Marathon Recovery

Why A Massage Will Help

Before And After A Marathon

Runners in marathon on street

Running marathons can be addictive. And the amount of training that goes into getting ready can be intense.

Massage can be a wonderful way to not only prepare your body before a marathon, but also help it heal afterwards.

From increasing the flexibility of the body to helping the lymphatic system eliminate toxins built up during the run, a marathon massage can really help your performance. And here are the reasons why.

Woman running along beach

1. Massage Increases Flexibility

Having regular massages will help you to perform better during the marathon by increasing your flexibility.

Studies have shown that massage can help increase the range of motion of joints in the body.

A good massage also helps to rebalance the musculoskeletal system.

Runners often experience tightness and pain in the hamstrings, knees, Achilles tendon, and IT band. A study of female hockey players showed that massage significantly helped tightness of the hamstrings.

A qualified massage therapist will look at the pain a client is feeling and be able to pinpoint where that pain is coming from.

For example, limited lumbar mobility can show itself as hamstring pain. The hamstring could be over-stretched, which means the hip flexors are shortening as they are compensating for this. 

The body is very much like a weight and pulley system. 

When muscles encounter fatigue because they have been overused, another muscle is going to step in, attempting to bring your body some balance. 

However, that secondary muscle is often not designed to do the work of the first one, and so it can cause pain.

For this type of pain, a remedial massage or trigger point massage is the best style. This will unlock muscle knots that will then cause referred pain to other muscles in the body.

This can be particularly helpful before the marathon in helping make sure your body is supple and has full range of movement.

2. A Relaxation Massage
Also Can Help Pre Marathon

It’s not necessary to only get the deeper style, sports massages before running a marathon. 

A relaxation massage can be just as good in the lead up. Training can take a toll on the body, and you maybe stressed in the lead up to the event.

Relaxation massage has been shown in studies to reduce stress and reduce the level of cortisol in the body, especially among athletes. A group of dancers showed much lower levels of this stress hormone after being massaged than those in the control group.

In this way, a massage can help with the psychological aspect of pre marathon training. 

Swedish style massage has also been shown to be a good way to reduce blood pressure. 

3. Reduces Fatigue And Muscle Soreness

Massage has been shown to be an effective treatment in reducing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). DOMS is the muscular pain that comes days or even weeks after doing strenuous exercise. 

It is particularly common if you haven’t trained before a marathon and your body is unused to the intense exercise.

Wearing compression garments can sometimes help, but other wise, relaxation massage has been shown to be particularly promising as a treatment for DOMS. One study showed that DOMS could be reduced by as much as 30% with massage.

4. Massage Increases Movement Range During And After A Marathon

Massage increases your range of movement by stretching out your muscles. 

It also increases the synovial fluid in your joints by helping the membranes within the joint to lubricate.

Synovial fluid is kind of like having enough oil in your car so that it runs smoothly. Ensuring that your joints are lubricated enough before a marathon will help ensure they don’t seize up mid race.

5. Massage Can Increase Your Strength

Another study showed that massage can help increase the strength of your muscles. 

In this study, power grip was tested after performance in a massage and non massage group.

It showed the massage group had better power in their grip and less fatigue than those who did not receive a massage.

6. Massage Can Help The Lymphatic System And Lymphatic Drainage

The lymph system in the body is the way waste is eliminated. It sits just under the surface of the skin, and is stimulated by light touch massage, or lymphatic drainage. 

It is thought to help detox the body by helping the stimulation of the lymph nodes.

Some studies have shown that Manual Lymphatic Drainage Techniques can be helpful in reducing edema in sprained ankles.

7. Massage Can Help Post Running Injuries

One study looked at the effect massage had as part of a range of treatments for a middle distance runner who was experiencing knee pain. 

Whilst massage was only one component of a series of treatments, the runner was able to return to regular training after the ten week course of treatment.

Another study of 74 triathlon athletes showed that they had statistically much less pain after receiving a massage after an iron man race. They were also a lot less fatigued. Another study showed that after intense exercise on a bike, another group who received petrissage massage had much less muscle soreness and fatigue as well.

So if you are training for a marathon, you may want to think about adding in massage to your training schedule. 

And it might be a good idea to book one after the marathon as well to help with post marathon recovery.

Massage can help in many ways, both for fatigue, muscle soreness and even has many psychological benefits. 

Ripple specialises in a wide range of massage styles depending on what your body needs.

Give us a call and an experienced therapist is available to give you advice on the best one to book.

Woman running along beach on the sand

Ripple is a mobile massage business that brings sports massage and pre and post marathon massage to clients across Australia.

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Author Biography – Ali Saoirse –  BEc University Sydney, GradDipPsych Bond University, Diploma Remedial Massage, Certificate IV Massage, Level 7 Kahuna Massage, Qualifications in Pregnancy Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology from Gold Coast TAFE.

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