As runners, experiencing little aches and pains is pretty much inevitable, especially during heavy training periods when you’re logging all those extra miles on your legs. Though we’d love to feel like a million bucks during and after every run, it doesn’t always shake out that way. A tinge in the knee, a strained calf, sore quads, an aggravated hip—hurts happen. But many of them can be prevented—even relieved—with this secret weapon that you have to add to your recovery arsenal: a foam roller.
That’s right. Something as simple as a round barrel of foam is your ticket to more pain-free running. “How?” You might ask. When used correctly, a foam roller can release tension and tightness in your muscles and the fascia (a thin sheet of connective tissue fibers that covers all muscles) caused by repetitive motion and overuse. It’s crucial to your daily and post-workout routines because this release is something that can’t be achieved with static stretching alone.
By utilizing your own body weight, the grid of pyramids and grooves on a roller like the Trigger Point The GRID works to deeply massage your muscles. No, it’s definitely not as relaxing as lying face down on the sports massage table. In fact, it can sometimes be slightly painful and as challenging as a mini workout itself. But the benefits—decreased risk of injury and improved flexibility and range of movement—make that hurts-so-good feeling worth it. So whether you’re a weekend warrior or a serious competitor, consider grabbing a roller. It could mean the difference between trouble-free running and weeks out with an injury.
Important exercise note: Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.