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I admit this is pinched from Can self-massage help your running? - Sport - realbuzz.com UK.. but might help someone



Massage is a great way of stretching your running muscles, in addition to relaxing aches and soothing pains. Self-massage takes time to learn but could be very useful to your running preparation and wind-down. Here's the realbuzz guide on how to get started in DIY massage.

Why massage?
Massage is a useful preparation to gain the best running performance and to reduce the risk of injury. In addition, massage can help you return to full running fitness more quickly than doing without it.

Massage warms muscles ready for action by increasing blood flow, removing waste products and separating any muscle fibres that have become stuck together. Getting into self massage could save you a lot of time and trouble - and spare you pain...

This article deals only with the thigh, quadriceps and hamstrings but these techniques can be applied elsewhere.

Massage yourself to running fitness
While it is lovely to have someone else massaging you (and vital to have a trained person to treat injuries), massaging yourself is extremely good preparation for a run. It is also useful if you have an injury until it can be treated. And it’s not as difficult as at first you might think. Massage strokes, particularly flushing, are usually movements towards the heart.
When to massage for running...

* Before the race. This massage should be done just before usual warm-up for a run.

* During breaks from running. Massage to keep you warm, prevent stiffness setting in and to remove built-up waste products to retain efficiency.

* After the race. Remember to cool-down and then you can use gentle flushing strokes to help prevent stiffness; remember your muscles will be sore.

Before massaging...

* With oil? This is a matter of preference, although using oil can prevent skin soreness. Putting arnica in the oil reduces stiffness following the run (you can buy massage oil with arnica in it). I choose to use high-quality cold-pressed food grade oil because if it is going to be absorbed into the body you may as well use some that has useful vitamin E in it. You can also use the oil in cold weather to protect your skin from the elements.

* Don’t forget to stretch! Massage does not replace stretching but makes it more effective.

How to massage around your running...
Working on yourself can be challenging! I feel as though my hands are on the wrong way around! Here is an explanation of some strokes and how to do them.
 

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Before the race…

1. Flushing
Warm the muscles by stroking from knee to hip one flat hand after the other all around your leg for about 30 seconds.

2. Squeezing/pressing
Beginning with the front above the knee take handfuls of muscle, press between your thumbs and fingers and then let go. Work along from bottom to top squeezing, up the centre and then up each side of the quads – both hands together or one hand on each side for the sides. Use two hands together for the top and hamstrings behind.

Try this out until you find a comfortable method. Do each section twice, pressing in towards the thigh bone the second time.

Now, when you grab each handful, instead of squeezing together, draw your thumbs across the muscle towards your fingers. Move up each leg doing this then repeat, drawing fingers to thumbs across the fibres the other way.

3. Shaking
Take a centre portion of the main muscle in your hand and shake; how hard you do it is up to you. It’s a sort of wake-up shake for about ten seconds. Repeat on different areas.

4. Lastly some tapping
Using alternate loose fists, tap all along the muscles from knee to hip. To reach your hamstrings raise your knee, reach around your leg, use fists moving upwards.

During breaks between running…
Use some flushing strokes and gentle squeezes up your legs.

After the run…
Later, once you have got your breath back, have had some food and are ready for a rest, this massage will speed up recovery and enable you to run some more!

Wait until your legs are ready to be worked on. This may be in a few hours if all is well, however, depending on the length and severity of the race it may be a day or so, particularly for strokes other than gentle flushing.

1. Flushing
2. Squeezing/pressing

Now draw your elbow
(Lightly if your legs are sore) several times up the quads from knee to hip to separate layers and allow fibres to move freely. Hamstrings have to make do with you drawing your fists or all your fingers together along them, but it isn’t as good. I can’t reach around the back of my leg with my elbow!

Be guided by how sore your legs are to tell how much pressure to use. Use the post-race massage to find any areas that are tender. Work over them with little circular movements of your fingers or thumb as well as flushing.
 

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For injuries...
While the injured area is too painful to touch, massage just above it to help blood flow to and from the area. This flushes away the damaged cells and opens the way for fresh oxygenated blood to flow in. Use flushing movements only to begin with.

As soon as the area can tolerate it flush from below to above the injured area in long sweeping strokes. Then little by little as pain allows, begin pressing and squeezing.

At other times...
Once or twice a week, massage yourself to encourage top performance. A regular appointment for remedial massage will ensure that your legs are kept in running order and any injuries cleared up quickly.

A maintenance massage could be:

* Flushing (as before)
* Squeezing/pressing
* Tapping – done with the sides of the hands called hacking.

Include any of the other strokes mentioned that you find particularly helpful.

If you have stiffness in your hamstrings, this can be relieved by sitting on your closed fist, gently lean and hold your weight over the area. Stiffness in quads can be relieved by leaning over the area on your elbow.

You can also massage the points where the muscles are attached to the thighbone. Do this with your thumbs or fingers using small deep circular movements. The hamstrings are attached to your sitting bones and down the thighbone at the back; your quads are attached to the hipbones that stick out at the side. They are all attached at the other end around the knee, some above and some below. Don’t be surprised if these feel tender.
 

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I'd imagine the smaller diameter of 'the stick' allows for more pressure to be applied to the muscles which you might struggle to do with a rolling pin - though I had wondered if I could get away with perhaps a section of a broom handle :embarrassed:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
and hands up all those that whilst reading, had their hands under the desk rubbing their quads
 

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I had one of those used on me at the marathon expo and it tickled like no tomorrow, I think the bloke doing the demo thought I was nuts :nuts::wacko:
 

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I had one of those used on me at the marathon expo and it tickled like no tomorrow, I think the bloke doing the demo thought I was nuts :nuts::wacko:
Someone was actually beating you with a rolling pin - you sure it wasn't a Good Food Expo - not a Marathon Expo!!?

Regarding nuts - no comment! :p
 

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Someone was actually beating you with a rolling pin - you sure it wasn't a Good Food Expo - not a Marathon Expo!!?

Regarding nuts - no comment! :p
now you mention it :lol:

def marathon expo, I was laughing hysterically I wouldn't mind but I am not normally ticklish :confused:
 

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I borrowed one of the massage sticks from a mate a while back,and thought it was brilliant.

Did promise to buy myself one,but there not cheap.
 

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Very interesting read, cheers Beasty!

Trinity, the stick looks like a great bit of kit! Are the white bits rollers?

any thoughts on Omni Heavy Metal Massage Roller Fitness Kits Omni ??
the white bits are lots of individual rollers, yep

I have used one of those massage rollers too... not so easy to use on yourself because you're using the strength in one hand only, although you can get quite deep into easily accessed muscles such as quads
 

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I borrowed one of the massage sticks from a mate a while back,and thought it was brilliant.

Did promise to buy myself one,but there not cheap.
no they're not cheap... but trust me they are worth it.


Btw Rich... a big difference between this Stick and something such as a broom handle is that you'd have to manually roll the broom handle. With the stick you just hold the handles at each end and the the Stick rotates

It's a simple idea but extremely effective
 

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Twinks... I suspect the pressure wasn't right

I'll bring mine to the social so you can all have a go with it
 

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Yeah that's what I thought RE: rollers Trin... I might have a scout around for UK suppliers.
The stick also has a certain amount of flexabiltiy so that it will make more contact with the muscles.

I think your looking at about £40 Richard.
 
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