A Runner’s Guide to Sports Massage
Sep 30, 2012
If you’re preparing for the Chicago Marathon or another upcoming race, you probably have some questions about sports massage, and what types of massage deliver optimal results before, during and after the event. At Elements in Park Ridge, we have a number of licensed massage therapists who specialize in sports massage and are passionate about helping their clients throughout the stages of training and post-race recovery. Here’s what they recommend:
Before the event, the goal is to invigorate the athlete while physically and mentally preparing them for their upcoming race. The therapist avoids any deep tissue work, but rather focuses on waking up the muscles and includes some light stretching. After stretching, your therapist reactivates your muscles to prepare them for the work ahead.
During the Event
During the marathon or other events, there are often massage therapists available to assist with cramp relief or other muscle stressors. Before the race, find out where therapists are available, if needed.
Immediately following the event, there may be massage therapists on site to assist you with cramp relief and stretching. At the Chicago Marathon, there are several massage therapy school tents with licensed massage therapists and trained students available to help re-establish balance after the race.
For longer races such as the marathon, many runners take the following day off from work to relax. That’s the perfect time to book a massage, so your therapist can address any issues you’re experiencing. While deep work is still not recommended following an event, the therapist will use a firm and steady pressure to relax the muscles. They will also assist with stretching as needed.
Also, our therapists recommend keeping Hydrated, stretching and using a foam roller if you can tolerate it. Regardless if you use a foam roller, massage therapy is vital for a successful recovery and prevention of injury. R.I.C.E. is a common term utilized by runners, physicians, and massage therapists. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are also keys to a successful “mission.” We recommend beginning this process three to four days before a race and continuing this process after as well.
If you’re running the marathon, book your appointment today to ensure you get a great, well-deserved massage from one of our specially trained therapists.
For more information about upcoming local races, be sure to visit:
Chicago Marathon (Sunday, October 7th)
Hot Chocolate 15/5k Run (Sunday, November 4th)
Edison Park Turkey Trot (Thursday, November 22nd)
A special thanks to Christine Kosmeja, LMT and Maureen Fitzgerald, LMT for contributing to this article. (Creative Commons image credit: Ed Gaillard)