Sports Massage for Runners
WHAT IS SPORTS MASSAGE? Sports Massage is massage therapy treatment that is geared towards athletes, from professionals to weekend warriors. The treatment will depend on the athlete’s sport, whether they are coming in for pre event or post event treatment, any acute or chronic injuries and the individual goals of the athlete. For runners coming in before or after an event, the goals of the session will be different, which is why it is important to see Massage Therapists who specialize in working with runners/athletes.
PRE EVENT MASSAGE Runners can benefit from receiving Massage Therapy before their race, preparing both the body and mind for optimal performance. Massage has been shown to increase blood flow locally so a massage administered to the lower body before a race can be beneficial. Pre event massage is done 2 days prior and up to the time of the race. During this time, no deep work is done and the massage is more general, focusing on the areas specific to running. Areas of focus would be upper/mid back, lower back, hips and legs.
POST EVENT MASSAGE Post event massage can be extremely beneficial for recovery after a race. Studies have shown that sports massage after an event can increase local blood flow and circulation which will help the muscles heal faster. This can help to decrease an athlete’s recovery time. Post event massage is done either right after or up to 2 days after a race. The massage will still be lighter at this time, but can be deeper than pre event massage.
HOW RUNNERS CAN BENEFIT FROM SPORTS MASSAGE Sports Massage can help runners by enhancing preparation for a race, reducing recovery time after a race and can help to maintain optimal muscle health during training. Regular sports massage can promote flexibility, reduce muscle fatigue and improve endurance. These benefits can help prevent injuries and can help decrease recovery time for rehabilitation of an injury. Sports Massage also feels good! It can help a runner relax before an event, helping with any pre-race jitters and improve mental outlook.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TREATMENT PLAN Many coaches recommend receiving Sports Massage every 1-2 weeks, depending on intensity of a runner’s training schedule. Our recommendations are as follows:
Every 2-3 weeks during race training, for maintenance.
Once per week if there is an injury or chronic condition being worked with.
One session during the week before a race, as close to the day of the race as possible (2-5 days prior)
One session during the week after a race, as close to the day of the race as possible (1-5 days prior)
As often as you can manage
The above are just general guidelines, but a runner can benefit from a single massage session as well! We like to promote self massage education as well so our clients can bring the benefits of Sports Massage home.