Sports Massage for Runners – How To Boost Performance, Shorten Recovery & Reduce Pain

Written by James Tyrell-Nestor on 25th August 2015.

Physiological Effects

Professional athletes and runners have sworn by Sports Massage for years and now Sports Therapists play a role at many elite sports clubs.

Thanks to new studies and backing by reputable sources, the benefits of sports massage are being taken seriously.

And it’s not just for the pro’s, they extend to anyone who participates in a regular exercise program.

Sports Massage Improves performance, reduces pain, prevents injury, increases focus and shortens recovery time. 

It positively effects the body in 2 ways:

  • A mechanical response as a result of the pressure and movement.
  • A reflex response where the nerves respond to the stimulation of a massage. 

Physiological Effects

Physiological Effects

Sports Massage also affects the cardiovascular system by dialating blood vessels – improving their efficiency to promote circulation. 

This act of increasing blood flow delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to the body, encouraging the removal of waste products and toxins. 

And the relaxed state you enter during a post event Sports Massage means your heart rate lowers – a great way to cool down and minimise inflammation.  

The enhancement in your blood circulation receives muscle tension, soreness and drastically speeds recovery.  Muscles have more chance of achieving greater flexibility and motion whilst in this state.

New research from the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing at McMaster University in Ontario shows that sports massage not only reduces inflammation.

It also promotes growth of new mitochondria – energy-producing units in the cells after strenuous exercise.

It means that Sports Massage  can be used for pain relief, building muscles and encourage recovery.

So as well as feeling good, Sports Massage for runners is scientifically proven to improve performance and recovery. 

Psychological Effects on Performance

Psychological Effects on Performance

The sports massage study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness states that athleticism is more than just physical strength. 

“Tactical maneuvering in cycling or an ability to focus on a task (e.g., gymnastics or golf) can also affect performance.  Therefore, the psychological effect provided to an athlete by an experience such as massage may be of importance in a non-physiological manner.”  

By activating your parasympathetic nervous system, Sports Massage reduces stress, tension and anxiety while promoting relaxation. Dopamine and serotonin levels are increased and cortisol levels, which are directly linked to stress, decrease.  

A relaxed more focused state is a great benefit going into a training session or competitive event.

Types Of Sports Massage For Runners

Types Of Sports Massage For Runners

To keep things simple, we usually identify with 3 main types of Sports Massage for runners:

  • Pre-event
  • Post-event
  • Running Injury Treatment 

Pre Event Sports Massage takes place anywhere from 48 hours before your event or training session, right up to the event itself. It would take place under the premise that you are in good condition from having well timed post event treatments.

The strokes are usually just into the depth of the muscle with fast long strokes working towards the heart. This speedy work has a desired affect on the nervous system helping you to be more focused and sharp as well as increasing circulation.

You will usually feel more awake, sharper, more focused and lighter throughout your whole body going into the event. The Sports Massage is usually tailored slightly depending on how close to the event you are.

Post Event Sports Massage can take place up to 48 hours after your event took place and the aim is now to slow down your circulation and quieten the nervous system so that minimum damage to the soft tissues occur. This allows for faster recovery from running. Particular focus can be paid to areas of soreness from your run.

Running Injury Treatment is when the whole session would be focus on getting you back on the road. If you have a pain, muscle pull or nerve pain or if you have a condition such as runners knee, achilles tendonitis or performs syndrome then this type of Sports Massage would be very different from the other type.

It would involve different techniques and slower deeper strokes focusing at particular angles into the muscles in order to unwind adhesions.

Trigger Point Therapy or Myofascial Release techniques are used to open up the layers of restricted damaged tissue and “reset” the fibres to stop pulling and soreness.

It is important that when having regular pre and post event sports massage that your chance of injury is drastically reduced. 

Book a Sports Massage with Physology

Whatever level of running you are at we can tailor a treatment specifically for your current needs. Our running clients always improve their times and openly put it down to the Physology treatment. As explained above you will feel sharper, lighter, more explosive with a more efficient cardiovascular system – all the ingredients for a faster time.

The quickest way to book in is to Call Now on 08000 432401 or request a call back on our bookings page here

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Injury Specialist at Everton F.C and Founder of Physology. Writer and Public Speaker. Passionate about pain free results and living a life full of freedom and experiences. Contact me directly at or follow me using the icon links provided.

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