Does My Body Need a Massage Before a Marathon?

Tuesday 19 October 2010, 10:10AM

By Bodyneed Ponsonby - Auckland Physio and Massage Specialists



At Bodyneed Ponsonby we are Auckland's leading provider in high quality sports massage and physiotherapy. Here we answer a question alot of people ask us on a regular basis.

Q: Hello, I too am doing the Auckland Half marathon coming up in 2 weeks!!! I have heard that massage is great before a big event - but someone told me it can be detrimental too?? What is the real story with massage before and after an event?

A: Firstly YES massage is great before an event - BUT there are a couple of rules you need to follow. Here is the lowdown...

1. Do you get regular massage already? (Weekly or fortnightly leading up to now)

Yes - As you are completely used to massage you will already know what your body can handle. Book your usual sessions - make the last massage before marathon about 2-3 days before the event. This allows plenty of time for recovery, the massage will be mostly flushing and relaxing and loosening up your body to prepare. Book in with your normal therapist - they know your body the best and allow yourself your usual time needed to recover.
This massage will be relatively light - no deep stuff, no treatment, the idea is to loosen and relax your body. If you go somewhere and find yourself wincing in pain ask your therapist to back off - remember it is your body!

Post Event - DEFINITELY get a post event massage - that’s the quick 15-30 mins only on the day - we will be at the finish line and so will the official massage tent, or we are also open in the clinic on Sunday - be sure to book though and no longer than 30mins. Please note this massage should NOT be deep - it is again to flush out waste and help your body heal after a big effort. If it hurts tell your therapist to back off!

Post-Post Event... If you had your post event massage then book another total treat for yourself - you DESERVE it! Book this one 3-4 days after - you will be less sore and able to enjoy the massage more!
If you don't plan on hanging around post event then book NOW for Monday Nov 1st or Nov 2nd - we are almost fully booked for Monday - so get in quick!

NO - I have not had regular massage leading up to the event - is massage a good idea?
Again YES! BUT you need to allow your body plenty of time to recover. Massage can stir things up and sometimes make your body feel a bit sluggish the next day. It is a perfectly normal part of massage and part of the healing process. But you don’t want to go through that on race day!
For the non massage devotee book your pre-race massage 4-5 days before the event (3 days minimum)
Follow the same rules as above for post event. This way you will be sure to breeze through your event feeling light footed, supple and energised!

2. Massage is always a good idea with the right people - if you are not coming to bodyneed then make sure you are going somewhere with qualified, experienced sports practitioners - ask where they studied, when and what kind of clients they have looked after before. To avoid disappointment book now as most good places will be fully booked as we get closer to the marathon.

3. Above all do whatever you want to do to reward yourself for an AWESOME achievement - I mean just making it to the start line - so if you are still on track you can safely book those treats in now as no matter what, you have done it! You made the start - you made it through all those long gruelling weeks of training. What happens now is up to the gods - at least you are prepared!! Well done!

If you are needing the best massage or physiotherapy treatment look no further than Bodyneed Ponsonby.
Contact us on 09 360 8821 or go to our website: