Foam roller, how I love thee, let me count the ways!
Back when I first started running at the beginning of 2009, I had heard of this “thing” called a foam roller, but didn’t really care about it or feel the need to get one. I was running injury free, so why would I or should I be cautious or preventative? Oh, how naive I was! I can’t help but think if I had been proactive the whole time, I wouldn’t have had to go through the battle that is my IT band injury.
By the time I finally broke down and got one, it was too late to be preventative, and now I was having to use it to heal and loosen an already incredibly angry IT band. So, do I have your attention yet? So, let’s review. If you are NOT injured, I personally would still foam roll to loosen tight muscles and help prevent injury. If you ARE injured, you should be living on the floor and that thing should be welded to your body.
The best part about a foam roller is they don’t have to be expensive. I have the cheapest one from Wal Mart and it does the trick. (Was maybe ten bucks?) I am currently on my second one.
You know you are a runner when your husband gives you a foam roller for Christmas. Oh, yes he did!
So, you may be wondering….how do you do it?
HERE is a good website to show you how to properly foam roll. There are tons of videos out there if you are looking for something specific.
Is it supposed to hurt? Yes and no. It is what I like to call “a good pain.” It should feel like you are getting a really deep massage. It will definitely hurt at first, but the more you do it, the less it will hurt and it will be more feel good than ow I am going to kill you for making me do this!
How long do I do it? I usually stay on mine for about 5-10 minutes after short runs, and if I am feeling super tight or doing a long run, I will use it on and off with rest breaks for about 20 minutes. I focus mainly on my IT bands, but I also roll other parts as well.
When do I do it? I personally roll before AND after a run. Before a run I just do my IT bands for a couple of minutes to loosen up (on top of stretching once I warm up) just for that “extra” loosening to help me not get tight as quickly while running.
Please don’t be like me and wait until AFTER you get injured. Sometimes stretching just doesn’t cut it and you need some pressure to loosen up those tight areas. (I have also been known to use a tennis ball on particularly tight days, but be careful it leaves bruises.) aannnddd your dog may think it’s playtime and try and snatch the thing right out from under you.
This is the half marathon I injured my IT band in. ug.
OK! So, I am thrilled it’s the weekend, we are headed to my parents this evening. My cousin is getting married tomorrow, so we are going to stay with the fam and go to the wedding outside of New Orleans together.
Don’t forget I still need one or two more guest bloggers, your post doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but I would love to have YOU write a guest post for the blog! Please e mail me if you are interested!
QOTD: What do you do for injury prevention?
I am going to buy my own foam roller today. I borrow the one at the gym sometimes, but having my own would be better. I do yoga and hot yoga and core work. I am a runner too, and I know how great all of those things are for injury prevention. Not to mention cross training! Good tips here!
ooohh yoga is def. goos just do expensive and I get bored with at home yoga lol!
Corey @ the runners cookie says
I love my foam roller! I think it helps for people who don’t have IT band issues too – it’s a great way to break up the “stuff” in your muscles after hard exercise and help boost recovery.
Thank you so much for posting about foam rollers and providing a link! I have heard about them and was curious but didn’t know where to look/what to do.
thats great! glad to help. 🙂
my fiance bought me the exact same foam roller for Christmas! lol… i LOVE it!! 🙂
Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun says
I adore my foam roller. Well, adore is strongly putting it. I love/hate the thing. I can tell it helps keep my muscles working well so I makes sure to use it regularly.
Too funny – I just mentioned the foam roller being a love/hate relationship in my blog post last night!
Really haha! Since that day I ran twice in one day earlier this week my it band has been tight so I have been on mine Luke crazy so it was on my mind ha!
Coach Brian says
In addition to foam rolling, I think strength training and stretching is also very important for injury prevention. Strong, flexible muscles (especially those that stabilize the joints) don’t freak out when you gradually increase mileage. Most overuse injuries are the result of some sort of muscle imbalance.
ITA. I did a post awhile back about injury prevention and mentioned some of those things (it was pre strength training though 🙂 ) I was mainly just focusing ont he foam roller for today’s post. even just doing that ab dvd I did what seemd like hundreds of times, I feel stronger and am running faster. need to join a gym so i can do more with weights. My husband has a bench int he garage but I don’t like doing some of that stuff when he’s not home in case I hurt myself HA!
I have one but haven’t used it in a long time. My kid likes to play with it though. He tries to twirl it on the floor…
I havent tried foam rollers but I have heard so many good things about them. Have a fun weekend and enjoy the time with your parents!!
I got a foam roller for the purpose of pilates, but I recently decided I could use it for my IT band even though I’m not a runner (i do go on 8 mile plus walks very frequently, and easily put in over 20 miles a week walking, so it might be good). Thanks for the warning and link!
I love my foam roller! I,too, got one for Christmas… it was on my wish list!!!
Okay now I need to get one, that’s the second time I’ve heard one mentioned today!
Katy (The Singing Runner) says
Unfortunately I didn’t get my foam roller until my IT bands acted up but I foam rolled away and the pain eventually went away. Now I use it for preventative care!
Foam rollers are great but I’ve had totally amazing results with Trigger Point Therapy kit. I get better results and the tp kit is a little more portable. Downside is that it is a lot more expensive….. But
After enough pain the money was worth it. I also like that it comes with a instructional video.
Martha @ runninginmommyland says
I’ve been on the fence about buying one since I feel like I already have so much gear! I’m glad I read your post and found your blog. Seems like it will be worth the investment!
They are really cheap! You can get one at Wal mart!
I came across this post in a search, I went to the doctor today and found I out I have ITBS. I wish I would have taken foam rolling more seriously when I first read about it, but I assumed I wasn’t running long enough distances (typically 5k) to worry about it. I have been looking online at Walmart to purchase one and was wondering what density should a newbie foam roller get? The have high density (hard, more expensive) and low density (soft, cheap!) Thanks in advance for any insight!
Truth be told, it’s going to hurt pretty badly if you haven’t been doing it like you should. I have one on the softer side (not the softest but not the one with like, spikes on it!) and it works just fine. My body weight does the rest! I hope you get better!