Is Running Killing You? Four Types of Massage for Runners

massage for runners

Why do Runners Suffer So Many Muscle Injuries?

Massage for runners is useful to reduce and treat muscle injuries but it is just one of the ways runners try to combat this common problem.

Many runners suffer from recurring muscle injuries especially. There are a number of theories why this is the case but as yet there is no difinitive answer.  Massage to treat running injuries is becoming more and more popular as the results speak for themselves.

Massage to treat running injuries is becoming more popular as the results speak for themselves as it can be very effective.

Amongst other theories there has been evidence to show that the modern running shoe may be to blame. Researchers have been looking into this, though the theory is hotly debated. This idea may in part be due to the release of the book Born to Run in 2009.

As injuries sustained whilst running is so common it is therefore it is up to the individual runner to make sure they use every avenue to avoid injury.

Whatever the reason for so many injuries there needs to be some thought to not only prevention but cure. Rather than relying on anti-inflammatory medication and ice packs.

How to reduce running injury?

Holistic Health of the body and How This Helps You Run

If your overall strength and health is balanced you are less likely to suffer an injury.

How to improve your posture whilst running: 6 elements.

  1. Good posture
  2. Move your arms effectively
  3. Landing
  4. HIPS: lead with your hips and use them to drive you forward with the knees not with your feet.
  5. Do not over-stride as this can reduce the impact on your joints.
  6. Use your butt. Think about how the muscles in the gluteus maximus carry you forward.

What sort of running shoes should you wear?

Despite the controversy surrounding the effectiveness of running shoes it is important to have good supportive runners. You may need to go to a specialist fitter in a sports store to get the best advice for your particular needs, body shape and style of running.

How to tell if you have the right type of running shoe?

There isn’t a hard and fast rule to this. If you have pain or strain after running in a pair of shoes you may have the wrong shoes for you? In the end, it is up to you and how you feel in a particular pair of shoes. Try out a few different types and if possible rotate the shoes you do wear.

Are minimal shoes the answer to preventing injury?

There has been a lot of evidence recently to suggest that switching to a minimal shoe can reduce injury. However, this may depend largely on the build of the runner and how they run. Smaller runners with lean bodies and mid-foot or forefoot running are less likely to sustain injury than a larger heel striking runner.

If you opt for one of these types of shoes you should walk in them first for a week or so to ‘break them in’. Start a gentle regime before increasing the intensity of the run.

Does Orthotics work to reduce injury to runners?

Unfortunately, there has not been any extensive research into how effective shoe inserts are. However, the insert can be useful for runners with flat feet or flat arches. You can buy over the counter orthotics or have a custom made set.

What else can you do to prevent injury?

Many runners find major benefits from regular massage. There are obviously many different types of massage you could opt for. You don’t have to go for a specific ‘sports massage’ from a specialist physio. You can get many benefits from other more universal types of massage.

Massage for Runners: Four Types You Should Consider.

Swedish Massage

This is one of the better-known types of massage and is usually associated with relaxation. However, this method can be very beneficial for many runners.

When you have a Swedish massage the traditional long strokes and changes in pressure increase blood flow to tired muscles. This helps to relieve tension in the muscle. This obviously helps to reduce the chance of injury.

This massage is extremely effective to have before a competition or longer run than usual. It is also very good to have after a long or hard run or workout. The movements used help to relieve tension before the run but also to relax the muscles after a run. It is an all round massage and very useful.

Trigger Point

This type of massage targets knots in muscles and parts of the body where you have ‘referred pain’. The physio targets knots in the muscles and uses deep pressure to loosen adhesions in the muscles. This is useful to treat injury in the calf and hamstring areas.

Deep Tissue Massage

This type of massage is often quite intense and targets deep and superficial layers of the muscle. It works on the whole muscle and focuses on a specific area that is causing problems. Runners often suffer from ‘tight spots’ in certain muscles and deep tissue massage targets these areas effectively. Though deep tissue massage can be quite painful due to the intensity.


This stands for Active Release Technique and combines deep pressure and movement to help relieve adhesions in the muscles and lessen the chances of the buildup of scar tissue in the muscle.

It is good for treating a specific injury where scar tissue has hindered the bodies ability to heal. This is used most often for injury to hamstrings and plantar fasciitis.

How Often Should You Have a Massage?

This depends on your preference, your budget, your training and your access to a physio or massage chair. Ideally, you should have regular massages weekly to help prevent chronic injury in the future.

If you can’t have a massage weekly then try to have at least one when you are training hard once a week.

Timing of you Massage.

It is advisable to have a massage on the evening after a hard or long run or workout or on the morning after. If you are going to have a deep massage using one of the techniques such as ART your muscles can often be quite sore for a number of days so allow your muscles time to recover.

Don’t have a deep tissue massage too close to a competition run. Have it 3-5 days before to give your muscles chance to rejuvenate but also so they are at optimum health to complete the race injury free.

Don’t have a deep tissue massage too close to a competition run. Have it 3-5 days before to give your muscles chance to rejuvenate but also so they are at optimum health to complete the race injury free.

If you have a deep tissue massage you should drink plenty of water as the massage may have released toxins from the tight muscles which can make you feel ill.

If you havent tried a massage yet, maybe you should give it a go!

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