January 06, 2009

The beauty of ART

It was about time. My left foot and lower leg had become extremely tight and close to painful during my runs. I know from unhappy experience that's always a situation to avoid.

With a move between continents followed by a move within a province, I'd neglected getting my usual treatments of ART, or Active Release Techniques.

When an ITB injury stopped me from running in late 2003, ART is the therapy that helped fix my problem. Ever since, I've aimed to get a treatment every 4 to 6 weeks to get tight areas loosened up and prevent injuries.

Knock wood, I've been injury-free since then through several Ironman triathlons, marathons and numerous other triathlons, road runs and trail runs. The first ART therapist I saw was in Sydney, Australia. He was amazing, as was his colleague who later took over my regular treatments which I now consider a key part of my training.

After moving from Australia to Canada, I had some trouble finding an ART provider I liked near our new home town. But after my partner Tim went on a triathlon training camp, he came back with a name of a therapist who was in our neighborhood once a week.

I went to see him and he was fantastic. Then we moved again, so it was too far to travel to see this provider and I didn't get any treatment (or other massages) since August. Four months of training (and one marathon race) without treatment is too long for me.

I've been very lucky to simply have a lot of tightness and even some sore spots during running (despite knowing better) without getting injured. Thankfully I finally was able to hook up with a new ART provider yesterday. With so much tightness across my legs, he was only able to work on the front to release the quads and shins during the 20-minute treatment.

But my legs already feel so much better, and I am keen to see him or his colleague who worked on Tim again. The 45-minute drive one way is well worth it.

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