On April 23rd between 30,000 and 40,000 people lined up at the start of the London Marathon. Around 50% will have finished inside 4 hours. By the time they’ve completed their training and the 26 miles (and the extra few hundred yards) they will probably have gone through at least 4 pairs of trainers.
Throughout all the training some will have spent time on the treatment table getting regular massages and treatment. So what can massage do for the runner?
Sports massage has a number of physical benefits from improving the permeability of soft tissue to allow for faster delivery of nutrients and faster removal of waste products, to helping increase flexibility in muscles and other soft tissue structures that it turn can help you become a more efficient runner.
Sports massage also involves a number of techniques that help breakdown scar tissue that arises from muscle injury, improving the tone of muscles. Add to that improving circulation, relieving relief and relaxation, and you have a growing number of reasons why a massage is not just a luxury to be enjoyed once in a while but might actually be a benefit on a more regular basis.
What, when and how often
Everyone is different, but if you’ve been inspired by the marathon, actually running the marathon or just taking up jogging or running, then consider making a regular massage part of your training plan. If you’re just starting out, then a good massage can help identify areas where the muscles are tight or short, or maybe weak and not working as well as they could. If you’re deep into training, then massage can help keep you healthy, reducing the potential for injury.
A massage once a week might be too difficult to work into your diary but once a month or every six weeks can be a good pattern to adopt. A massage in the final week before the marathon is a good idea, and don’t forget to book an appointment for a post-event session too! After running 26 miles your muscles will need a bit of attention!
And if you’re not running the marathon? Well Sports Massage can be of great benefit to everyone whatever exercise you do, and even if you don’t!
Try it and see.
10 odd facts from the London Marathon
The London Marathon is the Guinness World Record's largest annual fundraising event in the world. The event itself holds a Guinness World Record for one-day charity fundraising, a record it has broken each year for the past nine years.
The millionth runner crossed the finish line in 2016.
The London Marathon is shown on television in nearly 200 countries around the world.
The fastest MP to date was Matthew Parris, who ran a crowd-pleasing 2:32:57 in 1985.
The speediest female celebrity was Nell McAndrew, clocking an impressive 2:54:39 in 2012.
The hottest marathon day was in 2007 when temperatures peaked at 21.7°C.
The coldest race day was a chilly 7.6°C in 1994.
The most common occupation for people running the marathon is teaching.
250 tubs of petroleum jelly, 200 bottles of baby oil, 2,000 plasters and 50,000 Lucozade Sport gels were available on the route last year.
At mile 10.5, the route passes within 300 yards of the Mayflower, the pub where the Pilgrim Fathers met for a quick pint before they sailed to America.
How much do you stretch before and after a run?
Go on, be honest now, how much stretching do you actually do? Many of us, even those committed to exercise, probably don’t stretch as much as we need to. It almost feels like time wasted when what we really want to do is getting out there and run or ride the bike or just get through our workout at the gym. We simply don’t have the time to stretch for 15 or 20 minutes before or after our exertions.
But the older we get the more we begin to understand that stretching is vital if we’re going to maintain flexibility and recovery from exercise.
So how do you make the most of your time spent stretching? Well, before exercise it’s best to warm up and do some dynamic stretches. After exercise, a few simple static stretches can help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness and help maintain flexibility.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. For example, a good dynamic warm up stretch that engages large groups of muscles in a single movement would be a lunge with upper body rotation and arm raises. That just about engages every major muscle in your body and doing 10 or 12 of these takes very little time.
After exercise, a few simple static stretches of the muscles that have been most used can help keep them healthy. Hamstrings and calf muscles can be stretched in one move by flexing at the waist, rotating the pelvis forward. You will probably feel a stretch going all the way up the backs of your legs if you perform this move properly.
So, make sure to add some simple stretching to your exercise or training programme. You will definitely feel the benefit.