Marathon Runners Self Massage

Massage after a long run or a hard run to prevent excess soreness.

After every run, whether it's an easy run, a recovery run, a interval run, a long run, or any other run we should always spend time cooling down and then do a thorough stretching session. Cool-down and stretching form the basis in injury prevention and recovery. But there are long runs and hard speed-training workouts which leave deeper scars on the muscle tissue and tendons than other runs and thus require more attention and care. One method of caring for tired and exhausted muscles is to give yourself a massage. Massaging your own muscles helps soften muscle tension. Self massage also helps reduce the effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Basically self massage flushes out excess waste and build-up lactate concentrations from the muscles. Also, self massage helps to improve blood circulation which in turn will deliver more oxygen for a speedy recovery and repair of damaged muscle tissue.

Physical Benefits of Self Massage

  • Pumping of the muscles - With the stroking motion of massage fluids are sucked through blood and lymph vessels. A vacuum is created by increasing the pressure in front of the stroke. When you have tight or damaged muscles a stroking massage is especially useful because tight muscles squeeze out blood from the tissues so that vital nutrients and energy can't be delivered for muscle repair.
  • Increased tissue permeability - Deep massage forces the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling blood and nutrients to pass through. This assists eliminating waste products like lactic acid and boosts the take up of oxygen and nutrients by the muscles which aids in a quicker recovery.
  • Stretching - Massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched by regular methods. Bundles of muscle fibres are stretched sideways as well as lengthwise. Massage can also stretch the sheath or fascia that surrounds the muscle, stretching the sheath releases any tension or pressure build up.
  • Break down scar tissue - Scar tissue is the result of earlier injuries or trauma and can influence muscle, tendons and ligaments. This can lead to stiff tissues that are prone to injury and pain.
  • Improve tissue elasticity - Hard training can make tissues hard and inflexible. This is one reason why hard training may not always result in improvements. Self massage helps reverse this by returning flexibility to the tissues.
  • Opens micro-circulation - Self massage does boost blood flow to tissues, but so does exercise. What self massage also does is open or dilate the blood vessels and by stretching them this allows nutrients to pass through more easily.

Physiological Benefits of Self Massage

  • Reducing pain - Waste products and muscle tension can be a cause of pain. By massaging those sore spots the pain might be reduced in various ways including the release of the body's endorphins.
  • Relaxation - Muscles are able to relax through heat generated, stretching and circulation. Our body's Mechanoreceptors which are sensors that sense touch, tissue length, pressure, and warmth are stimulated and cause a reflex relaxation.

Psychological Benefits of Self Massage

  • Anxiety reduction - Through the previously above mentioned effects relaxation is induced and therefor reducing anxiety levels.
  • Invigorating - When massage is done with brisk movements which would be done before a running event then this can bring about an invigorating feeling.


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