fall, and you know what that means - It's marathon season! So, in honour of the
annual NYC marathon, we decided to dive into the many benefits of massage for
runners. Keep reading to find out how massage can help you hit your next PB - And feel great doing it!
If you're a runner, you know it's far from being an easy sport, continuously challenging you mentally and physically. But you're in it for the long run (pun intended), and massage can help you to smash your running goals for years to come.
As we all know, running requires repetitive muscle contractions, which shorten and tighten the muscle fibres over time. So, the same powerful contractions that give you speed and endurance during your run can also lead to decreased range of motion, compressed tissues, and persistent and painful muscle knots. And while frequent foam rolling and stretching and a healthy lifestyle will speed up post-run recovery and reduce your injury risk, their benefits can't compare to massage. Here's why:
1. Encourages muscle relaxation. With great training comes great muscle tightness and the tighter the muscles, the more you risk injuring yourself. Massage can help you reduce that risk.
2. Increases range of motion. Increasing your range of motion helps ensure you'll make it through to race day without sustaining any injuries. Plus, it improves your overall performance because we can run more efficiently when our muscles can work properly.
3. Improves circulation. Your circulatory system delivers oxygen and nutrients to your cells and helps remove metabolic waste products. Good blood flow is critical for athletes because it reduces inflammation and injury risk and increases post-workout recovery speed. Plus, your blood delivers vital nutrients and oxygen to your muscle tissues, such as glucose and electrolytes, improving your muscular performance.
4. Helps identify problem areas. A good massage therapist can recognize tense muscles and address the issue before an injury occurs. The source of your pain is sometimes obscure, and a professional can solve complex or persistent problems thanks to their advanced knowledge of how the body works.
5. Reduces delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A 2018 meta-analysis published by the National Library of Medicine found that massage is the most effective method to reduce DOMS. It does this by helping your muscles recover from the effects of lactic acid.
6. Reduces perceived fatigue. This same meta-analysis determined that massage therapy was also one of the best methods to reduce post-exercise muscle fatigue, along with compression techniques, such as compression garments or water immersion.
These benefits can help you optimize your training and maximize your performance. And while anyone can benefit from regular massage therapy, massage is vital for a runner looking for ways to boost recovery, prevent and heal from injuries, and improve their performance.
Massage, when received regularly, boosts your sports performance and overall wellness. In other words, when you book just one massage session before race day, you will experience a smaller scope of benefits than you would with a regular massage program throughout your training
Olympic runners receive massages once a week, but let's face it: We're not all Usain Bolt. For hobbyists and weekend warriors, committing to weekly massages might be unrealistic. The most important is to set a regular schedule that's in line with your running goals and budget, whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
And remember to look after yourself between massages! Drink lots of water, eat healthy, stretch, and foam roll often to extend their positive effects until your next appointment.
Experts recommend scheduling pre- and post-race therapeutic massages 3-5 days before and after race day. When booking your next massage, you should book it for a day off or a light day to maximize the benefits.
With that being said, specialized sports massages can be used as a warm-up on race day. Sports massages are designed to activate the muscles and boost athletic performance while preventing injuries. However, the pressure applied is less than most massage therapists would use, meaning you're still getting the benefits without the post-massage soreness and fatigue.
Between long runs and all-out gym sessions, adding another thing to your training calendar might seem impossible. Massages are great, but you probably don't have time to wait in traffic for an hour on your way to your massage therapist's office.
We understand. And that's why we come to you when you book a massage session with BigToe. With affordable prices, easy bookings, and sessions entirely designed by you, for you, there's no time like the present to take your training up a notch!