Most people love massages – they feel relaxing, enjoyable and can help soothe aches and strains in the body. For a runner, a massage can be even more beneficial – by helping your body to recover faster, reduce soreness and improve healing from any injuries.
But before you plan your next massage, there are some important things you should consider to make sure that you enjoy the maximum benefits from it!
How do massages help?
Massages have a lot of benefits, but for marathon runners, they can be even more useful. They are often an effective and gentle way of aiding recovery from injuries, by easing swelling and scar tissue build up.
Massages also boost circulation and improve blood flow, and the regular movement and stimulation can help the body get rid of waste products – especially lactic acid.
Lastly, one great benefit of massage is the improved flexibility – a huge plus for marathon runners! Loosening tight muscle tissue can help to improve strength and stamina, as well as making a huge difference to your next run.
Choose the right massage
There are lots of different types of massage, and all of them serve varying purposes. Even for a runner, the massage you choose should depend on your personal needs and body – what works for one person might not be the best thing for you!
Swedish massages are a great treat before a big marathon, as they use long, flowing strokes with a light touch. The overall result is to reduce stress and muscle tension, which is ideal before a big event.
If you have specific areas of pain or muscle knots, then trigger point therapy is a great way of treating injuries, and can especially be helpful with hamstring issues and calf strains.
How often should you have a massage?
In an ideal world, regular massages are a great way of making sure that your body is in the best condition – during training, building up to an event, and then helping to recover afterwards.
Monthly, or even weekly massages will ensure that any problem areas are promptly identified and tackled, helping you to be at your best on the day.
If that isn’t possible to fit in, then it’s a good idea to schedule your massage at least a week to 10 days before your marathon. Your body will need to take some time to respond to a massage, otherwise you may be more susceptible to strains.