Sports Massage for Long Distance Runners

Long-distance running requires endurance, stamina, and proper physical conditioning. The repetitive nature of the sport can lead to muscle fatigue, tightness, and even injury and it’s not something that you can just go into without some support and training.

That’s where we can help at Pippa’s Movement Therapy. Sports massage has several different benefits for runners of all types. It can not only improve performance but also prevent injuries and make recovery much faster.

What is Sports Massage?

Sports massage combines various techniques, including Swedish massage and deep tissue massage as well as stretching. For runners, it can help address specific issues related to performance and recovery. Here are just a few:

Injury Prevention

The repetitive impact and strain on muscles and joints can lead to overuse injuries, particularly for long-distance runners. if not properly addressed. Sports massage can help reduce muscle tension, promote better circulation, and enhance flexibility.

Regular massage can mean the muscles and connective tissues stay in optimal condition so that you avoid common problems such as shin splints, IT band syndrome and plantar fasciitis.

Injury Recovery

Of course, long-distance runners can pick up injuries of all types and sports massage can be a great way to improve recovery. It’s important to discuss what issue you have with your therapist beforehand as it might not be suitable – in many cases, however, a massage can help improve blood flow which leads to quicker recovery.

Improving Performance

Running 10K distances and marathons can take its toll. Training is very important if you run competitively.

  • Sports massage can contribute to performance enhancement by increasing the range of motion, improving muscle flexibility, and enhancing overall body awareness.
  • It can even optimise your running mechanics, helping you to maintain proper posture, and achieve more efficient movement patterns.
  • This should translate into an improved running economy and increased speed, allowing you to reach your full potential.

Faster Recovery

Sports massage can lead to faster recovery by increasing blood circulation. This helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and removes metabolic waste products such as lactic acid that cause those tell-tale aches and pains.

It can also reduce muscle soreness and inflammation so that you bounce back quicker from intense training sessions or races.

Sports Massage Techniques

We use various techniques designed to address the needs of athletes. An experienced massage therapist will use a combination of these to produce various effects. The techniques used commonly include:

  • Effleurage involves long, sweeping strokes applied with the hands or forearms. It helps warm up the muscles, increases circulation, and prepares the body for deeper work.
  • Petrissage consists of kneading, rolling, and squeezing the muscles. It releases tension, breaks up adhesions, and improves muscle elasticity.
  • Friction involves applying pressure and circular movements to specific areas, such as trigger points or areas of scar tissue. It helps release knots and adhesions, promoting better muscle function.
  • Tapotement includes rhythmic tapping, slapping, and hacking movements. It stimulates the muscles, increases blood flow, and invigorates the body.

The legs and lower body, including the feet and ankles, bear the brunt of impacts during running. Sports massage can focus on the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes to alleviate tension, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of injuries.

However, the upper body also plays a significant role in maintaining balance and posture, more than many people think. Sports massage can work on the shoulders, back, and arms to release also tension as well as improve body alignment.

When is the Best Time to Schedule a Sports Massage?

To maximise the benefits of sports massage, it is essential to schedule sessions at the right times during training and competition. Here are our recommendations:

  • A pre-event sports massage is typically performed 1-2 days before a race or important training session. It aims to prepare the muscles, enhance circulation, and promote relaxation to optimise performance and prevent injuries.
  • Inter-event sports massages are shorter sessions performed during multi-day events or training cycles. They focus on maintaining muscle health, reducing fatigue, and easing recovery between sessions.
  • A post-event sports massage is usually scheduled within 24-48 hours after a big race. It helps reduce muscle soreness, flush out metabolic waste products, and ensure faster recovery.

Finding a Sports Massage Service in Devon

There are lots of things that long-distance runners need to do if they want to get better and faster. Training, of course, is vital as is a good diet. Sports massage is one of those additional activities that can help with recovery and also improve performance, especially in the long term.

If you are serious about your running, whatever your age or current ability, then adding it to your regime is a very good idea.

If you live in the Devon area, there are numerous sports massage therapists available across the county. You should always work with someone who is properly qualified and has experience working with athletes. Check online and look at what services they offer and also any reviews that may be available.

Sports massage therapists use a variety of different techniques to provide support for runners. It’s a good idea to talk through what you are looking for and what you want to achieve with any potential therapist.

A normal massage therapy session usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour depending on your needs and the therapist.

Why Choose Pippa’s Movement Therapy?

At Pippa’s Movement Therapy, I offer a range of solutions for athletes, including sports massage therapy. Based in a beautiful stone barn in the heart of Devon, my clinic is the perfect place for a relaxing massage that can help improve circulation and recovery.

Whether you need to prepare for a big event or want to recover after a long run, working with the same therapist can make a big difference. They get to know what your needs are and understand any particular issues that you might have.

If you would like to find out more about how I can help, contact me today to book an appointment.

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