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  • Writer's pictureUltra Sports

London Calling: Boost your marathon performance with sports massage

marathon performance

The 44th running of the iconic London Marathon is a little more than a few weeks away, which means the 50 000 athletes taking part are in the final stages of their pre-race preparation.


Being part of one of the world’s most famous road races is a bucket-list item for most runners and for the past year participants will have been putting in the hard yards to make sure they are at peak level for the start at Greenwich and Blackheath on 21 April.


Of course, a superb training regimen is no guarantee that athletes will not have some degree of discomfort.


Sports massage is an excellent way to mitigate this.


The fundamental difference between sports massage and the treatment offered by spas is usage and focus. Where a spa specialises in creating feelings of comfort and relaxation in a quiet private setting, sports massage is mostly used for therapeutic purposes. 


Ultra Sports Clinic Sports Massage & Soft Tissue Therapist, Marta Holmes, explains that sports massage focuses on areas of the body that are overused and stressed from repetitive movement.


“It promotes flexibility, reduces fatigue, helps prevent injuries, helps improve endurance and optimise performance in sports as well as day-to-day activities.”


While physiotherapy is often a reliable source of recovery, muscle stiffness can slow down progress. For this reason, a combination including massage therapy can be beneficial. 


Because massages help the muscles relax after an injury or surgery, clients are “freed up” to exercise correctly.


“Massages are scientifically proven to help calm the nervous system, allowing you to go into better stretches with a deeper range of motion,” Marta says. 


“Combining physiotherapy with massage therapy relieves various kinds of pain and improves the functional capacity of muscles through their biomechanical loading.”


Sports massages are useful to runners both before and after the race.


Pre-event massage prepares the body for physical exertion by stimulating the flow of blood and nutrients to the working muscles, reducing risk of injury. It also stretches the soft tissue, which in turn increases joint mobility for physical activity.


Post-event techniques, meanwhile, enhance recovery.


“Post event work is not the time to employ deep strong techniques like friction or vigorous tapotement. Instead, the focus should be to calm and encourage the muscles to return to pre-event state,” Marta says.


“If you are a novice, the condition of your tissue will most likely be very different to someone who has trained as an elite athlete. Thanks to palpation skills, I can get a sense of the physiological condition of the soft tissue and provide an appropriate treatment.”


She says incorporating massage into fitness routines will help runners get into shape faster, improve performance, and recover quicker from more intense workouts.

Strapping for marathons


Strapping supports vulnerable joints, like ankles and knees, reducing strain during long-distance runs. It stabilises muscles, preventing fatigue and improving endurance. 


Proper strapping techniques aid in maintaining form, optimising stride efficiency and ultimately, helping achieving peak performance while minimising the risk of injury.

Strapping your foot:

Plantar Fasciitis & Peroneal tendon stabilisation

Medial arch lift

Strapping your ankle:

Distal Tibio-fibular stabilisation

Strapping your knee

Patella tendinitis/Runners knee/Osgood Schlatter

Strapping your pelvic area and lower back

Sacroiliac joint (SIJ)



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