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Benefits of Massages for Runners

Benefits of Massages for Runners

Since college, I’ve gotten massages with the sole purpose to help my running and stay as injury free as possible. Many people have wondered why, when there is a plethora of sticks, foam rollers, and other gadgets you can use.  Thinking out loud, no matter how many foam rollers I use, including the R8, they don’t get as deep as a professional.

Benefits of Massages for Runners

What Kind of Massages are Best for Runners?

Deep Tissue:

This is my personal favorite type.  It’s what most people think when they think “massage”.  A deep tissue massage that works the entire body or can focus on specific tight spots.  Due to how I run, I get very tight calves frequently.  In turn, this pulls down on my plantar fascia.  When I feel a bout of plantar fascitis beginning, I get a deep tissue massage on my calves.  This usually takes care of it.

Personally, I try to get a deep tissue massage once a month.  While pricey (usually between $60-100, depending on where you live), I’ve found it has saved me a lot of muscular injuries.

Active Release Technique (ART):

ART is relatively new to me and I began getting ART from Dr. Kemenosh and his associates after my second marathon.  ART is designed to break up scar tissue from an injury or issue and improve mobility.

ART  is better for if  you have a specific injury  that has resulted in scar tissue.  For me, I became more familiar with it, was when I pulled something in my butt during my second marathon.  Since there are so many layers of fascia in your glutes, ART was better to break it up.  Dr. Kemonosh has fixed many different issues I’ve had from tight calves, to IT band issues, to the orginal butt issue.    As I’m recovering from my fall and tailbone injury, they are helping to speed the process up.

At Home Foam Rollers:

There are a lot of new and fancy foam rollers on the market now.  From the heavy duty R8 to the basic massage stick.  Self-massage will offer many of the same benefits, however, if you are like me you’ll never be able to go as deep into the knots as a professional.  They are great proactive tools.

When Should You Get a Massage?

I made the mistake early on, to get a massage within 48 hours of a race.  I felt stiff and my legs had definetely not recovered.  For me, it usually takes a full 48-72 hours to recover from a deep tissue massage.  I don’t plan any hard workouts, races, or fast runs until then.  If I have a race that weekend, I’ll try and schedule a massage either Tuesday or Wednesday.

I usually like to wait a day or two after a race because my legs are sore and tender as well.  After my last

Think of massage as a workout where deep pressure can cause some muscle soreness. You don’t want to layer too many sources of muscle soreness so it’s best to wait 1-2 days after a hard workout or race to get your massage.

Questions for you: 

Do you get massages?

What kind of proactive things do you do for running?

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Deep Tissue Massages

Blog Challenge 4: Reasons Why I Always Make Time for Deep Tissue Massages

Should you get a deep tissue massage

It’s not a thought provoking or “change your life” post, but deep tissue massages are something I make time in my schedule as well as the budget for each month. Deep Tissue Massages keep my muscles healthier and my body recovering from workouts, races and training faster.

I’ve been injured several times in my running career. Most of my injuries are bone related but like any runner I’ve suffered from sore or tight muscles.

So why get deep tissue massages?

The scientific answer: A Massage works to lengthen muscles and restore the range of motion, relieve muscle tightness as well as improve circulation.

First, anyone can foam roll and improve circulation, but if you are like me, then you never get deep enough into your muscles.  Deep tissue massages are done by a professional who knows how to find trigger points, adhesions or tight muscles that are specific to you.

Deep tissue massages will leave you sore at first. They break down scar tissue and muscle adhesions and then flush them out of your system. Personally, when I receive a deep tissue massage, I am sorer for 48 hours and then feel significantly better.

It’s important to tell the masseuse what is sore and what gets the most sore.  Every person and runner is different and a massage is tailored to your needs.  You will get the most benefit by being vocal of what you need.

When should you get a deep tissue massage? 

The timing of a deep tissue massage is necessary. Similar to a workout, it’s important not to get a massage right before a goal race. My personal rule is 3-5 days before.  It allows your muscles to recover.

Your message will also not be as beneficial if you get it the same day after a race. The masseuse will not be able to go as deep into your muscles because they are already swollen. My rule of thumb is waiting 1-2 days afterwards.

I am just speaking from personal experience with deep tissue massages. I’ve found they keep the majority of my muscles injury free and keep my running well too.

For anyone in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area, Dr. Kemenosh has just added deep tissue massages back into the list of methods they utilize over there.  (Dr. Kemenosh and his team fixed my glute, hamstring and butt issue injury after my marathon).   I can’t say enough positive things about their team!

Here are more articles I found interesting as well:
When Should Runners Get a Deep Tissue Massage?
The Pros and Cons of Massages for Runners

Questions for you:
Have you ever gotten a deep tissue or any massage?

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