Are you in the midst of training for a race or a marathon? Are you stretching properly, drinking lots of water, resting when you need to, and receiving a massage like you should?
Many of you don't realize the benefits you will receive when getting a massage (or 4, 5, or 6) during your training. Sports massage has been used to treat pain, soreness, and stiffness associated with athletic injury and training, as well as for injury prevention. It is believed to potentially increase blood flow to the muscles, decrease swelling, reduce muscle tension, and increase a sense of well-being. Studies have shown that massage can reduce lactate levels in muscle, diminish delayed onset muscle soreness, and improve muscle function in certain settings.
That said, deep tissue massage is certainly not for everyone the week before the marathon. If routine massage treatments have not been a part of your regular training regimen, it is not advisable to schedule any deep tissue work this close to the big day. You are not familiar with how your body would respond, and it may adversely affect your taper. In general, it is a good rule not to try anything new in the last week leading up to a marathon.
If you do schedule a massage within a week or two of the race, make sure to keep it semi-light—a relaxation therapeutic massage may be appropriate. This would primarily serve as a psychological benefit to ease tension and stress, but don’t expect it to fix any injuries or muscle imbalances at that point. Studies have shown that pre-race massage doesn’t necessarily improve muscle strength, flexibility, or endurance, but it can contribute to a positive mental outlook as race day approaches.
Before scheduling, seek out a licensed massage therapist with experience treating runners. You can search for practices specializing in sports, clinical, or rehabilitation massage. Also, let the therapist know that you are running the marathon on Sunday.
And when the race, or marathon, is all over, be sure to schedule a post-race massage! Your body will feel fatigued, possibly sore, and hopefully not injured. Receiving a relaxing massage during the week after a race will help put you back in tip-top shape.
And in case you are wondering, our therapists at The Sacred Self are trained to massage athletes. So, if you would like to add massage to your training regimen, please contact us for an appointment. We would be more than happy to help you out!