Monday, September 8, 2014

Foam Rolling: What Every Runner Should Be Doing

I found this online from one of my favorite bloggers and felt it was so fitting considering I posted about goals yesterday. Definitely got me motivated to start the week with hope and determination. Moral of the story: don't be discouraged when set backs arrive. The glass is still half way full. So I lace up up my shoes and headed out for my run.

My morning run at the park was pretty breathtaking.  

The central valley, and all of California for that matter, is in a serious drought. Hearing rain last night and seeing the wonderful clouds this morning just took my breath away. On top of the views, there was a great breeze when running this morning.  Summer runs in the central valley are not fun so every little break from the heat is much appreciated. I even kept a pretty good pace on my own. I would like to get back to an 8:30 pace per mile. But I am not really training for any race right now, so I don't feel like overdoing it when I am supposed to be taking a "break." 

After running my six miles, my legs were pretty sore so I decided it was time to whip out my foam roller. If you are a runner you know this contraption. If you are new to running you will learn what this is and learn to love and hate it! 

Well for starters lets list the benefits of foam rolling:
  • Relieves stress and muscle tightness
  • Increases Circulation- This allows for more efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products on a cellular level. Fancy huh?
  • Self massages trigger points- Helps relieve those nasty knots that you get on your muscles.
  • Lengthens tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments
To foam roll properly, apply moderate pressure to your specific muscle or muscle group. You should roll slowly, no more than one inch per second. If you find that you are too tight and it is painful, try to relax and pause for a few seconds, then proceed again. If an area is too painful to apply direct pressure, apply pressure on the surrounding area and gradually work to loosen the entire area. You can foam roll in so many different parts of your body. My troublesome areas are my IT band, hamstrings, and calves. When my IT band is extremely tight, it radiates pain to my knee.  So I have to keep it very well stretched.

Few things to keep in mind when foam rolling:
  • Don't roll to fast.
  • Don't spend too much time on specific knots. Total time your should roll for is 10-15 minutes. So spread your stretching time evenly.
  • Drink a lot of water after rolling. 
  • Avoid rolling your lower back. Upper back is okay but doing your lower back can make your back spasm.
  • It is fairly inexpensive. Most foam rolls can be purchased at sports stores, Target, Walmart, Ross, Marshalls, etc. 
Remember the main goal is to restore healthy muscles but this can be a painful process. The good outweighs the bad...I promise. Know you know why you quickly learn to love and hate this as a runner.

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