The Importance Of Massage For Runners
You’ve got your race number and your gear – but as you prepare for the San Francisco Marathon, remember to add massage to your race preparation kit. Here are a few reasons why.
Massage prevents injury
When you run, your tendons, ligaments and connective tissue are being stretched – literally – to their limits. Massage expands those limits by breaking up knots and tightness, thus widening your range of motion. Increased flexibility will improve your running form, and you’ll be less likely to sprain or strain something important during the San Francisco races.
Maybe you’ve already hurt yourself? Massage to the rescue. Massage has been proven to boost the immune system and speed up lymph flow (that’s the liquid containing your muscle-repairing white blood cells). That means massage will help you heal up and recover faster from your assorted aches and pains.
Massage reduces muscle soreness
This is a big one for runners. When you’re racing up to 26.2 miles, your muscles work hard. That’s where massage comes in – it’s the scientifically-proven way to reduce post-run muscle soreness. Massage, according to the New York Times, suppresses inflammation (which causes muscle pain) and increases blood circulation and the formation of new blood vessels (which builds muscles and reduces muscle fatigue). For best results, get the massage within 24 hours after a long run.
Massage keeps you in the zone
Massage doesn’t just heal the body, it soothes the mind. Massage squashes the release of cortisol (aka the stress hormone), while pumping up the release of endorphins, which improve mood and reduce the sensation of pain. A less-stressed brain is better at sending signals to the muscles and vice versa (called biofeedback). This means that you’ll feel better mentally and, through the mind-body connection, perform better physically.
Make the most of your massage
For best results, work with a licensed massage therapist with experience in sports massage. Many sports massage therapists are runners and athletes themselves.
Communication is key too. Tell your therapist about your exercise routine, race history, and any particular pains, injuries, or conditions you have.
While massage is restorative at any time, timing can maximize its benefits for your body. A regular schedule while training is best – whether that’s once a month or once a week. You should also plan on getting a massage three or four days before the marathon. After the race, a light massage within 24 hours is great for reducing soreness.
Good luck and race well, everyone!
Zeel delivers Massage On Demand® – top-quality massages from licensed, vetted massage therapists to homes, hotels, workplaces, and events in as little as an hour, or up to a month in advance. With Zeel, enjoy a massage in the comfort, convenience, safety, and privacy of the place and time of your choosing, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with start times as early as 8 am and as late as 10:30 pm. Booking, scheduling, and payment is simple with the Zeel app for iPhone and Android or zeel.com.