The Importance of Foam Rolling

I’ve been feeling a sharp nagging pain in the front of my right knee lately. My right leg always has problems, mostly stemming from my bad right hip, but this was a pain I was unfamiliar with. Before the Madison half marathon I met up with my favorite physical therapist, Wendy. I knew she would know if it was serious or if it was something I could work on without seeing the doctor. If you’re in the NYC area and need running PT see her.

Sure enough she knew the answer: ” You need to be foam rolling more!”

For those of you who don’t know what a foam roller is, it’s that two and a half feet long black tube that usually sits in the stretching area of your gym.

Not So Perfect Life

I have a love/ hate relationship with my foam roller. It is a cheap sports message and it can clear up IT band issues within a week but man it hurts… and it takes time away from relaxing at the end of the day. I can usually feel when I need to be using it more often and it’s almost like magic once I start. When I’m logging in extra miles for marathons or stressing my legs with anaerobic workouts foam rolling is the most important thing I can do for my body to recover. In my opinion its more important that stretching (even though you have to stretch too!)

Back in the day I used to travel with my foam roller. I got a lot of strange looks from people. You could always tell the runners in a crowd, they would give me that knowing glance. I admit it is kind of odd to travel with it but when it comes to my legs before a race I don’t mess around. Below is a picture of me and my friend Amanda as we headed to Disney World for our first marathon back in early 2010.

Not So Perfect Life

The foam roller releases muscles you didn’t even know were tight. If you are a runner and do not own or use the foam roller or at least “the stick” then you are not performing at full force. Why? Because your muscles are too tight!

Gently rolling out and relaxing tight muscles can help you be able to hit a better and faster stride. Releasing your muscles can also alleviate hip, back, feet, ankle and calf pain.

You know that feeling when the outside of your knee hurts? That’s your IT band foam rolling on the outside of your leg and hip flexor will help. What about your heel? Try using the roller on your calf muscle. Releasing those muscles will take the tension off of the smaller less stretchable muscles in your heel and feet.

Runners World magazine has a great article and video on how exactly to use it here.

Ok enough harping on the foam roller, lets talk about this weekend. I’m headed to my friend’s wedding in Massachusetts on Monday. Tomorrow P and I are planing to do a nice and challenging hike then relax a bit at the that night watching FOOTBALL!!!!! Sunday the wedding festivities start. Its going to be a great long weekend.

What are you doing for Labor Day?

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About rebacox

Pseudo athlete and vegan, learning to love all the imperfections in life. Follow me in my journey, training for races (a half marathon in all 50 states to be exact) and my adventures in the kitchen!
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11 Responses to The Importance of Foam Rolling

  1. I’ve heard of foam rolling, but never knew too much about it! This post was super helpful and it’s definitely something I need to consider. Thanks!
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted…Power Foods Friday – TomatoesMy Profile

  2. Omg thank you for doing this post today! Soooo I was supposed to run 20 today (4 weeks until the marathon) BUT the outside of my knee hurt on both knees and while I felt like I could have easily done 20 (had it not been for knee pain), my knees stopped me. It was so tough to make myself stop but I didn’t want to hurt myself. I did a 20 miles at 6 weeks out, but that’s going to be a long taper… I’m hoping lots of rolling like you talked about above on my hip and IT band will help. I’m going to take the next few days off and just stick with my plan and see how things go. SO frustrating because this is the first time in 5 months I’ve had to stop because of my knees bah!!! Glad you have read this post – sorry for venting! :)
    Em @ Love A Latte recently posted…Fall Goals In AdvanceMy Profile

    • rebacox says:

      The outside of your knee is totally IT band… It is fixable. Dont stress! Just foam roll and stretch. Dont sit all day at work either. You should actually stll be able to do that 20 miler in a few days actually. I know that feeling its is the worst feeling ever, just dont panic!

  3. I wrote a post on this a while back and can’t stress enough how important it is to foam roll! Been a godsend for my nagging IT band.
    Davida@ The Healthy Maven recently posted…Five on Friday: 5 lunches 1 lunchboxMy Profile

  4. Hyedi says:

    I agree! I love my roller — it’s a necessary evil :) I’m working all of Labor Day and getting some runs in!
    Hyedi recently posted…FAB Tips: how I stay organizedMy Profile

  5. I use mine once a day! Definitely helps with soreness and injury prevention.
    Matt @ The Athlete’s Plate recently posted…Paleo Banana-Walnut BreadMy Profile

  6. I’ve been looking into getting a foam roller for a while now and this just convinced me! I’m training for my first half and my (right -what a coincidence!) knee just started hurting! I got a knee strap (patella band?) and that helped immensely, but I want to focus on prevention not a ‘band aid’! Besides, between running and my dancing there is no reason I shouldn’t have one! Thank you -I had no idea foam rolling did so much!!!
    Lacey @ Life Hands You Limes recently posted…WIAWhen its that awkward between seasons timeMy Profile

  7. This post definitely pushed me to foam roll…NOW! Instead of just let it sit in the corner of our room. I too have a love/hate relationship but it does works wonders!
    Ja @Ja on the RUN recently posted…Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 2: Los Angeles, CAMy Profile

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