Your body's musculature is made up of stabilizing and movement muscles, says Liz Bartucci, The Spa manager at Greenwich Avenue in New York City. Sitting, especially for prolonged periods, makes the former prone to tightness and the latter to weakness. During intense training, this imbalance can increase your chance of injury and premature muscle fatigue.
A regular massage regimen solves both issues: It lengthens tight muscles through myofascial release and activates weak ones by increasing blood flow, Bartucci explains. In turn, you'll be able to train harder with fewer risks.
The bottom line:
Schedule massages after long runs and key strength-training workouts, says Heidi Munyer, master therapist at Greenwich Avenue in New York City. Get your last pre-race treatment three days beforehand. Post-event, wait three to five days, or until your muscles are no longer sore to the touch, for your next appointment.