Medical Issues

Overuse Injuries

  • Do not do too much too soon.
  • Increase training gradually
  • Allow time for the body to adapt to changing terrain, shoes, bike, kayak, conditions.
  • Have sufficient rest and hard day/easy day pattern.
  • Take good care of minor injuries and allow them to recover by training other disciplines, e.g. kayak if you can’t run.

  • Seek professional help if injury occurs and is not settling quickly, i.e. 7 – 10 days.


(Often related to under recovery as much as over exercising)

Be wary, as your life does not stop while you prepare for the race. Avoid other major stresses in your life especially in the last 2 months. Warn your family, work colleagues, friends, of your apparent self centered approach to life.

Symptoms may include:

  • Poor training performance
  • Disturbed sleep 

  • Disturbed mood 
  • Irritability

  • Fatigue 

  • A persistent muscle ache 

  • Elevated pulse
  • Resting and/or with exercise 

  • Infections e.g. colds, coughs

Management - avoid if possible by:

  • Adequate rest
  • Recovery sessions 

  • Good nutrition/fluid intake 

  • Reduce other stresses 

  • Massage therapy 

Do not train harder if your expected performance seems poor. Lower your training load for 7 – 10 days. Only easy sessions.

Hyperthermia (high body temperature)

Heat is produced by your exercising muscles and is normally balanced by the evaporation of sweat. If sweating is reduced by dehydration or evaporation by high humidity you may not lose heat adequately. Another possibly more important cause is if you train/race harder than you are conditioned for, especially in hot conditions.

Do not get dehydrated and practice drinking while running, kayaking, biking.

Normal sweating rates are 500 – 800ml/hour so replace that much if unsure. One method to check your fluid loss through sweating, respiration, etc, is to do a test weigh.


Weigh yourself before you train and weigh yourself after your session. 1 litre weighs 1kg.
If you have trained for 1 hour without drinking and lost 1kg you have sweated, etc, 1 litre.

For longer sessions, drink a measured amount, e.g. 500ml or 1 litre and allow for that in your calculation.

Check last section on hyponatraemia.

Hypothermia (low body temperature)

Commonly when athletes are caught in sudden changes of weather without adequate waterproof and windproof gear. In training always be aware of danger. Where there is water there is usually wind.


The “UMBLES” -  Stumbles, mumbles, grumbles, fumbles.
 Also repeating comments.


  • Stop
  • Shelter 
- get out of the wind and wet
  • Use cellphone immediately
  • Have warm drinks
  • Put on dry clothes 
- use another person's body heat if available.


This means low blood sodium and is caused by over-drinking not excessive sweating and is more dangerous than dehydration. It occurs more in slower athletes who sweat less, drink more and if fatigued think it is due to dehydration and so drink even more especially if the fluid is their source of food, i.e. carbohydrates drinks.


How Sports Massage works for you

All athletes, whether professional or weekend warriors, are looking to improve their performance.
 As athletes increase their training schedule, muscles can be overused, causing strain, tears, and imbalance in soft tissues
. Sports massage releases built up tension and lactic acid in overworked muscles so that blood and oxygen can return to the muscles and promote repair.

Benefits of Sports Massage

  • Massage improves circulation and general nutrition of muscles.
  • Massage improves the range of motion and muscle flexibility, which results in increased power and performance.
  • It helps to shorten recovery time between workouts by eliminating toxins
  • Massage can help prevent overtraining by having a relaxing effect on the muscles and a sedative effect o n the nervous system.
  • It helps prevent and can even heal injuries. By stretching connective tissue, massage improves circulation to help prevent or break down adhesions or “knots”.

How to use Sports Massage during training

There are four different ways of using sports massage when preparing for a large an event:

1. Maintenance Massage

Maintenance massage should become a regular part of any athlete's training program. It helps to maintain optimal physical condition and address problem areas as they arise

. Maintenance sports massage should:

  • Ideally be scheduled weekly or every 2 to 3 weeks
  • Last 60 minutes
  • Include recovery massage as a foundation
  • Include remedial massage applications
  • Give extra attention to areas that are stressed
  • Use a full range of massage techniques
  • Be moderate in tempo

2. Rehabilitative Massage

Even with preventative maintenance, muscles cramp, tear, bruise and ache. In conjunction with physiotherapy, sports massage can speed healing and reduce discomfort during the rehabilitation process.

Deep tissue techniques, trigger point therapy, ice applications and stretching may be used during the massage session.

3. Pre-Event Massage

Pre-event massage can create a state of readiness in the muscle tissues so that the athlete’s performance can be optimised. It can take place up to 24hrs before an event but strictly speaking it is given 15-45 minutes before.
 Pre-event sports massage should:

  • Have an upbeat tempo
  • Avoid causing pain
  • Concentrate on major muscle groups to be used during the event
  • Use techniques to increase circulation and ease of joint movement.

4. Post-Event Massage

Sports massage given within four hours after an event or hard training session is focused on physical mental and emotional recovery. It promotes a state of general relaxation, reduces muscle tension, relieves swelling and helps prevent soreness.
Ice massage can be used for spasms, strains, cramps and for reduction of inflammation
. Post-event massage should:

  • Be short. 15-20 mins if it occurs shortly after the last event or longer 30-90 mins if it occurs an hour or more after the event
  • Use lighter pressure
  • Give specific attention to the muscles stressed in the event
  • Use techniques to flush out toxins


  • Make sure you have a regular massage.
  • Do not leave it until the last week or two before an event. Your muscles need to get used to deep tissue work. Start now!
Do not have a deep tissue massage close to a hard training session or event. Allow 2- 3 days for recovery. 

  • Try to have the day off following a deep tissue massage or use other muscle groups in your training. For example if you have your legs massaged, kayak the next day.

  • Always apply the RICE method to an acute injury and see a physiotherapist or sports doctor. Massage can be applied in the sub acute or chronic stage.

  • Always drink water for a couple of days after your massage to help eliminate toxins.

Sportsmed logoSportsMed Massage Therapists

All therapists are highly qualified and experienced in advanced sports massage techniques.
All are involved in the treatment of national, and international elite sports teams and individuals.
All therapists are Certified Massage Therapists with Massage New Zealand.

156 Bealey Avenue Christchurch 8013

Ph 03 366 0620