Mar 26 2013
It’s coming up to 4 weeks to go to Marathon Day. Most of the hard work should now be done; there’s perhaps time to fit in a couple more long runs before it’s time to rest and taper. Well done to all you tough runners who have been braving the…
It’s coming up to 4 weeks to go to Marathon Day.
Most of the hard work should now be done; there’s perhaps time to fit in a couple more long runs before it’s time to rest and taper. Well done to all you tough runners who have been braving the icy cold winds and snow each weekend, you haven’t got long to go!
We will talk more about tapering over the next couple of weeks, but the focus today is on staying injury free and on how to help your body rest and recover after pounding out all those miles.
If there’s one piece of kit you should invest in that will serve you well for the rest of your life, it’s this.
A foam roller.
Simple, inexpensive and may well just save your life! While most of us would love to have regular sports massage, time and cost simply may not allow. A foam roller may not be the perfect substitute, but it’s the next best thing.
When you run, you place a great amount of stress on your body and your muscles. This stress can cause damage to the muscle tissue, which can result in little knots (what we know as scar tissue) forming in that muscle.
Now, as runners, we all get taught that we must stretch. And that’s right. But what we don’t get told is that if you stretch a muscle that has these little pockets of adhesions or scar tissue (which inevitably you will, having run at least 15 miles every weekend for the last 6 weeks!) you will make that muscle worse, not better. Why? Because these adhesions will not stretch in the same way the rest of your muscle will – in fact the knot will get tighter, and your problem may become even greater.
So here’s what we must do – foam roll, then stretch. The foam rolling will break down the scar tissue or knots, allowing you to then stretch more effectively. Should it hurt? Not really. Will it hurt? Probably! Rolling along a full length of your muscle, you should find some parts which will be comfortable and some spots which will be sore: roll at a slow pace and actually stop and bear down on the most tender spots (“hot spots”). Once the pain in these spots diminishes, roll the other areas. Continue to work your way up and down your muscles in this way, especially focusing on your glutes, back and quads.
In order to increase the pressure on the soft tissue, simply apply more of your body weight to the roller. The simplest way to do this is by either moving from working both legs at once to one leg, or by “stacking” one of your legs on top of the other to increase the tension. A tennis ball can be used in exactly the same way to get into those tricky areas; tennis balls are especially great for the calves.
Try it for yourself; there’s a selection of rollers here….
At less than a third of the cost of your typical physio or sports massage session, can you really afford not to?!
Feel free to call or email us for more information to assist your training or if you’d like to find out a bit more about how to use your foam roller. Call us on 020 8166 5110 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Office: (+44) 208 1665110