Every runner knows the all too common and frustrating pain that is the leg cramp. Whether it be the calves, hamstrings, or the quads, that sudden muscle contracture is enough to stop even the most experienced runner dead in their tracks. So, you may ask, how will massage therapy lessen my frequent running cramps and help me reach my running goals?

Massage therapy can help reduce muscle fatigue and prevent injuries, to help you reach your goal, whether it is a 5k, a daily jog around the block or a 100 mile ultra-marathon. There are many modalities that can be beneficial to runners, but I believe these four to be the best.

Libertyville Massage Therapy Running


Swedish Massage:

Swedish Massage  is not just for relaxation or  pampering spa days. This modality has many helpful benefits for runners. Swedish Massage is great for post run recovery days as well as pre race sports massage. It helps reduce the inflammation and tenderness from the micro damage caused to the muscle cells during vigorous activities such as running. Swedish Massage promotes blood flow to stagnant fluid in the tissue to flush out metabolic wastes, relax hypertonic tissues, and speed recovery time.

Trigger Point Therapy:

Trigger Point Therapy addresses specific tender points or “knots” in the muscle tissue. During TPT, the massage therapist uses firm to deep pressure or slow muscle stripping across the knots to release the adhesions and in turn restore the muscle to its normal resting length. Trigger Point Therapy is best applied during a low intensity training week to help maintain the new muscle length and prevent injury.

Deep Tissue Massage:

Deep Tissue Massage is different than Trigger Point Therapy due to the fact that the therapist focuses on the layers of muscle that are affecting the runner instead of a few individual sore spots. For example: the posterior lateral hip and thigh have over 14 muscles that are intertwined in layers that need to be addressed if issues arise there, such as muscle pain, tension, or spasm. Deep Tissue Massage treats each muscle entirely, from one end to the other, and works gradually down through the tissue, layer by layer, to reduce muscle tension, spasm and pain.

Sports Massage
Sports Massage is a technique that is more brisk than the previous modalities. It involves more compressions, muscle fiber spreading techniques, and shaking of the tissue to loosen and stretch the muscles. It involves a series of PNF (tense and relax) stretching techniques to increase blood flow and lengthen tight and inhibited muscle groups to improve gait during running, increase overall performance and reduce sports injury. Sports  Massage is ideal to receive at the beginning of an intense training week or before a big event.

When do I schedule a sports massage?
Receiving a weekly, twice monthly or monthly massage is very beneficial in reducing the probability of cramping and injury. Receiving sports massage weekly or every 2 weeks is the best option for optimum results. Increasing the frequency of sports massage during high mileage weeks will help reduce muscle fatigue, injury,  and shorten the recovery period.  Swedish massage is recommended 7-10 days before a big race, if you haven’t been getting regular massage. If you do receive regular massage, then 3-5 days before the race is the recommended time to get pre-event massage. Swedish massage will help maintain muscle integrity and smooth out any last-minute superficial problems before the race. After the race, a post event massage within 2 days  will help with muscle soreness and recovery.


Massage Therapy has been shown to enhance performance in elite athletes, as well as assist in post event recovery and reduce injury. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to benefit from massage therapy before or after casual runs, races, marathons and triathlons.


Benefits of Massage for Runners:

*Enhances performance

*Reduces the risk of injury

*Lessens post event recovery time