Sports Massage and Marathon Training

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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

sports-massage-preventing-injuryOnce 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!

 

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Take a Break!

Extended periods of time performing repetitive tasks can cause all sorts of problems with a musculoskeletal system, leading to headaches, neck and back pain and tiredness.  Many of you sit in an office all day, or at the wheel of a vehicle for long periods, and often you dont get enough breaks during the day to allow your body to rest.

desk-posture2The human body is always active, even whilst sitting the muscles are exerting tension to support the mass of your body and keep it upright.  Prolonged exertion can tire the muscles and lead to injury or discomfort.  As a species we evolved to run and hunt, our bodies are designed to be active.  Folding them into a chair and leaving them in front of a computer all day or cramming them into a vehicle does not help.  However well your workstation is set up or whatever kind of lumbar support your car may provide you with,  awkward postures and compression of the musculoskeletal system over long periods of time will lead to reduced bloodflow, nerve impingement and damage to soft tissue.

Modern life is very hectic, we are busy all the time, often with more work than we can deal with and having a break isnt always practical however much we may need it, but it is essential.  Rest is the key element to ensuring the optimum performance of our bodies.  So if we need a break but dont have time, what is the solution?  Microbreaks and workplace exercises will help enormously and give our muscles what they need to continue to work efficiently.

Break

Microbreak suggestions:

 

Avoid long periods of repetitive actions without a break, even a 2 minute break is adequate every half an hour.

Every ten minutes or so try to take 30 seconds to stop what you are doing and relax.

If you need to access a printer, make a conscious effort to stand up and retrieve your report instead of reaching over whilst doing something else.

Try to plan your day so that you arent spending all your time doing one task.

Remember to keep fluid levels up and stop what you are doing to take a drink.

Exercises

Shoulder circles – Lift your shoulders toward your head. Pinch the shoulder blades to roll the shoulders back, and let the shoulders drop down to the starting position. Try to move the shoulders in a circular fashion. Repeat as desired.

Shoulder lifts – Lift your shoulders toward your head. Hold for a 1-3 seconds and relax. Repeat as desired

Shoulder pinches – Pinch your shoulder blades together, hold for 1 – 3 seconds and relax.  Repeat as desired.

Hand clenches – Slowly clench your fits and release stretching your fingers wide.  Hold this position for 1 – 3 seconds and relax.

Stretches

Close your eyes sight for a second then open them wide.  This helps to rest the eyes and stretch the facial muscles.

Turn your head slowly to one side, hold for a few seconds then turn to the other side, all the time keeping your body facing forward.

Tilt your head to one side, hold the stretch for ten seconds and return to upright.  Repeat for the other side.

Drop your head forward so your chin touches your chest the slowly lift your head up and back.

 

Whilst these stretches and exercises are not designed to cure any muscle or joint problems, they will help to keep your system mobile and reduce tension.  If at any point you feel pain during these exercises stop doing them.  Obviously nothing beats a good regular massage and this should be built into your routine, especially if you have existing joint or muscle pain.

Remember if you would like any further advice, leave a comment or drop me an email, and if you would like to try out a sports massage yourself visit our website and see what we can offer.

www.alchemytherapycentre.com

 

Welcome to The Trigger Point

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My name is Stuart, I am a Sports Massage Therapist.

Whilst that sounds like an introduction from an AA meeting, I do consider myself something of an addict.  Although I have only been involved with Sports Therapy since 2008, learning about the body and how it works and moves has become an addiction, and I am passionate about helping people with muscle problems brought on by our everyday lives.

Since beginning my journey in my early forties I have studied and qualified in various manual therapy techniques, adding new skills to my therapy toolbox all the time.  I have worked in a few places and in 2013 myself and a friend set up Alchemy Therapy Centre in Old Stratford where we offer help and advice with various muscle problems along with a full range of beauty treatments.

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So why am I here?

Although I spend my days helping to fix muscle problems, there is so much that people can do at home to improve posture and reduce muscle aches and pains.  I strongly believe that exercise and stretching routines can help with most muscular issues people have, whether they are brought on by sports or by everyday activities.  Many of my current clients are not sports people but still suffer with neck back and shoulder problems related to bad posture, sitting at a desk all day, driving and other everyday activities.  I want to use my blog to promote the idea that manual therapy is not just for sports people and Sports Massage is beneficial for everyone no matter what they do.

I will try to share stretching routines, advice on injuries, and postural alignment as well as offer guidance to varying therapies and what might work best for you.  Today there are so many alternatives to painkillers, but it can be a nightmare trying to work out where to start and what might be the best course of action.  Hopefully I can offer a little advice to drive you in the right direction and help to make stress, tension and muscle pain a thing of the past.

Feedback is always gratefully received so please feel free to leave comments or questions and I will do my best to answer in future posts, or drop me an email if you want to ask a specific question.

I look forward to our journey together!