A day in the life of a event sports massage therapist

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The Shakespeare Marathon and Half Marathon in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire took place on Sunday 7th May. The Fire & Earth team provided the post-event massage support for the runners, of which over 2,500 were expected. A busy day…  

Here’s how our day went…  

Up at early o’clock, a quick breakfast, checked the weather forecast on the app and double check by looking out of the window (as you do). Looked like good running conditions for the start of the race at least, but getting much warmer later. That brought new challenges for the runners.  

We loaded the cars with all our gear and equipment and headed off to Stratford. We met up with the rest of the team and our training students from the Oxford School of Massage, and got our area all set up and ready to go. 

We were set up nice and early so we got to go and have an explore. The start of the race was not far from the finish area where we were based.  

We love watching the event build up as people start arriving… smiley faces, nervous faces, excited faces! The atmosphere was brilliant, really friendly and there was a real buzz about the place. Runners had come from all over the UK, we spoke to people from Wales and Cornwall. Good to see so much local support too. The weirdest thing was watching the race start and not being in it ourselves!  

Action stations!

It didn’t seem long until the first half marathoners were finishing, with the winner completing the 13.1 miles in 1 hour and 8 minutes. An amazing time!  

It was action stations for us as the post-race massages started. It started off relatively steady but as the main bulk of runners started to return, the massaging started to get more frequent with no breaks in-between. Luckily we like being busy! Each massage was about 10 minutes long, mostly concentrating on legs, but we also treated backs and a couple of tricky knees.  

There were lots of runners struggling with cramp as it was such a hot day and many needed to hydrate more than expected. 

The first marathon runner was back in a time of 2 hours and 46 minutes - and yes, that was for a full marathon! The final runner was done and dusted in just over 6 hours. Everyone did really well, especially as it got really hot, and should be really proud of their achievements. 

One of our favourite things about massaging at events is hearing all the stories about the reasons why people were running, the charities they were raising money for, the PBs, the setbacks, everything! 

Why have a massage immediately post-event? 

Fast recovery is the primary purpose of a post-event massage.  Massage immediately after an event can make a real difference in how stiff your legs become later, preventing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). We are looking to flush through fresh blood to help the muscles recover, whilst breaking down the lactic acid to speed recovery. It will assist a pain free recovery and return you to training with minimal soreness, inflammation and stiffness. 

The therapists use a lighter pressure than usual and the massages are short in duration - 10 minutes or so - as we want to avoid aggravating any muscle damage sustained during the race. Post-event massage can also identify injuries that may have occurred during the event, so they can be treated promptly. 

It is advisable to wait at least 48 hours after your race before having a full deep tissue sports massage. This will give any soreness time to ease and injuries to settle so they can be assessed properly by the therapist. 

Heading home 

We finished up about 4.30pm. Tired but satisfied, and happy to have helped so many people on the day! We packed up and headed back home, unpacked the cars, and got the washing machine on - there were A LOT of towels to wash! Tired but inspired by today, we had just enough time and energy to go for a quick run ourselves!  

A huge thank you to everyone involved with the Shakespeare Marathon and Half Marathon. Whether you ran, organised, marshalled or supported, you were all awesome! 

We were delighted to have raised a total of £354.91 for Stratford Rotary to distribute to local good causes! 

The week following an event is always busy for us as many people have already booked in their full post-event sports massage. This aids a speedy recovery and gets people ready for their next training session or event.  

Not booked your post-race appointment yet? Contact us!