Massage for runners – how massage can bring a spring to your London marathon

Spring is upon us and runners are excited to be outside in the parks training for this year’s London marathon. Whether you’re a seasoned marathon runner or preparing for your first one, this is an important month for London runners. Your fitness levels are probably increasing to enable you to develop a steady tempo and push towards hard running. Massage is used by many people to support their running needs. Find out how it can help you, whatever your level by reading the points below.

First marathon – what you need to know

If you’re new to running or have increased the intensity to compete in your first marathon you’ll need to approach it differently to someone who has completed multiple marathons. Most new runners are returning to endurance sport after a number of years of relative inactivity. If that is you, you may need help in re-awakening dormant muscles, stretching out movement restrictions and boosting tone to muscles experiencing a heavier workload. Sports massage can support your body in adapting to these unfamiliar body movements by reclaiming range of motion, clearing up niggles and releasing the knots to allow optimum stretch. This enables your body to gradually change and set a solid foundation for you to enjoy pain free running for many years to come.

Marathon training plans – how massage can help

Runners can now use training plans to optimise their marathon performance and prepare with confidence. Such plans help to build your fitness foundation, increasing the training frequency, intensity and distance in a measured and sustainable manner. If you want to increase your sporting performance to achieve your personal best, ensure that you use massage to give you that extra edge. Massage is known to speed up training recovery, prevent muscle fatigue and groom the muscle fibres so that they recruit to their best.  

Types of massage used by runners

Sports massage is the most common massage requested by runners simply because it includes hands on techniques to lengthen, stretch and repair damage - mainly caused from over use, injury or muscular imbalances. If you’re looking for a pre or post competition massage to boost circulation and promote elasticity consider a Swedish massage as the pressure is lighter, strokes are flowing and there’s less chance to open up a “can of worms” and cause pain close to the event. Trigger point therapy can be a very valuable technique to identify where pain is coming from and treat the cause of the symptom using referral pain charts. Myofascial massage is designed to untwist the connective tissue which may be caught in a twist from repetitively running with an incorrect foot strike or running gait.

Massage for optimum running performance – awaken your spinal engine

Have you ever noticed how some people run with such a graceful stride and others shuffle along in a non-locomotive wobble? Joints that are movement restricted often force the runner to use alternative muscle groups to achieve a running stride. Although it’s possible to be a very active runner and complete multiple marathon’s using the wrong muscle groups, you will limit your performance and risk long term wear and tear. The spinal engine gait theory explains that optimal mechanical functioning of the spine is necessary for optimal mechanical functioning of the limbs. Massage can release and allow the muscles along the spine to activate the natural spring motion of the spine as you run. This relieves the limb muscles from having to do all the work saving you energy and optimising your effort to get the results you want.

To find out if massage can be of help to support you in your running performance, preparation or recovery please give us a call and we will endeavour to match you with the best massage therapist.  

Fran Kehoe, Owner of The Massage Centre in Chiswick, London 


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