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Marathon Massage

Why A Massage Before And After Your Marathon Can Help Your Body

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 stretching before a marathon
Marathon Massage Helps Flexibility

1. Massage Increases Flexibility

Having regular massages will help you to perform better during the marathon by increasing your flexibility. Flexibility is critical to marathon runners as it helps your body deal with with the stress your muscles and joints experience each time your feet hit the pavement. Good flexibility can help prevent injuries and also allow your body to heal quicker.

A good massage also helps to rebalance the musculoskeletal system. Techniques like deep tissue massage and myofascial release can help lessen the adhesions and scar tissue in the muscles. On top of this, massage after static stretching also helps the flexibility of the body.

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.



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. For example, this study showed that massage can help reduce anxiety, depression and the perception of fatigue, and may increase mood and relaxation.

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

3. A Massage May Reduce 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 usually shows up 24 to 48 hours after intense exercise.

Because marathon running goes for a long time comparatively to other sports, and places such high demands on the athletes' body, DOMS is common amongst marathon runners, especially for those who are not used 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.

Massage can help by increasing blood flow and helping move lactic acid from the muscles post marathon. It has also been shown it can reduce perceived fatigue.

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.

Further, myofascial relase done during massage can also help with range of movement in athletes. It can help with joint operation, reduction of pain, how the muscles work during exercise, and can also help with recovery.

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. Added to this, this study showed that lymphatic massage can help with the reducttion of serum levels of muscle enzymes after treadmill massage. This could help with muscular repair after intense exercise

7. Massage Can Help Post Running Injuries

One study looked at the effect massage had as part of a range of treatments for middle distance runner swho wer experiencing iliotibial band friction syndrome. This is a syndrome that affect the knees and hips, with this tendon rubbing against these joints and causing pain.


Whilst massage was only one component of a series of treatments, there was a correlation between massage and an improvement in the ITB band

Another study of 74 triathlon athletes showed that they had statistically much less pain and felt less fatigues after receiving a massage after an iron man race. 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.

Types Of Massage And How They Can Help Your Marathon Training

This style of massage can be a fantastic part of your marathon training routine, as it helps break down muscular scar tissue, muscular tension and helps with flexibility. The Harkness study showed that this style of massage can help athletes train harder and recover faster

Sports Massage

This encompasses a range of massage styles with therapists are experienced in helping athletes like marathon runners reach their full potential. For example the style of massage done pre event, where the therapist is getting the marathon runner's body ready for the race, is very different to a post marathon massage, where the goal is on muscule and body recovery.

Myofascial Release

At Ripple, we routinely do this during most of our massages, as its a highly effective way to decrease muscular pain and help with mobility. It is also simple to do, just applying pressure and stretching to connective tissue

This styel uses a lot of petrissage and effleurage strokes that increases blood circulation (helping iwth the lymphatic system andthe eliminatio of lactic acid from themuscles) and also as the name suggests, relaxation.

Trigger Point Massage

Done during our remedial massage treatments, this helps unlok muscles through sustained pressure on the trigger points in the body.

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.

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.


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