So, what is the purpose of the post-event massage? Post-event massage is intended to help the athlete to recover from the event; reduce post-exercise soreness; and re-establish range of motion and blood flow to tight muscles. It can also provide a psychological lift. I have also found that it can assist the athlete to identify slight injuries they may have picked up during the event, which they can then address with their own therapist later in the week.
A general post-event massage onsite at the event lasts for 10-15 minutes. I use compressive gliding strokes to calm the nervous system and push fluid through the legs, light squeezing strokes to ease muscle tension, compressive strokes to spread muscle fibres and restore blood flow; broadening strokes to lengthen tight muscles; and compressive gliding strokes as a finishing stroke to soothe. I also use some light trigger point therapy if required.
I prefer that my post-event massage isn't painful to the athlete, although trigger point therapy can be a little uncomfortable momentarily. Working with athletes whose pain thresholds are unfamiliar to me can make this challenging, but it can be achieved by staying in communication with the athlete and also watching for non-verbal signs like flinching and cringing! So you might like to try a post-event massage after your next event. The standard of therapist I see at events is really good, but they don't know your preferences so don't hesitate to give them instructions on what you want them to work on, and what pressure you prefer. Please don't feel that it is "no pain, no gain", and never hesitate to ask the therapist to lighten up if necessary - I just hate to see an athlete clutching the table and cringing, because they assume that this is how its meant to be. A good therapist will listen, and either lighten up, or explain clearly why what they are doing might be causing you some discomfort.
Some events run a booking system, but generally you just join the queue. Cost for post-event massage is generally $1 per minute, with most athletes opting for 10 or 20 minutes.
If post event massage isn't for you, then make sure you get in early to book an appointment during the week following the event - times fill up fast and are usually booked up about a month ahead of the more popular events.