Self massage for runners
The basic benefits of self massage are similar to massage carried out by a therapist, though the results will not be so pronounced:
Tips for self massage
- Promotes recovery from hard training
- Helps identify and prevent potential injuries
- If used regularly, will help you enhance your performance with less risk of injury
- Make sure the muscles you are treating are in a relaxed and shortened position.
- Do not work directly on fresh acute injuries (use R.I.C.E. - Rest, Ice, Elevation & Compression).
- Long strokes working away from the injury site will help reduce swelling.
- Apply gentle friction movements into areas that feel more tense, this may cause some mild pain but it should not be excessive, and should not be done for more than a minute at a time.
- Using a little lubricant (oil, lotion or talc) squeeze the muscle and stroke up the leg or arm (always apply pressure strokes up towards the heart).
- The buttocks and lower back can be treated by lying face down on the floor and using the back of the fist to press and rotate into the muscles.
- A shoulder can be treated with the hand from the opposite side, using a firm squeezing and rotating action.
- It is always good to stretch the muscles after you have treated them.
- If a painful condition fails to improve or keeps returning you should seek professional help.
Mel Cash has been a massage therapist since 1985 and, through his internationally-renowned books, has become one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject. He established the London School of Sports Massage in 1989 where he is principal tutor. His clinical experience goes unrivalled, having worked with the Royal Ballet in London, the Tokyo Ballet in Japan and other world-class athletes.
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