"Massage helps me when my hamstrings feel tight and it feels like my whole body needs to be 'oiled'. It brings the glide back into my stride. Deep tissue massage is great about a week before a race for this reason. A post race massage helps my muscles recover much faster so I can start training again sooner. Also, it was key for my grand slam attempt last year when I had some big races close together on the calendar. " - Erin, ultra-runner
Let's face it. Running is tough on the body. I know it's not for everyone but many people really enjoy it and get a lot out of it, including me. I have been running since I could walk. It is my go-to stress reliever and form of exercise.
Over the years working with many athletic clients I have seen how massage does wonders by bringing new blood to muscles, increasing flexibility, preventing injury, prepping for an event, and treating old injuries.
For more specifics, I found a great article from Runner's World: http://www.runnersworld.com/for-beginners-only/benefits-of-massage-for-runners/
Basically, they say that running constricts the muscles with the repetitive pattern; motion is limited by the resulting tighter, shorter muscles. Manual manipulation, i.e. massage improves functionality on a cellular level with increased oxygen flow and metabolic waste removal. It can decrease blood pressure, open blood vessel size, amp up blood circulation, decrease muscle aches and pains, improve joint mobility and stride, quicken repair of muscle tears, and lower cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine levels. They note how the effects are more noticeable and beneficial over time with treatments and frequency varying per person.
I couldn't agree more.