You Just Ran a 10K, Now What?

If you listen to research, the answer is simple: get a massage. A 2013 study reported in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (ISSN1915-257X) polled athletes about their beliefs about and experiences with massage after running a race.

The study included 745 individuals who had completed a 10K running race in under an hour, and tested perceptions about post-race massage. The study showed that 91% of participants who had experienced massage before agreed that massage would benefit muscle recovery following the running race and more than 80% of those who had never had a massage believed it would be beneficial.

Another study, conducted in 2010 (Journal of Manipulative Physical Therapy, 2008 Mar;31(3):217-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2008.02.009.), showed that myofascial release massage sped the recovery of heart rate variability and lowered blood pressure after high-intensity exercise to pre-exercise levels.

Other studies have indicated that post-event or between event massage may be beneficial to other body systems as well. Massage after exercise has been shown to elevate immune enzymes and mediators in the saliva of athletes. As a result it has been proposed that massage may help boost immune function after exercise and possibly prevent illness at a time then the immune system is more susceptible to illness.

Massage is well-accepted as a muscle recovery aid following a race, and the overwhelming majority of runners, especially female runners, perceive it as advantageous.