Marathon training is a particularly tough challenge, commanding dedication, a finely-honed training strategy and a strict diet. And the training, and the race itself, can be especially tough on the muscles, joints and bones. Due to the increasing strain on the body more and more runners have turned to massage to assist not only recovery, but to aid their performance throughout their training and on race day.
What is a sports massage?
A sports massage is always designed around the athlete, with careful consideration paid to the muscular and skeletal systems. When the impact of the specific exercise (in this case, running) is understood, a massage therapist can focus on problem areas and help the runner in avoiding common injuries or issues, whilst improving their performance.
Actions during a sports massage include: stroking, kneading and ‘frictions’ (where pressure is applied for a deeper level of massage).
Why are sports massages beneficial for marathon training?
Sports massages provide a wealth of benefits, including:
• Improved tissue permeability
• Broken down scar tissue
• Improved circulation
• Pain relief
• Restored mobility
• Boosted performance
• Prevention of injury and loss of mobility
• Improved flexibility
• Reduced anxiety
When should you fit sports massage into your marathon training?
Sports massage during training
Ideally you should try to fit in a sports massage every other week for the first 4 to 6 weeks of training. Once you’ve reached peak performance, and the mid to end of your training, this can then be upped to once per week if time and budget allows.
An often underappreciated element of sports massage is that it can provide for the mental space to prepare for the race, and an massage therapist can be an unexpected source of insight and advice as to how you can train more effectively.
Sports massage in the final week
As you enter the final seven days of marathon training (known as the tapering phase – during which you’ll cut down your run lengths and up your carb intake) a sports massage can be particularly beneficial, as much for the psychological benefits, as for the physiological.
Pre- and post-event massage
Pre- and post-event massages are often shorter, lighter treatments that aim to swiftly flush muscles of toxins.
Sports massage in the days after a marathon
Following a marathon (and once you’re home) you may feel more discomfort than you thought you would. After all, you’ve likely pushed yourself harder during this time than at any other point during training. At this point a sports massage will work on the microscopic damage that has been suffered by your muscles – easing soreness and reducing stiffness.
Our specialist massage therapists offer sports massage. To book an appointment with them call 020 8316 5316.