Marathon Massage Sessions: When To Book Deep-Tissue Massages During Your Build-Up

Posted on: 8 November 2019


Although a marathon race is tough, the training needed just to get the start line is the toughest part. During your marathon build-up, you need to find ways to keep you legs feeling good and make sure that your muscles are recovering from all of your hard training.

Strategically scheduling deep-tissue massages during your marathon build-up can be one of the most effective ways to get you to the starting line, ready to break the finishing tape.

Supercompensation Cycle

Your body wants to maintain homeostasis, which is a fancy way of saying equilibrium. This is why running more increases your aerobic efficiency and speed. Essentially, your body must adapt to the stress of training you place on it to benefit from all of your hard work. This process is called supercompensation and takes around 3 weeks.

Mid-Cycle Massage: You're likely to feel the most tired during the middle of each supercompensation cycle (sometimes referred to as training blocks and/or micro cycles) because your body is likely struggling to meet the demands you're placing on it. Booking a deep-tissue massage around day 10-13 of your marathon training build-up and every 18-20 days after can help you break through the mid-cycle fatigue you're likely feel.

When to Book?

Deep-tissue massages are designed to break up scar tissue, stimulate blood flow, and break up misaligned muscle fibers. This process can do serious, temporary damage to your muscles. Thus, you need to be careful about when you book your deep-tissue massage within the aforementioned supercompensation cycle.

Post-Long Run: within 24 to 48 hours after a long run is the perfect time to schedule a deep-tissue massage. When you book an appointment, prepare to feel more sore after the appointment than you felt before you got on the massage table. To reduce soreness and trigger the benefits of the massage, make sure that you do light, active recovery exercise within the 24-hour window after the massage. However, don't expect to feel better from the massage for a few days.

Before Races or Speed Sessions: Deep-tissue massages are a terrible pre-race or pre-speed session idea. Not only will the massage break down your already worn-out muscles, but they can temporarily make you more susceptible to injury. Booking a "feel good" or "flushing" massage, however, can loosen up your muscles and prepare you for race day or a hard speed session. This is particularly true if you're suffering from a tight back or hamstring.