Running a marathon? Is sports massage a luxury or a necessity?

For most of us, running a marathon is a massive challenge and commitment. So the last thing you want is an injury that could force you to pull out before the big day.

Effective stretching – and if required Physiotherapy – can help you through to the finish line. Buy many runners are unaware of the physical and psychological benefits of sports massage when preparing for a marathon – maybe considering it a luxury.

Here we explain why regular sports massage should be a necessary part of your training plan.

Physical benefits:

    • Improves tissue permeability: this allows nutrients and oxygen to reach the cells quickly. Waste products such as lactic acid can be efficiently removed.
    • Improved flexibility: massage stretches the muscles and their surrounding soft tissues in all directions improving their flexibility.

Man Helping Female Athlete

  • Scar tissue breakdown: any injury heals with scar tissue, but if left alone the collagen fibres are laid down haphazardly. Massage helps to breakdown old scar tissue and positively influence the healing of any new injury.
  • Circulation: massage improves blood flow to the muscles which helps to keep them well oxygenated and in good condition.
  • Pain relief: the presence of waste products and tension within a muscle can be painful. Massage also releases the body’s natural endorphins producing pain care
  • Relaxation: by increasing the circulation, warming the muscles and soothing the nerve endings, massage can be a lovely relaxing experience.

Psychological benefits:

  • Reduces anxiety: soothing nature of massage and the release of chemicals and hormones that induce relaxation can relieve levels of stress.
  • Invigoration: brisk massage strokes performed just prior to an event can invigorate your body and make you feel energised for the work ahead!

What our sports massage experts recommend

Rachel and Ruth are two exceptional sports massage therapists on our team.

Both treat marathon runners on a regular basis.


Our therapists have worked as masseuses for marathon events and say they can tell if someone has been having regular massage during their training by the feel of the muscles they are massaging.

Sports massage during your training

During your marathon training they would recommend starting with a sports massage at least every other week for the first 4-6 weeks of training, then increasing to once per week during the peak of training.

H Your therapist will be able to identify where you are tight and can advise you how to stretch safely.  As well as keeping your body in good shape, massage can help in the mental preparation for the big day.
It will make you more aware of any niggles and tightness that may be starting to accumulate as your distance is increased and identify potential sites of injury.

Sports massage in the final week

It’s very helpful to get a massage during the final week before the marathon. This is the time to keep stretching, get as much rest as possible and eat well. But it can be a frustrating time as some people are itching to run!

And post marathon….

Don’t forget to book your post marathon massage for the week after the race. Massage helps the microscopic damage to your muscles repair. It will ease that post event soreness. Your body will need all the help it can get to recover fully.

What one of our clients training for the marathon has said about her sports massage experience…

“I have been a marathon runner on and off for the last 10 years but not run a full marathon for the last 4 years. I signed up for the London marathon and thought I had better have a physical MOT first.

I have used a lot of physios, chiropractors and osteopaths and massage therapists in my time and am always cautious as quality varies greatly. Diana put me in touch with their massage team. What can I say, it is heaven and hell at the same time but it’s worth it!

I don’t think I have ever had better massage treatment ever. They get straight to problem. It has greatly improved my approach to running. I look forward to it rather than worrying about what injuries I am going to get.

What I also like about the therapists are that they understand human nature, they know you will do 90% of what they suggest but support you anyway. Absolutely brilliant, what else can I say?”

Eilish Adams.

So, is sports massage a luxury or necessity when training for a marathon? Try it and see….


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To book a sports massage block just:

Call us on 020 8876 5690

Email us here, Book it online here, or simply pop in for a chat!

Our running clinic specialists can give you a running assessment and advise on improving running performance, avoiding injury and recovering from problems.

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