Addressing your quads depends on three locations of your leg, which include gently massaging the knee cap and working over both sides of your leg. Make sure you spend a few minutes rubbing out your vastus lateralis and vastus medialis by massaging over both sides of your thigh.
Every runner knows how tough it can be trying to walk on a pair of sore calves the day after an intense sprint or jog. Target your personal massager on the lateral head of the gastrocnemius muscle, so you can loosen up any potential knots that may be forming.
Finally, good runners should never forget giving their feet some much needed relief after a run! Roll your feet over your massager, specifically focusing on the arch of the foot, stretching out your muscles as well as your plantar fascia. Your body will surely thank you by feeling refreshed and active the next day!
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Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride:
Whether you’re preparing for a cycling race, training for a triathlon or simply appreciate the exhilarating cardio workout you get from riding, your body (the lower half in particular) is certainly being challenged.
Most of your focus will be on the meat of your training – developing programs for each ride to incorporate different terrain, speeds, hills and other aspects of riding itself. But it’s also important to remember that your training doesn’t stop once your session ends. In fact, time spent after you hop off your bike is just as important as time spent on the saddle. Cooling down and taking part in athletic recovery reduces your risk of sore muscles and injuries, which can sideline you and set you back in your schedule. This is especially problematic if you are on a deadline for a race.
After each bike ride you should be taking the time to stretch out your muscles and allow your mind and body to return to their resting states. It’s also useful to incorporate self massage into your routine each week, especially after an intense ride. Massage will help loosen up muscles even further, which is important so you don’t create any imbalances.
There are several key muscles you should focus your massager on after a bike ride: