Monday, December 7, 2009
I read about foam rolling over here at Matt's blog No Meat Athlete.
It's basically self massage, but is extremely valuable for runners and can be very beneficial to recovery and improvement!
It can improve flexibility, function and reduce future injuries. When a muscle is tight or sore from an injury or from overuse, it affects your joints and can restrict their mobility. This is change your natural range of motion and movement! I have experienced this--my knee or ankle is a little sore and without even knowing it I favoring it when I run causing my form to change and creating poor movement patterns.
Enter the Foam Roller!
I suggest going to Runners World here for some specific instruction on how to roll for which muscle group.
In short, when you roll, you want to have most of your weight off the ground and on the roller or one leg/foot stacked on the one you are rolling. You need to be able to have your body weight be the driving force of the massage.
You want to roll out each muscle or are for 10-15 seconds. Sometimes I do each one twice depending on how sore I am. If you are in PAIN when you roll in a specific area, stop rolling and REST on the painful areas for 30-45 seconds. Continuing to roll through the pain can cause increased tightness and pain. So rest on the area and let the pressure do its thing.
If you end your runs with foam rolling, you will decrease muscle tension and thus recovery time, and increase your performance. I LOVE my foam roller. I could have gone to a supply store or hardware store and purchase a cheap version, but didn't KNOW that so spent a whopping 20 bucks at Target. But it has a cute logo and came with an instructional DVD.
A number of times I have experienced pain using it, but I also do not get regular massages, so my muscle's are not used to it. It does get better but it may throw you off the first time you feel it. I have even used it on my back and shoulders! This is a priceless tool for runners and athletes in general!
Nice face!! Foam rolling at my Mom's after a long run!