It's no secret that training for a marathon is demanding. Those weekend long runs can leave you exhausted, and the mid-week speed training can really sap your muscle strength. Those who are successful in marathon training do not just train hard — they also recover well from their workouts. And one way to help boost your recovery is through massage therapy. Here's a closer look at massage therapy and the role it can play in your marathon training.
When should you get massages?
The best time to get a massage is likely a few hours after a hard workout. A lot of marathon runners like to get a massage on the day of their long run, but if you find you are stiffer after speedwork, you may want to get a massage after your speedwork sessions instead. When you get a massage within a few hours of a workout, it can serve more of a preventative purpose. In other words, it can help keep you from getting stiff and sore rather than alleviating the stiffness and soreness once they set in.
What are the benefits of massage for marathon runners?
Massage helps reduce inflammation, and inflammation is at the heart of a lot of the soreness you experience after a hard run. The collection of fluid in your tissue makes you feel stiff and tired. Massage also helps encourage your muscle tissue to release all of the toxins, like lactic acid, that have built up due to a workout, which can help you to recover faster. Furthermore, massage can help break down the adhesions that can occur between the muscle and the muscle fascia (tissue that covers the muscle). This can help prevent injuries like muscle tears, which would really set you back in your training!
By helping to keep you loose and limber, massage therapy allows you to fit more hard workouts into your schedule, which will ultimately boost your performance in the race.
What kind of massage should you get?
Preferably, you should look for someone who specializes in sports massages. They will know what areas to focus on and what strokes to use to give you the most benefit. A Swedish massage can work well, too. Swedish massage is quite similar to sports massage, but with more of a whole-body approach. If you tell the massage therapist you are training for a marathon, they will know to focus more on your legs.
Don't miss out on the opportunity to include massage therapy in your training plan. You'll be able to recover faster, train harder, and run better