Peter Dipple is the head of sports massage for Ten Health and Fitness which run six branches across London.
Digital editor Tom Bristow finds out some important injury prevention tips, the benefits of a sports massage and the truth behind foam rolling:
So, Peter, what’s the number one thing runners can do to keep themselves injury free?
Things like stretching, having a sports massage, foam rolling, anything to stop your muscles getting even tighter. Massages in particular are great for this, they get the blood flowing and stop the delayed onset muscle soreness.
What are the other big benefits of a sports massage?
So, as I said, the main benefit is to promote blood flow, concentrating on specific muscles. As well as this, lengthening muscles and making them stronger. Many muscles are linked. You could be getting neck pain from a muscle in your hip, so it’s all about making sure the alignment of the muscles is correct. This then keeps everything in balance, too.
And for those who can’t afford a massage everyday, in terms of stretching, should you stretch before a run?
I do think it’s important, but you don’t want to be doing static stretching when your muscles are cold. Static stretching being when you’re just holding a pose for a certain amount of time. Active stretching is OK, it will get you a little bit warmed and get the blood flowing.
Then what you would do after a run is a static stretch, because you are warmed up. This way you will get a lot more length in to the muscles.
And what about stretching outside of running, on days that you’re not running for example?
All that extra stuff is great. It’s always important to stretch, it’s not only free but you can do it as much or as little as you wish. But, the best benefit of stretching is that if you have a strong flexible muscle, it’s going to improve your time, your performance – and that’s just purely by looking after your body.
OK, so what about the foam roller? Is it as good as everyone says it is?
I love them, I have them, I use them a lot. It does depend, though, how you use it. People seem to get caught up with a time, ‘make sure you use the foam roller for 30 seconds, a minute’. Usually I like to say to people if you’re going to use it on your quads, your hamstrings or IT band do 10 strokes. Up, down, up, down. This way you ensure the process is done because you have a number to count.
Again, it promotes blood flow and breaks down on the muscle tissue. It’s a great way of maintaining and looking after your muscles. It’s the perfect balance in between exercising and stretching.
And for our readers out there who are running a marathon this year, what’s the one piece of advice you would give?
The best thing you can do is listen to your body. Usually you find in the last few weeks leading up to a marathon you tend to pick up a few niggles and/or injuries. At this point it’s really worth seeing a sports massage therapist who can work them out of you.
But, as I say again, stretching and foam rolling, these things are really simple. And if you do feel like something isn’t quite right, 100 per cent go see someone about it. If you leave it will get worse, and you don’t want all that hard work –running in the cold, the rain – to be for nothing.
For 10% off a sports massage with Ten Health and Fitness, just use the code “MensRunning10“.
So there you have it folks, got any injury prevention tips you want to share? Comment below…
Men’s Running spoke to Peter Dipple at a training day for the AJ Bell London Triathlon. About to celebrate its 20th Anniversary in 2016, the world’s largest triathlon takes place on 6-7th August at London’s Royal Victoria Docks. www.thelondontriathlon.com