Pounding the unforgiven pavement and other challenging terrains often burdens the legs, hips, feet and lower back muscles for endurance runners, requiring a measure of relief in order to keep the body fresh and limit the likelihood of injuries. Aside from rest, another way a runner can achieve respite is through sports massage. But how does it help?
A sports massage, which can be done before or after (or both), facilitates the warming up of muscles and reduces recovery time by increasing blood circulation and allowing lactic acid and other metabolic wastes to drain away. Plus, aides in the correction of muscle imbalance.
But one must remember that a specific type of massage is required, not just the regular, relaxing spa variety. It needs to be specific to the sport and its movements (running-legs), deep and curative to soft tissue, especially when it comes to the lower body muscles, and delivered by a licensed and trained professional sports massage therapist.
If you do encounter an injury, however, a sports massage practitioner will work on breaking down swelling, nasty scar tissues and adhesions in the surrounding muscles and fascia which limit mobility, prolonging your out-of-action time.
A sports massage therapist will likely work on all of a runner’s leg muscles, with the focus on the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Your sports massage practitioner will also add in manipulation of the gluteal region, hip flexors (psoas major and iliacus), IT (iliotibial) band, lower back (quadratus lumborum and erector spinae muscles), feet and ankles.
It is important to note that one treatment session may have a short-term benefit, but correcting long-term problems will take longer. Most sports massage therapists recommend weekly or bi-weekly massages during peak training periods.
For more serious competitors (half marathoners, marathoners and triathletes), in addition to regular sessions, sports massage practitioners suggest pre- and post-event treatments in order to help you perform at your best, and keep you in the game longer.
Written by Jerry Del Priore for bodono.
Jerry Del Priore has worked as a certified personal trainer, and received his degree in Physical Education from Brooklyn College in 1991. Jerry is also a veteran print and digital Sports Writer-Reporter-Author experienced in writing in-depth profile stories on a variety of high school, college and professional athletes and teams.
Additionally, Jerry has developed a presentation based on his book, Running Through Roadblocks, which encourages children to overcome obstacles and never give up…no matter what!
Specialties: Baseball, football, hockey and basketball writing. Jerry also has covered lacrosse, soccer, golf and track and field, with ample experience cover women’s sports. Jerry is also a Food Writer/Blogger experienced in venue write-ups and reviews.
In addition, Jerry has ample experience working with medically fragile children, children with behavioral challenges and children with cognitively impairments.