As I’ve clocked up the miles during the initial months of training, I’ve started to notice that my left leg is stiffening up. I’m fine while I’m running but there’s a real strain there when I’m resting. My left side has been weaker than my right since a car accident that my husband and I were in years ago now. That weakness initially stopped me running completely and I’ve worked hard over the last few years to gradually build the strength back up in my muscles. So this tightening felt like more than just a bit of stiffness to me, it felt like a sign of that old problem wheedling its way back in.
I asked around a bit for potential solutions and a colleague suggested trying a sports massage. While it sounds like a perfectly reasonable suggestion, something about it sounded too much. Self-indulgent, almost. I don’t think of myself as a ‘sportsperson’; I think of myself as someone whose hobbies happen to include running.
After a couple of weeks of the muscle strain increasing, though, I decided to just try it, even if I did end up looking like a plonker.
And oh my goodness, should I have done it sooner! Turns out that the muscles in my left leg were in fact tightened up and after half an hour, they’re much looser and I feel so much better. I’ve been for a run since and even that felt better. I was worried that I’d look like an idiot when asked what the problem was – I didn’t (because really, how hard did I think saying, “my left leg feels tight” was going to be?!). I was worried that I’d obviously come across as a complete amateur – I may well have done but I was open about the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing and the physio was lovely. Because it turns out that people actually want you to buy their services and don’t want to make you look like a muppet! Who knew?
If you’re thinking of getting a sports massage but worried that they’re not for you – don’t be. Get a recommendation if you can and find somewhere that you feel comfortable enough in admitting that you’re an amateur (if you are!) and being straight about what you do and don’t know. And that’s my (now obvious sounding) tip…I appreciate that it isn’t particularly profound but personally I need the occasional reminder that things that sound elitist are often in fact as accessible as you make them.