Sponsored content provided by The Jacquelyn Project.

Marshall Dahneke is running the 2023 Boston Marathon for cancer relief in honor of his daughter, Jacquelyn, who passed away from breast cancer in early 2022.

Marshall Dahneke is running the 2023 Boston Marathon for cancer relief in honor of his daughter, Jacquelyn, who passed away from breast cancer in early 2022. This column details his personal health journey, inspires massage therapists to live a healthier life, and promotes The Jacquelyn Project’s ‘Running for Cancer Relief’ efforts partnered with the Massage Therapy Foundation. Visit The Jacquelyn Project’s home page for an overview of the project, sponsor highlights and a donation link.

Recovery is a vital step on our pathway to a normal state of health, mind or strength. We can recover from injury, from addiction, even from a tough workout or hard day at work. I am beginning to fully appreciate the power of recovery in my own training for the Boston Marathon as I learn that the best athletes are, in part, the best because they recover quickly. It doesn’t matter how fast and far I ran today if I can’t show up again tomorrow.

As I write this, I’m still internalizing guidance I received from appointments with an orthopedic doctor and a physical therapist. Daily soft tissue mobilization, cupping and cross-training are my prescriptions as I recover from an overuse injury that led to a stress reaction in my right shin. Fortunately, it has not developed into a stress fracture, which would be catastrophic for my chances of running Boston this year. So, it’s HawkGrips, Bellabaci, and exercise bike and elliptical work for the next week or more, along with some additional therapies to accelerate recovery and my return to running.

How did I get to this point? I averaged about 40 miles per week leading up to my first marathon. I ramped up to 45 to 48 weekly miles prior to my second marathon, and ran even faster. I increased mileage further, to the mid-50s, for my latest marathon where I ran 17 minutes faster than my personal best.

Guess what? My mind is confident that more miles equals faster races.

I’m focused on increasing to the 60-plus miles-per-week range as I prepare for Boston. But increasing too quickly for your body’s recovery often leads to negative consequences. I know this. Yet, I pushed myself too hard anyway, wanting to believe that fighting through fatigue and “dead” legs would enable faster physiological adaptation and advancement. Wrong! Our bodies are often smarter than our minds, and we just need to listen to our bodies. When the body demands rest and recovery, why push the envelope and risk serious injury as I just did?

No one questions the importance of training for accelerating performance. Yet, rest and recovery are just as essential for improvement. They offer the body time to repair, rebuild and strengthen between sessions. Rest is a combination of sleep and time spent not training. In deeper stages of sleep, our muscles receive an increase in blood flow, delivering oxygen and nutrients that help recover and repair muscles and regenerate cells. Do not shortchange sleep!

Recovery is a set of actions and techniques implemented to further maximize the body’s repair. These actions include proper hydration, nutrition, stretching, heat, ice, massage, compression, myofascial release and pain management. Similar to deep sleep, active recovery increases targeted blood circulation, helping to remove waste products from soft tissue that have been broken down by intense exercise. Fresh blood flow delivers nutrients that help repair and rebuild muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

In addition to sleep, nutrition, hydration and massage, some of my go-to active recovery therapies include:

  • Winback Tecartherapy is an adjunctive therapy that you should experience. This FDA-cleared bio-accelerator device, generating radio frequency energy, enables therapists to elevate muscle and fascia temperature prior to or as part of manual therapy. Winback Tecartherapy quickly releases tension and relieves pain within 20 minutes, lasting up to 48 hours. This device quickly and significantly improves range of motion while promoting revascularization, accelerating recovery as it creates a unique and soothing treatment experience.
  • HawkGrips offers the best professional instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization tools featuring the company’s signature cross-hatch design for a secure grip and exceptional feedback. In the hands of a trained therapist, HawkGrips enables both pain reduction and improved range of motion. HawkGrips changed the practice of IASTM by being the first to welcome MTs to their courses.
  • Bellabaci’s hand-squeezable medical-grade silicone vacuum cups offer decompression therapy to help the flow of fluids and toxins, loosen adhesions, and lift connective tissue, while promoting recovery. This translates into tangible relief for my tight leg muscles and sore tendons. These cups are easy for me to use—and even more impactful when combined with manual therapy performed by a massage therapist.
  • DR-HO’S Circulation Promoter is a medical device that’s FDA-cleared for pain relief at home. The combination of four powerful pain-relief technologies into one treatment stimulates the leg and foot nerves and muscles to help relax spasms, increase blood circulation and help relieve pain. This electrical stimulation therapy is as simple as placing my feet and flipping the on switch while reading or watching TV and is especially helpful to me after strenuous training or a race.
  • Meteor by MyoStorm is a heated vibration therapy device that accelerates my pain relief and muscular recovery, especially in conjunction with my IASTM and Cupping therapies. Given its ball shape, the Meteor is effective on my feet and legs, exactly what I need after a long run to relax and lengthen the muscles, reduce pain and speed up recovery for my next outing. I’m impressed by their foundational research, but even more impressed with how it feels.
  • Stopain Clinical partners with massage professionals on helping people perform better and move pain-free. This line of topical pain relief products was specifically formulated with hands-on health care professionals, and their clients, in mind. The fast-acting formulation (with penetration enhancers plus 10% menthol, MSM and Glucosamine) provides clients and their families with a highly effective pain-relief solution. Stopain Clinical 360 Continuous Spray also absorbs particularly well into kinesiology tape (in a tape-and-spray combination), offering even longer-lasting relief.

Remember that recovery is just as important as training as we seek to improve our performance—so let’s all prioritize recovery!

[Visit The Jacquelyn Project’s home page for an overview of the project, sponsor highlights and a donation link.]

About the Author

Marshall Dahneke is the grateful husband of Michelle and proud father of six wonderful children, a lover of massage, former CEO of Performance Health, 2016 Massage Hall of Fame inductee, and aspiring endurance athlete finding his way to a better way of life.