Runners are often obsessed with running longer, harder and faster yet not all of them are aware of how to enhance their performance through massage. Massage therapy can go a long way in providing runners with the muscle treatments they need to reach peak performance as well as to avoid injury. Knowing a few do’s and don’ts you can share with runners can help them avoid serious injury.
Massage Therapy for Runners
Massage therapy assists runners in maintaining healthy muscles that are exposed to constant and repetitive muscle contractions while running. Without regular massage a runner can experience a number of issues due to a decrease in circulation. Massage can allow runners to avoid a shortening of the muscles as well as decreasing circulation from the pressure which can cause compression. Because massage works on the muscles and joints it will elongate muscles and help restore and maintain range of motion. Better circulation will also allow the body to effectively transfer oxygen and deliver nutrients to the muscles and joints. Better circulation means better delivery of oxygen enriched blood as well as much needed electrolytes for muscle tissue. It will also remove metabolic by-products and waste.
Running Do’s and Don’ts
Here are some do’s and don’ts to share with your runners:
- Do Buy Proper Shoes: If you have a runner who is constantly complaining of pain you should ask them about their shoes. Many people decide to take up running and opt to buy a pair of running shoes for all the wrong reasons. Even the most expensive brand of running shoes can cause issues for a runner if they are not the proper fit. Let your patients know that if they did not buy their shoes at a repeatable shoe store with the assistance of a specialist they should consider doing so. Every runner has a different gait, foot shape and balance and without addressing these issues they could be wearing shoes that are causing them pain.
- Don’t Increase Kilometres Improperly: Another common mistake for runners is to decide to run farther and farther distances but without using the right approach. If your patient is suffering from new pain ask them if they have increased their distance. If so let them know they should really only be increasing their distance by no more than 10 to 20 percent at a time. Runners should increase their distance for two or three weeks and then to give their body a break and decrease for a week.
- Do Avoid Pain: There is a saying “no pain no gain” for workouts but this does not apply to running. If a runner has to change their gait while running, are limping or are feeling pain they should stop as the longer they run and the more they change their gait to compensate for pain the worse the injury they can sustain.
- Do Use Massage: Using massage therapy as a way to avoid pain means working it into their running schedule. Ask them when and how they are increasing their distance and recommend they see you no more than three days following their longest runs each week.
Runners will benefit when using massage therapy as a preventative measure as well as a complementary treatment when recovering from an injury.