The Barnstaple Marathon: How Therapeutic Massage can benefit your Sports Training 

I wrote this article last year as I took up running with North Devon Road Runners, just before the Barnstaple Marathon and Half Marathon. At that time, a challenging run for me was any run at all. Now, a year on and I am looking forward to participating in the 2016 Barnstaple Half Marathon. The following continues to be essential for anyone involved in an active lifestyle.  
 
With some clients in training for the Barnstaple Marathon or Half Marathon at the end of September, other North Devon runners and sports people might be interested in knowing more about how therapeutic massage such as Raynor massage could be beneficial to your sports training regime, help improve your performance and aid your post-event recovery.  
 
As a runner or other sports enthusiast you will know that the repetitive actions of running or sport, particularly over a period of time such as during training for a race, can lead to muscle tightness. This is because running means your muscles (particularly those in the legs but also in the abdomen, hips, arms and shoulders) are continually contracting to power you on. You will probably notice an increase in your muscle definition as your training progresses, but you may also notice that your flexibility and joint mobility is reducing – this muscle tightness is due to the muscles shortening. If you are training for an endurance event – such as a marathon – you may be particularly susceptible to this, particularly if you are challenging yourself and are new to the distance or a new terrain. 
 
 
So what’s the harm in having greater muscle definition?  
To put it simply, tightness in your muscles can:- 
 
i. Prevent optimum delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your cells, and the removal of waste products from them. Cellular energy production needed to power your muscles is affected meaning muscle performance is impaired and the recovery and healing of the muscles after exercise is slower than it might be. 
 
ii. Cause strain to other parts of the body as they work harder or differently to compensate for the tight muscles 
 
iii. Lead to muscle strain and injury. 
How can a therapeutic Raynor Massage help with your sports training and recovery? 
 
A Raynor deep tissue therapeutic massage can have many benefits which will help increase your performance and recovery throughout the life-cycle of your sport. The massage can help your circulatory system more effectively deliver oxygen and nutrients to your cells and remove waste products to improve muscle performance, and the ability for the muscle tissues to heal and recover themselves. This could have additional benefits such as leaving your muscles feeling less tender and you feeling less tired! Because the Raynor massage helps reduce the muscle tightness and increase its elasticity, your flexibility and joint mobility may improve which will also help prevent injury. 
How often should I have massage during my sports training? 
 
Because the strain on your body from regular training, training in a new sports discipline or for the first time, is not confined just to the area you think you are working hardest (e.g. the legs in the case of a runner), a series of full body therapeutic massages can be beneficial during your training. You and your therapist can discuss what frequency of treatment is best for you and which areas to concentrate on most during these. As a general rule, for marathon training over a protracted period, massage at least fortnightly would be beneficial. The longer you leave it between treatments, the more there is to be undone by your therapist the next time you see them. Your last massage should be approximately 3-5 days before your race, in your rest period, to give your body sufficient time to recover from the deep tissue work before the race. Similarly, for a couple of days after the race, your muscles are likely to be too sore to work deeply on, but a therapeutic massage 3-5 days after the event can help loosen and relax the muscles again and be a very necessary and well deserved treat for all your hard work! 
 
Good luck to everyone in north Devon currently training for running or other sporting events. Make regular massage part of your training regime. 
For more information or for appointments, please contact Lindsay at NuBody Massage Devon on 07787 251118 
 
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