Massage has been around forever. Even the Greeks used some type of massage. Runners have known about its practicality and benefits for decades, but, until the past years, it seemed sports massage was only available for the elite athletes.
Fortunately, sports massage has become so common today that nearly every road race has massage tables set up afterward for the therapists to work on tired runners’ bodies. But massage is even more valuable for marathoners before the big event to keep the runner healthy and revitalized for the next workout or race. That’s the key.
As Austin’s marathoners point toward the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon on February 14th, there is no better time for a massage than right now. If nothing else, it will be a reward for all the long, hard miles you’ve put in getting ready for Austin. More importantly, a good massage will fine tune your muscles (and mind) for the challenge the marathon will present.
There are numerous types of massage therapy, but generally massage is the manual manipulation by a trained therapist of the various muscle groups and surrounding soft tissues. Massage can have all sorts of benefits for the marathoner, but most importantly it helps to increase the blood supply to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body which promotes healing. This also helps a runner recover from a particularly hard race or workout and allows the athlete total relaxation.
A massage can reduce swelling of an injured muscle and promote healing by flushing from the body waste products that have been produced by an injury, race or workout. By increasing the circulation in the injured area, the muscles are able to relax more effectively which then increases the range of motion and flexibility. The net effect of a good massage is a quicker return from fatigue, muscle soreness or injury to a normal state where the runner can perform better.
During a buildup period for a marathon, there is so much wear and tear on the runner’s body that a weekly sports massage is practically a must. Regardless of the level of ability, any runner will benefit from regular sports massage in the days and weeks leading up to the marathon.
And, it just plain feels good. There has never been a runner who didn’t appreciate and benefit from sports massage.
You don’t have to do much—if anything—once you have found a good massage therapist. You just plop yourself on the table (clothed or unclothed; it’s your choice) and allow the therapist to work.
It is a good idea to share your running and medical history with the therapist. Also share with the therapist your running goals, when the marathon is and any medical conditions that may be present. Good communication is key to working together.
Finding the right sports massage therapist isn’t difficult in Austin. Massage has become so popular that there are dozens of sports massage facilities in Austin that work with runners and triathletes understand the aerobic athlete’s body and psyche.
Ask around for recommendations. Consult with your running friends and coaches. I can guarantee someone knows a trusted massage therapist in Austin who they can recommend.
How often you go is an individual matter (not to mention economic), but once every couple of weeks is certainly beneficial. Once a week is better. A good time to schedule a sports massage is within a day or two of your long run or an exceptionally hard race or workout when your muscles are sore and screaming for treatment. You’d be amazed at the results a good sports massage therapist can get.
But sports massage is not inexpensive. Rates vary, but expect to pay between $60 and $100 per hour for sports massage in Austin.
You’re worth it.