Importance of Massage for Runners
How much effort do you put into planning and executing your physical training – that race plan, eating the newest superfood or buying those new shoes? Trying to gain that PB, completing that first marathon or even that big ultra finish?
Putting all that work in is great and will take you far but if you don’t put the same energy into your recovery routines, you may be holding back your true potential risking a DNF, or worse, a DNS (did not start) due to injury!
There are so many ways to enhance your recovery from training and racing but in this post we will be focusing on massage.
A Massage Therapist is an important part of an elite athletes team, although you don’t have to be elite to reap the benefits of massage. I want to outline three main points why I regularly use and highly recommend massage as a tool for athletic performance.
- Recovery - Massage during your training cycles has been shown scientifically in the Journal of Athletic Training to reduce the severity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) making your remaining runs for the week much more enjoyable!
- Immunity - Recovery for your muscles is very important, though another often overlooked part of recovery is keeping your immune system running with all the stress of your training. It’s so common for an athlete to go into a race battling some kind of illness from burning the candle at both ends. Massage can increase the number of white blood cells circulating your body which means more little cold killing soldiers on duty!
- Efficiency - Who doesn’t want more efficiency, this is a big one! Let’s talk fascia. Fascia is a kind of connective tissue that literally wraps around every muscle fibre (among everything else) in your entire body transferring neural signals and force or amplifying force. If there is fascial restriction present in a muscle pattern interfering with your hip extension you won’t be using the biggest muscle in your body to run (your glutes) and you will be compensating somewhere else. This is a recipe for excess energy consumption and over-use injuries. Specific massage techniques can free up fascial restrictions and reawaken inhibited muscle patterns, allowing you full range of motion and much more efficient running.
Three powerful reasons why you should include massage into your running life – your body and performance will thank you!