Before or after a race, or no race at all, everybody loves a good massage. Aside from that, there are many benefits to getting a post-race massage. After chasing pavement for 26.2 miles or even 13.1 miles, it’s inevitable that the body will break down, and post-race massages helps with the recovery process, getting you back into those running shoes sooner than later.
WHY POST-RACE MASSAGE?
- Inflammation and swelling are both common after a race or any intense physical exercise. A massage can assist with blood circulation and help flush out the lactic acid and other metabolic waste.
- A massage will help with the soreness and decrease the amount of pain and stiffness felt most strongly within 24-78 hours after exercise, known as “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness” (DOMS).
- After intense activity, the body will begin to heal itself from micro-trauma made to muscle tissues. Massage therapy can help your body and scar tissue heal in a natural way.
Yoga Mats, Foam Rollers & Assisted Stretching
While waiting for your turn on the massage table, a lot of you utilized the yoga mats to stretch out and roll out with the foam rollers we provided. A few of you were able to get hands on stretching assistance from Awan, himself. Assisted stretching is a fast and effective way to increase muscle flexibility, before and after a run. It combines passive stretching and isometric stretching to achieve maximum static flexibility to relieve tight muscles after a race and to help prevent injuries before a long run. Assisted stretching is not only great for the hamstrings and quadriceps, but also the lower back, calves, plantar fascia and hip flexors, which are all interconnected and impact any movement practice.
Because we don’t always have access to a massage therapist before or after long runs, foam rollers come in second. A foam roller can be a valuable part of a healthy runner’s warm-up and cool-down routine. It, too, helps improve circulation, while breaking down knots and releasing muscle tightness that can limit range of motion. Though it requires a little more work, it can be almost as effective if done thoroughly and properly.
After running for hours at a time, sometimes the last thing you want to do is work out more. This is why massage therapy is ideal for post-marathon recovery. With the help of a massage therapist, you can smoothly transition into the next training program for your next race.
BEFORE YOUR NEXT RACE…
Here are few pre-race tips that can help prepare for your next half- or full-marathon:
The key to a successful race is injury prevention. Injuries can create inconvenient setbacks. Most injuries are caused by over using certain muscles. You want your muscles to be pliable and joints warmed up before any exercise so that they are able to move through their proper range of motion and maintain optimum shape. Massage, foam rolling and stretching regularly are all preventable measures that could be taken.
Treat long runs like a race and treat yourself to a massage. Remember that “long runs” are arbitrary. For new runners, a 10-mile or more run may be considered a long run, while seasoned runners would consider 18-miles or more a long run. It’s important to follow a training program that suits your pace.And of course, we will leave you with the obvious: hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE. Replenish.
NUTRITION FOR RUNNERS
We could write an entire book on nutrition for runners. Instead here are a few points to be mindful of for your next running adventure:
- Carbohydrate, fluid, and electrolyte balance is vital to a successful run and survival. Since running (and exercise in general) produces free radicals from the extra intake of oxygen, runners should pay attention to their antioxidant intake. While the body’s cells are equipped with enzymes that protect against free radical, they do only part of the job. Antioxidants from food help provide the rest of the natural defense. Runners should consume at least eight daily servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Runners in training need plenty of minerals (eg, zinc, iron, manganese, copper) in addition to vitamins C and E to increase antioxidant defense. Runners can achieve a proper intake of these nutrients by eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, carrots, whole grains, meats, seafood, and fortified breakfast cereals.
- As runners’ training mileage increases, so do their calorie needs, especially calories from carbohydrates. Runners need between 7 and 10 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight during training and closer to the upper end of this range before long runs. Long-distance runners require high amounts of carbohydrates to saturate the muscles with glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrate that fuels endurance exercise.
- Runners should consume calories and fluids immediately following the training run or event in the form of a 100- to 400-kcal snack (eg, sports drink, chocolate milk, orange juice). Eating a high-carbohydrate snack with a modest amount of protein in the immediate post-exercise period has been shown to quickly stimulate the replacement of glycogen that was used up during the exercise bout. This aids recovery and will allow the runner to start stocking up on stored carbohydrate for the next run.