It definitely wasn’t love at first sight. The first few years of running I didn’t do any stretching and didn’t even know what a foam roller was. This changed a little after my first marathon were I wasn’t able to run pain-free for 2 months due to hip bursitis.
I went to the PT and he did his magic ART (Active Release Therapy) on my hips and also showed me how to stretch and foam roll. Stretching just seems boring and it kind of hurts, and so does the foam roller. Needless to say I didn’t like both very much.
But the fear of getting injured again made me start to stretch, at least 5 minutes after each run and some dynamic stretches before. That kind of worked. But I wasn’t sure about this foam rolling thing. I heard so many good things about it, but whenever I tried I didn’t really see the benefit. I wasn’t even sure if I did it correct!
It seems easy, just roll up and down. But I’m an engineer and I need directions and I need to see results, so I believe it works. Well, initially this is didn’t happen and it took a little while. But at least once a week I tried to roll around (after my long run) and after a while I created my own little routine.
I also read more about it and learned the following things:
- Go SLOW up and down your leg
- once you hit a spot that hurts, just PAUSE for a few seconds, the pain will go away
- then ROLL OUT “the knot” out, kind of like a dough, first short up and down and then longer
- then switch sides
That’s it! In the beginning I went too fast and never felt the release. Now with going slower I find those trigger points and help them release. Understanding this principle really helped me to see the benefit of foam rolling. And the best part, it is quick and easy.
Here is my quick routine after a long run, it doesn’t even take 5 minutes!
Option 1: Foam roll both calves at the same time
Option 2: Foam roll one calve and keep the balance with the other leg, try to keep most of the body weight on the rolling calve
Option 3: Place the resting leg on top of the rolling leg, this add additional weight and therefore pressure to release very tight spots.
You can do either all 3 or just one of the above three options.
This is the fun one, I created my own body roll while foam rolling!
Let’s start on the right side.
- I start out on my right thigh and after about 20 seconds of up and down
- I move my body weight to the right side and use my left leg to balance my weight. Then I roll my IT bands. This hurts!
- After that I roll my body another 90 degrees to roll my quads. After that I get up and do the same thing on my left leg
3. Last but not least I roll my butt (works great for piriformis)
In order to roll your right “butt” move your left foot on top of your right knee and lean with your left side (including hip) to the right side. Then roll up and down your right side of the butt
This routine works wonders after a long run and I feel so much better! Since I started foam rolling after my runs, I haven’t had any injury and I totally see the benefits – I love foam rolling!!
How about you – do you love or hate foam rolling?
Any special routines you created?