The What, Why and When of sports massage for runners.
What is Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a combination of basic and advanced massage techniques applied to a sports person in order to support and enhance their performance. Some sports massage therapists can include additional techniques such as medical acupuncture, taping and injury assessment. Each treatment is tailored to the individual, how they are feeling and with a purpose in mind. Techniques also vary depending on when the next training session will take place and how intense it will be.
Why Have Sports Massage?
For runners sports massage provides three main benefits; Recovery, Injury Prevention and Psychological Boost.
After a tough or long run sports massage will help you to recover faster. It will stimulate blood flow, support your body’s own healing process and prevent or reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. You will leave ache free, with full movement and ready to tackle your next training session.
Injury can be prevented by monitoring muscular condition. A sports massage therapist will identify areas of tension with their hands and apply techniques to reduce this and lessen the chances of injury. Your body awareness will improve and you will be encouraged to stretch certain areas at home. Those annoying little niggles need not become full-on injuries!
Runners find sports massage provides them with a quiet time to reflect, consider and take stock of how their training is going and how they are feeling. This provides a psychological boost particularly when training is tough or in the week before a race, when keeping the mind and body relaxed is vital.
When to have Sports Massage
Sports massage can be adapted for use before or after training and racing. Many runners have their treatments after their long run and on a rest day so that the massage can be deeper and assist recovery. But a less intense treatment can be delivered as close to the day before a race.
After a race sports massage is applied lightly and more rapidly, in order to stimulate circulation, relax, reduce tension and restore movement. You will leave with less soreness and stairs will no longer be a daunting task!