The best massage techniques for distance runners

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Distance running is truly a sport like no other. If you’re the sort of individual who wakes up before the sun is out to lace up your trainers and run an obscene amount of miles, then you understand the level of commitment and dedication necessary to perform well as one of these athletes. Nonetheless, the sport is not without its detriments, and one of them is a heightened likelihood of sustaining muscle injury and pain. While each specific ailment or injury will warrant its own treatment regimen, massage can be a great option for runners looking to strengthen their bodies while also reducing complications from injury. Take a look at these tips and techniques regarding massage for runners.

Active release technique

According to Competitor, active release technique is a type of massage that can be extremely beneficial for individuals with injuries related to distance running. This method blends deep pressure from a masseuse with movement on the part of the athlete. It can be used well as a diagnostic technique, as pairing massage with movement allows the masseuse to determine where scar tissue may have built up within an athlete’s leg. This sort of massage will likely require the help of a professional masseuse, but can be beneficial in that it can allow athletes to gain recommendations for their own personal massage regimen. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist to determine whether active release technique is right for you.

Pressing technique

For runners dealing with pain in either their lower or upper leg muscles, Runner’s World has recommended the pressing technique. One of the simpler massage techniques available to runners, this method can be performed either with one’s hands or via use of a personal massage tool. Effectively, this method involves working from the base of your legs or feet and moving your way up your legs applying light pressure as you go. Typically, as you move up your legs, you’ll want to apply increasingly intense pressure as you reach thicker muscles, such as the quadriceps or hamstrings. Of course, it’s important here to note that pressure should never be applied to the point of pain. You should speak with a masseuse, doctor or physical therapist if you have concerns about your body’s readiness for pressing massage.

Heat and cold massage

While this may not be its own technique, most forms of massage can be well accented by the addition of either heat or cold. Both cold and hot compresses can be used to relax the muscles in the leg or to cause contraction and release of individual muscle groups. Over time, you may find that this is a great way to increase flexibility and decrease pain or swelling in the muscles of distance runners. Particularly when dealing with cold implements, such as ice packs, ensure you aren’t using the pack long enough to cause damage to the tissue of your leg through freezing.

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