In my experience, you should receive a massage after a marathon or an intense workout sooner rather than later. The first time I ran a marathon, I didn’t get a massage until a few days later when my muscles were already sore. The second marathon I ran, I had a medium pressured massage an hour after the race. We focused mostly on my feet, legs, gluteal region, and lower back using Swedish style massage in the direction of the heart. After this massage, I swam in a nice cold pool. I swear, because of the massage, my muscles never became sore nor did any of my toenails turn purple like they did after the first race.
Studies show the best time to receive your massage is about two and a half hours after you have finished a race or workout. This time frame comes from a study done on athletes for the prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). By getting a massage soon after your workout, you don’t give the body a chance to build up lactic acid in the muscles, which causes the swelling and tightness after extreme workouts. Lastly, don’t forget to drink that water to help flush and eliminate those toxins!