Runners have a reputation for running through injury and not committing to stretching and recovery. It is easy to push recovery to the bottom of our to do list so we came up with a few simple reasons to find your foam roller, dust it off, and get to rolling.
Reason #1 – Shown to reduce soreness.
When you run, your muscles work hard. Muscles and fascia get knotted and tight, which restricts movement and causes pain. When you place pressure on these tight spots using the foam roller you roll out the tight spots, break up knots and relieve tension, much like a massage therapist would.
Reason #2 – Increases range of motion.
After a run, the muscles and fascia will tighten and shorten. Using a foam roller to release tension will help to release tight spots, free up the fascia and allow your muscles to return to their original length. Instead of being tight on your next run, your muscles will be free to move the way nature intended them to move, through a full range of motion.
Reason #3 – Feels great!
Yes, foam rolling feels good, at least after you are done. During foam rolling, it may be a bit painful, just like a deep tissue massage. After you finish, you will feel amazing. It alleviates tension in your muscles and helps to relieve delayed onset muscle soreness. You can focus on areas that are more or less sore and you control the pressure.
Reason #4 – Inexpensive, easy to do, recovery.
You can pick up a foam roller for $30-$40 at your local running store and it will last for years. It’s simple to do in your own home and even when traveling. It’s just about the best recovery you can do with little expense.
One of the most important things that my physical therapist recommended, was to foam roll after each run, even if just for a few minutes. When I received my RRCA Running Coach Certification and ACE Personal Trainer certification, I learned the same. I have even since taken a class specifically on foam rolling from SPRI.
How do I foam roll?
- When foam rolling, you use your bodyweight to adjust the tension on your muscles. Lift or lower yourself on the foam roller to adjust the intensity level.
- Carefully roll back and forth over a tight muscle group. When you find an especially tight spot, you can sort of “sit” on that area for a few seconds until you feel a release of pressure. Then continue rolling.
- Spend about 30 seconds on each muscle group or area. You can then repeat this up to three times. For a total of 90 seconds on each muscle group.
- Start light. You want to use this as recovery and to help you feel better. Some pain can be expected, just like a deep tissue massage, but not too much.
Runners, if you aren’t doing it yet, you need to foam roll! It will help tremendously with your flexibility and recovery.