Marathon Training – Why Have a Massage?

Training for a marathon is a long and committed process with much of the training taking place over the winter months,  in poor weather and often in the dark!  It is such a shame if in the last few weeks all that work goes to pot due to injury. It is  therefore important to understand the benefits of a massage, and to have a treatment plan in place to prevent any injuries.

Benefits

  1. Improved flexibility: massage stretches the muscles and their surrounding soft tissues in all directions improving their flexibility.
  2. Scar tissue breakdown: any injury heals with scar tissue, but if left alone the collagen fibres are laid down haphazardly. Massage helps to breakdown old scar tissue and positively influence the healing of any new injury.
  3. Circulation: massage improves blood flow to the muscles which helps to keep them well oxygenated and in good condition.
  4. Relaxation: by increasing the circulation, warming the muscles and soothing the nerve endings, massage can be a relaxing experience.
  5. Pain relief: the presence of waste products and tension within a muscle can be painful. Massage also releases the body’s natural endorphins producing pain relief.
  6. Improves tissue permeability: this allows nutrients and oxygen to reach the cells quickly. Waste products such as lactic acid can be efficiently removed
  7. Reduces anxiety: soothing nature of massage and the release of chemicals and hormones that induce relaxation can relieve levels of stress.
  8. Invigoration: brisk massage strokes performed just prior to an event can invigorate your body and make you feel energised for the work ahead!

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Sports massage during your training

Ideally it is recommended to have a treatment at least every other week for the first 4-6 weeks of training, then increasing to once per week during the peak of training.

This will identify where you are tight and where you may need to concentrate your stretching.  As well as keeping your body in good shape, massage can help in the mental preparation for the big day. It will make you more aware of any niggles and tightness that may be starting to accumulate as your distance is increased and identify potential sites of injury. But don’t worry, if you have not been able to have a massage this regularly, every little helps!

Sports massage in the final week

A pre-event massage in the week before the marathon concentrates on stretching to ensure that the muscles are flexible and in good shape. It can also help to relax any tension or anxiety which may be felt at this time.

After the Marathon

Massage helps the microscopic damage to your muscles repair. It will ease that post event soreness. Your body will need all the help it can get to recover fully.