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.
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.
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?