Sundial supports the Sussex Beacon which provides specialist care and support for people living with HIV. Last Sunday we provided the massage at their flagship event – the Brighton Half Marathon as we have done for the last four years. This year we had 40 physio students, massage therapists and Sundial staff at the run from early morning on a beautifully sunny day giving pre-race massage and Rocktaping.
The atmosphere was buzzing as runners warmed up and stretched with some showing signs of nervousness as this was their first big running event. Some had not run 13.1 miles before and, judging from their faces at the end, may not again! Still, after a rest, a massage and general TLC most seemed to have perked up as they left the Sundial massage tent on Madeira Drive, right on the seafront.
Massage is helpful for recovery after a long run. In fact, it has proven to be the most effective treatment. It helps ease the tight muscles and cramps that can occur and reduces swelling from traumatised joints and ligaments too. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is common after exercise, especially if you are not used to it. Whilst the runners may have been tired immediately after the Brighton run the worst muscle soreness usually kicks in the next day or even up to day three after the half marathon. The soreness can last for several days and is worse if the muscles are used again. If this is you, it is a good idea to rest with short occasional short walks to keep your flexibility. Anything that increases blood flow to the muscles can help recovery and this is where massage can help. Also, hot baths can help too. You can add a large cup of Epsom Salts too as the magnesium is absorbed through the skin and can help muscle soreness.
One treatment for DOMS that has been hitting the headlines recently is curcumin which is the main ingredient in the spice used a lot in Indian cooking – turmeric. Interestingly, muscle strength also improved as well as the moderate to large reductions in muscle pain.
If you have muscle soreness after running then ice baths are unlikely to help. This will be welcome news to anyone who, like me, thinks you would have to be mad to climb into icy water. I’d rather have sore muscles.
Unfortunately, static stretching or warming up the muscles before or after exercise does not prevent the soreness from occurring. The best way to avoid DOMS is to gradually increase training before strenuous exertion to allow your muscles to build and adapt. This, of course, is not news. Anyone who has trained for a marathon or a half’ will know the benefits of a long steady training programme. So if you are thinking of taking part next February then best plan several months of training.
If you took part in the Brighton Half Marathon we are offering 50% off a massage or physio session here at Sundial. Book online above or call us.