Sports Massage for RunnersRachel Ackroyd | February 3rd, 2016
How can regular massage help support your running training?
Regular massage can extend your running career and is not only for elite athletes but can be very beneficial for all levels of runners as well. Massage can boost your performance, help prevent future injury and aid recovery by:
- Improving the flexibility of tight muscles by stretching tissues in a way that they can not be stretched by the usual methods.
- Restoring normal function of muscles by breaking down scar tissue which is the result of previous injuries or trauma. This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.
- Identifying areas of tightness you weren’t aware of and correcting imbalances before they become a problem.
- Improving circulation which enables muscles to use oxygen and nutrients more efficiently
- Promoting blood flow back to the heart, and removing waste products ( lymphatic drainage) to relieve congestion in the muscles and improve recovery
How often should I get a sports massage?
If you’re a regular runner then sports massage is an effective addition to a training schedule and treatments vary according to when and why you seek treatment. Massage has a cumulative effect so the more regular the treatment the better, i.e. it’s better not to wait until you’re injured to seek treatment.
What types of treatment are there?
In general, there are four main types of treatment:
- Maintenance Massage: This type of massage takes place in between training sessions ( ideally every 3-4 weeks or more frequently leading up to an event). The aim is to work on specific elements and tissue structures which have become shortened, tight and painful loosening off tightness within soft tissues so as to improve performance and prevent injury. A variety of techniques can be used, ranging from deep tissue work, Trigger Point therapy, Muscle Energy Technique and mobilisation of joints, to specific stretching and strengthening.
- Pre Event: Scheduling a massage either the morning of or the day before an event can also be very beneficial to prepare you physically and mentally for the race ahead. It will help you run the race in more focused way and help to ward off injury by preparing muscles and joints for peak performance. The massage is performed at a fast, brisk pace – though not too deep – to get your muscles ready.
- Post Event Massage: A sports massage either immediately after a race or 1 or 2 days later is a great way to soothe and ease fatigued and tired tissues and prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). The pace of this massage is slow, rhythmical and gentle and will help to speed up your recovery so you can get back to training again sooner
- Injury Prevention: Sports massage can also be used to treat specific soft tissue injuries and a wide variety of techniques and methods can be used to reduce the recovery time and help get you back running. This type of treatment can last from between 30 minutes to an hour, dependent on the injury.
Elise offers Sports and Remedial Massage at 21st Century Clinic and has experience successfully supporting runners through their training for events such as the London Marathon, Marathon Des Sables ( 6 day run in the Sahara Desert), Norwegian Midnight Sun Marathon, Malaga Marathon and the Reading Half Marathon.