You can't drive 2 minutes down the road these day without seeing a plethora of people out jogging. Especially now with these great long evenings. We are far more health conscience these days and it's great, long may it last. But we are still in the dark somewhat when it comes to maintaining out health and preventing possible injury.
There is plenty of confusion out there when it comes to the best types of treatment/massage for runners. Questions I regularly get asked include ‘when is the best time for massage?’ ‘Is deep tissue massage best?’ ‘How frequent should I get a massage?’. There are many more and over the course of this post I will highlight what has worked best for my clients and all my recommendations.
Let’s start with listing the 2 different types of massage that runners usually look for. At PPT Clinic we specialise in these along with other various forms of massage.
- Sports massage
- Deep tissue massage
These different forms of treatment all have their place and I honestly think that most clients have no preference because they are not aware of the differences. All a runner is interested in that they stay injury free and are fully prepared for their main event.
Runners are most familiar with deep tissue massage and sports massage. The main differences between these two modalities is that a sports massage targets the entire body, normally front to back and upper and lower body with quicker hand movements by the therapist, wringing tightness and adhesions from muscles and less pressure so as the recovery period is not so long. A sports massage can be performed for up to a few hours prior to a race. Its literally acts as flush to the whole system that freshens up the area that been worked on.
A deep massage is exactly as the name suggests and should not be performed on the day or even the day before a race. Deep tissue massage is normally applied for the duration of someone’s training, reducing the effects of muscle soreness and increasing recovery times so they can continue to train harder and stay injury free. It is important to choose a therapist who has plenty of experience dealing with sports teams, maintains an interest in sports themselves and knows your body very well so they can focus on your stubborn areas and adhesions. By constantly swapping therapists or looking for the cheapest option you are not getting the prolonged benefits of seeing a therapist who frequently treats you and gets to know your needs.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the right massage for runners. It’s a big market out there – everyone has their favourite type of massage and what works best for them. The important thing to remember is that everyone needs to manage their training plans and regular treatment should be a part of that plan. In my opinion ‘Weekend warriors’ should receive some form of treatment every four to six weeks and the more competitive athlete should be looking at more regular sessions, maybe every three to four weeks on top of their own self treatments and maintenance e.g. foam rolling and trigger point work. It's an important part of training and regularly undervalued.
Running is a very repetitive movement that can put stress and pressure on the bodies joints. So to avoid injury, regular maintenance work is vital for staying injury free as it allows any inflammation to reduce, eliminates any pain/soreness and restores normal range of motion. This results in you recovering faster and being able to get back out and train and push yourself to reach your targets and goals.
I hope this helps answer any questions you may have had regarding what type of treatments work best for staying injury free so you can continue to enjoy the many benefits exercise and running has on your immediate and long term health.