Massage for Runners


It’s 18 weeks until the 2023 Melbourne Marathon gets underway! 

Whether you’ve signed up for the 42.195K, the half or the 10K, building regular massage into your training program or indeed, just your running life is an important tool in optimising recovery and preventing injuries.

The key to a successful running training program, whatever the distance, is consistently putting in enough and the right sort of running to get your body used to running for long periods of time and, as much as we know it’s healthy and makes us feel great, the repetitive nature of running takes a toll on your muscles, joints, and connective tissue.

Factoring in regular soft tissue treatment into your training schedule means you can identify and get on top of the little niggles as and when they arise.

Common issues seen in runners:

  • Runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome)
  • Achilles tendon
  • Shin Splints (tibial stress syndrome)
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Stress Fracture

But, injuries aside, as your weekly K’s start to increase, so does the load on muscles, joints and connective tissue. Key areas often include the lumbar spine, hips, knees, and ankles causing tightness, pain, fatigue, and a general feeling of “not moving well.” Additionally, tension in the neck and shoulders is common too which really isn’t conducive to running with fluidity……the upper body is important too.

The feedback I always get from patients following a treatment is that their muscular pain has decreased, muscles feel lighter, they can move more freely, with more energy and feel less fatigued………they feel like they can run again.

So, the big question is “How should you structure a massage into your training?

There are no hard and fast rules here and, it’s so important to listen to what your body is telling (hopefully not screaming) you, but I would suggest that during the core blocks of training where the K’s are starting to increase during the week and runs on the weekends are building, a treatment every two weeks will relieve tension, assist with your recovery and keep an eye out for potential injury. As you get closer to the actual event, you have reached peak training load and perhaps in the taper phase – usually 2 weeks – a weekly session may be of benefit.

When you get your treatment is important too. Scheduling treatment after your last hard block of training on a rest day is great, however everyone is different, and it can take 1-2 days to recover from a treatment. It’s quite common for runners to complete their long run on a Saturday or Sunday and as you build these towards the event, these runs will get longer and harder so, you may want to leave getting your treatment for a couple of days before receiving a deeper treatment unless of course you just want a flush of the legs then the same day or a day after a run will be of huge benefit for your recovery.

Dom has been treating soft tissues for 12 years and loves working with cyclists, runners and triathletes and getting their bodies pain free and moving well again. He has a special interest in Hips, Low back and Shoulders.