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How Can Massage Help Pre & Post Marathon?

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Massage is a combination of techniques that address joints and their soft tissue attachments in order to create ease of movement & reduced pain. This method of practice can be applied in most settings and is perhaps most commonly associated with those who take part in sport. With the running season in full swing and some of the biggest races coming up, we thought we would touch on exactly how it can be beneficial to those of you who run.

Firstly, we ask what exactly are the benefits to getting a massage. Whether you are at the beginning stages of your training or in the deep, dark, depths of it, and primarily we need to look at injury prevention.

 

Even for most seasoned runners, a marathon is not an easy event and the training required to compete can be hard work. Typical running injuries that can often occur include:

  • Plantarfaciitis
  • Shin splints
  • IT band syndrome
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome

All of these injuries can be partly managed with massage by addressing the muscles involved and looking to reduce the level of tension within, and improve the range of movement in the associated joints. Keeping on top of overworked muscles will help them to continue to work efficiently and prevent any compensatory patterns happening throughout the body.

 

Improved Recovery and Performance

By keeping your tissues free of tension, your joints mobile and maintaining the length of your muscle fibres, massage will allow your muscles to perform in a balanced and functional manner. This will give you the continuity you need to train and the ability to push your body to its peak to reach your fitness / running goals. Massage also aids in fluid movement. If we assist the tissue in its exchange of nutrients and waste products, we will keep the tissue nice and healthy.

 

When should you seek Massage?

This may sometimes be dependent on the individual, how you recover and your current training programme. Massage is recommended at the very least once a month however, if you are training for an event we would suggest weekly or bi-weekly in order to keep ‘on top’ of things.

 

Homecare Tips

  • Foam Roller – can be a useful way of alleviating any tension within the belly of the muscles. Be sure to use this VERY SLOWLY. If you go too quickly, you’ll only damage the muscles further.
  • Heat– taking a hot bath or shower following a training session will aid in muscle relaxation.
  • Stretching – be strict with a stretching routine after each running session you complete. Stretching maintains the length of your muscles and will help with any congestion. Try not to limit your stretching just to your legs, include your spine & upper body too as your running style will no doubt impact your whole body.

 

Event Massage Recommendations

  • Seek out treatment before your event however we recommend no less than 2 days before in order to give your muscles time to settle.
  • Keep your pre event massage very light and superficial. Focus on stretching and flushing through.
  • Look to book in a treatment following your event if it’s not provided on site. Aside from the above, post event massage assesses for injuries, normalises tissue, relives muscle cramping and flushes out any congested areas.

 

Good Luck Runners !

 

Written by Tor Gatenby – Level 5 Sports Massage Therapist

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