With the weekend of London marathon 2021 upon us... 
With the weekend of London marathon 2021 upon us (and several other marathons taking place this weekend and over the coming weeks) I’ve been seeing a few more runners than usual as they are in final taper in preparation to run on Sunday. 
What I have noticed over the years in my sports massage practice is that as a runner starts to increase the volume of training (in the weeks and months prior to the marathon) it sometimes results in a variety of aches, pains and persistent niggles, primarily in the lower body, from hips down to feet, but often there can be a few areas of stiffness and discomfort in the back muscles as well, which is often overlooked but can have a big effect on running gait and performance. 
Ideally it’s best to start having a routine sports massage in the weeks before the event, partly as a recovery aid (by increasing blood flow to specific areas and helping to reduce DOMS etc) but also to make you aware of areas that may feel tighter or more uncomfortable than you expected them to be, so it can be pre emptive as a therapy as well as restorative 
The most common areas for muscle tension as a result of long distance running are usually in the muscles that flex the hip, the quads and the calf muscles. I recommend using a foam roller and a ball to apply pressure yourself to these muscles on a daily basis and as a warm up before you venture out for your run, but also as a warm down afterwards as well, regardless of whether you have been doing stretch work on these muscles. In my sports massage practice I use very specific deep tissue techniques to zone in on these problem areas which can sometimes be quite painful but it definitely helps and leaves you feeling like you have fresh legs again! 
In terms of how often you should have a sports massage treatment, well, it is down to you to decide how it feels as part of your training routine, but in the weeks leading up to an event most runners that I treat will book in at least every two weeks, and after a marathon season, usually once per moth as a muscle maintenance treatment, just to help keep you moving freely, and feeling good! 
Good luck to everyone taking part, and as a useful resource for all round physical, nutritional and psychological support you may find the Marathon training hub link helpful here: 
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