Pre Race Massage & Massage Tables


Having been inspired by Charlie’s “Just Rub” approach I got a video from the library and have started massage on a few athletes - with pretty good success so far. It is a lot easier at a very general level than I thought. I even picked up some Biotone Duel Purpose Massage Cream which is a lot easier to work with than olive oil!


  1. If i get a portable massage table do I need one with a “face cradle” or will a “breather hole” do?

  2. For pre race massage where does the massage come in the warmup? Is it between Warm Up 1 and 2?



If you’ll be working on backs you want the breather hole to keep the head straight.
Between WU1 and WU2 would be good if te massage will be brief. If you suspect it will take longer to get the job done, start after the initial joggig so the athlete wil have plenty of time to warm-up after and won’t loose a warm-up that’s been mostly done. Glad to hear you’re getting out there and practicing. That’s how you learn.

Well done TC!

Charlie, would you be “concerned” about the effect that such a practice might have in the race? I mean, at least initially, till experience guides you safely.

No criticism to TC; I’ve never met him! Yet… :wink:

Edit: or perhaps the benefits are more and worth the “risk”…


I am a little worried myself. But I’m going to start practicing before normal training sessions until I am confident I know what I am doing.

On saturday I gave my own calves a little rub down before i did some speed work and I felt it helped to even out the tone and they felt lighter and more springy for the first couple of starts. I get my first attempt at preworkout massage on an athlete tommorrow so fingers crossed :slight_smile:

As far as I can tell at this early stage you can’t go that wrong so long as you take Charlie’s advice of using multiple passes over a muscle rather than long slow ones. My first attempts seemed to produce some slight soreness but having reviewed the DVD and noted charlie’s thoughts the athlete I rubbed down after saturday’s session said they had no problems. So I think I am getting better!

I’m going to invest in a 2 day course over the summer but until then its learning on the job.


You only show work on the calves in the DVD. I am assuming you do the same for quads and hamstrings as well? Do you use the same position for all muscles (knee up with foot on table) or would you do the quads and hams sitting down on the edge of the table or lying?

Thanks for your time, it is much appreciated.


I am sure you’ll get better and better! You won’t kill them at the end of the day… :stuck_out_tongue:

I suppose if you practise before just training sessions and/or easy ones, you should be on the safe side.

And practising on your self is important! I’ve tried a few things and I was surprised on the results, Charlie might remember of this on another thread. This was post-workouts though.

You are lucky you’ve got athletes who are willing to be treated; but then again it can work both ways…

Have a look again at the DVD; I am pretty sure there is some treatment on her quads, too on a supine position with straight legs; hope I am right on this…

Let us know how it goes!

PS if you want, send me an email about this 2-day course! Sorry for this, but I am pretty busy with typing, so not much time for “looking around”… Thanks!

Start off by checkingthe muscles with shaking and the application of some mild heat rub to get everything moving without disrupting the muscle tone. As I say on the Jane DVD, if you find a real problem, you may have to address it even if it does lower optimal tone- better to avoid an injury and drop out of the race

Since none of the athletes I work with are on the world class program they all have to pay £30/hour for massage. Therefore, they are always up for massage at reduced rates! Gives me a chance to practice but no obligation. So i don’t have to do it all day for free!

As for quads; on the DVD Charlie only shows this area being worked using “deep” massage techniques. His prerace work is edited so it is restricted to the calves only - hence the question “do you also work on the quads and hamstrings prerace?”.

Yes, Quads and Hams pre-race also.

Charlie, thanks, it makes sense!

TC, right on! I could get away with 10 quid, but still don’t do it all the time… I need my practice, too! :wink:
And sorry about the answer, didn’t get your Q…

When doing massage on your self, does it matter what direction you are going? Sometimes it’s difficult to go one way or the other depending on treatment site…

Also, if muscles around the shin feel fine -during both running and treatment- but pain is felt at a specific point on the bone (~2/3 height from feet) especially early in the session (e.g., warm up even on grass), what does this mean? It’s also in the front of the shin, not inside, for example and it’s felt on both shins, perhaps a bit more on the right vs. left side.

Not sure where this comes from, as training is fine (e.g., track reduced to two sessions vs. winter) with plenty of tempo on grass. I used to have compartment syndrome, but this was years ago and the symptoms and site of pain are irrelevant to the current situation…

Would ice and aspirin be the way to go if massage alone doesn’t work?

Thanks and sorry for the 2 in 1 post…

Part 1:

You are supposed to go back to the heart to encourage blood flow but this isn’t always possible. Once the muscle is warm you will use broadening techniques anyway (which may not necessarily be in the direction of the heart). I doubt it will kill you but probably isn’t as effective.

Part 2:

Ohhh, sounds like the dreaded shin splints to me (though I am no doctor)! If your gait isn’t quite right you could be placing more stress on one part of the leg more than the others leading to problems even with solid training and low volume.

Get it checked ASAP so you know what is up and can adjust your training accordingly. As we are now (in the UK) getting into the season you can probably get away with less volume and do tempo in the pool or substitue something else (cycling, elliptical trainer etc) to stress the legs in a different way until you recover. If it is shin splints you want to do this now because it will only get worse.

Also, what spikes are you wearing. I have noticed that all the sprinters who have shin problems I know use Demolisher or Nike G5s with the very rigid soles. Perhaps, MD spikes would be a safer bet until you recover?

Thanks for this!
The spikes might be a reason and I have thought about it; I am not using any of the above and they are MD spikes (Adidas), but I had to borrow a friend’s spikes for the remaining of the season, as I am not sure if I’ll continue any track training next season and I didn’t want to spend any money on spikes -silly, I know, but this is the case.

The problem with these new ones is that they are a bit tight, which might affect my gait for sure; I am just surprised -if this is the case- as my training volume is already pretty low, just to “survive” the next couple of months and run for the club -no pressure, I just want to do it.

I’ll let you know how it’s going…

If others have any comments, please let me know!

After further looking at “shin splints”…

It is often associated with overtraining (particularly at the start of a season’s training), running on hard surfaces, or poor running technique. As the first two here do not apply (i.e., it’s not the start of the season, but rather the end for me and I tempo on grass 3-4 times/week and between 1500-2500 m), the third option seem more possible; however, as I really don’t feel I have changed anything in my technique, could this be caused simply by the new spikes? (track sessions twice/week).

As the term is too vague, the following conditions could be included: stress fractures of the tibia or fibula, inflammation on the outer side of the ankle (peroneal tendinitis), increased pressure within the muscle compartments -which I used to have and now it doesn’t feel the same at all- and inflammation of the membrane covering the tibia (medial tibial stress syndrome).

In all of these conditions, the irritation and pain spreads and continues throughout activity -in my case, it feels less as session goes by and it’s worse when I start (e.g., in the first few strides especially on spikes); unless it just feels this way as I get warmed up…

The symptoms stop when activity ceases, but the leg usually remains tender to the touch -in my case, it doesn’t necessarily stop when activity ends, although it’s not painful, but more of an irritation and this not all the time. Also, I can feel it on touch, but I am not jumping up; I can easily touch the bones and “rub” them -not as treatment, of course…

Treatment depends on the precise cause, but usually includes a long period of rest, ice treatment, anti-inflammatory medication and stretching exercises. From these I am doing the last two, although I started anti-inflammatories only today…

Sorry for the length, but I just tried to pass on as much info as possible!

Thanks for any replies/suggestions!

First things first, lay off the legs for now. I agree that pool work might help. Part of it might be from breaking in the new spikes. However, this is intricate and rather hard to diagnose in this kind of setting. The fact that the pain is localised in a particular spot (as opposed to diffused over a wider area) is cause for concern.

I suggest getting it checked out if it doesn’t clear up after breaking in the new shoes and giving the legs time to rest.

Thanks, Flash! I appreciate it!

I am treating it with massage, ice and aspirin; I did some tempo today (grass) and it felt better -I hope it’s not just my perception, but there was definitely less pain early on and almost no pain towards the end of the session.

Track session tomorrow; if I can see no difference vs. last Wed after 3-4 days of this treatment, session is off and I’ll check it -it’s not worth it…