So you are all booked in for your 2016 marathons and now that Christmas is over your training is well under way. But should you consider a sports massage as part of your training?
For many people a marathon is a huge challenge and the pinnacle of your running career so how awful would it be to have to pull out because of an injury! Whilst stretching and sometimes physiotherapy will help, many people are unaware of the benefits of regular Sports Massage.
Benefits of Regular Sports Massage During Training
- It helps to eliminate lactic acid in the muscles thus reducing recovery time between training sessions.
- It increases blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles helping them to develop and strengthen.
- It helps to maintain flexibility allowing muscles to function properly.
- It highlights tightness and tension in a muscle allowing treatment before an injury develops.
- Decreases the effects of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) thus reducing stiffness in the legs.
- Psychologically it helps to relax the body during a tough training regime helping you to push harder and be more prepared for the big day.
When should I Schedule a Massage?
Ideally massage should be done during rest days or lighter training days as it is a good idea to rest afterwards to allow the effects of the massage to sink in. A days recovery after a sports massage is recommended in order to maximise recovery time. It is never advisable to have your first ever sports massage in the week running up to the marathon as you can’t be sure how your body will react, so having a few during the training weeks and months is much more sensible. I always recommend having your first sports massage around three months before the marathon then either monthly or every two weeks until the race. A final massage in the week before the event will help to reassure you that nothing is wrong and you are fit and ready, as this can often be a time of psychological stress, particularly if its your first marathon.
Post Event Massage
Once the marathon is over it is advisable to get a massage over the next couple of days. Apart from helping you to relax after your achievement massage helps to remove excess lactic acid and return muscles to their natural state. Unlike your previous sports massages, the post event massage is much more relaxing and concentrates more on deep strokes stretching out muscle fibres and removing toxins. Its important to think of the post event massage not just as relaxation but an essential part of the cool down, preparing you for your next adventure!