When it's more than just a Marathon
In April last year I was privileged to work as part of the London Marathon Massage team, treating a number of runners who crossed the line on what was a fantastic day.
Supporting Prostate Cancer UK, I worked alongside my colleagues from the London School of Sports Massage, to greet finishers with a short post-event sports massage. This type of massage is applied as soon as possible after the event and focuses on recovery of the soft tissues. Long flowing techniques are used to flush blood through the micro-circulation. Speeding up the circulation helps remove lactic acid from the muscles and increase the rate of recovery. This combined with some mild passive stretching and rehydration can be extremely beneficial to the body following such a strenuous event.
During the course of the day we massaged many people with a range of abilities, from fun runners to the more competitive athletes, suffering with an array of cramps, dehydration and other acute injuries and in the majority of cases a simple rub down, good rehydration and stretching was all that was needed to get them back on their feet. Nobody should under estimate the amount of strain such an event can have on the body or the importance of post-event stretching and massage to improve the rate of recovery.
For those of you planning your marathon training this year, I would recommend considering regular maintenance massages throughout your training to prevent the build up of adhesions as a result of muscle fibre damage, unavoidable during training. This will help break down any areas of adverse tension within the muscles that may impact performance and will speed up recovery between training sessions.
In the days after your Marathon you will need time to recover and should not feel disillusioned if you do not feel your best. Listen to your body, you have run 26 miles on top of months of training miles, what an achievement! If you happen to pick up any injuries along the way follow the RICE principles as soon as possible (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and if no improvement after 48 hours seek medical advice. My colleagues and I treated many people suffering similar complaints on that day, but they all shared the same sense of achievement which I am sure will last a lifetime.
For anybody preparing for this years London Marathon, I recommend regular maintenance massages throughout your training plan to sustain muscle flexibility and prevent build up of tension. This, supported by a pre and or post-Marathon massages can help you prepare for the event and aid recovery of the body in the days following. I have put together a tailored Marathon package to support you throughout your training, details can be found here: Marathon Sports Massage Pack.
Thanks to the London School of Sports Massage and Prostate Cancer UK for allowing me to be part of such a fantastic event!