Sunday, November 9, 2014

This Is How I Roll

This is how I roll.  Foam roll, that is. 

The above device is both a blessing and a curse to all runners.  The above device and I have the epitome of a love/hate relationship.  I love the results I get from using the foam roller, but the price I pay for those results...oh, straight hate.  You runners know what I mean.  For you non-runners, the above device is the equivalent to a bikini wax.  Sure you get smoothed out the results you want, but the act of getting there is excruciating.
Recently, I've been asked by several people what to do about their extreme soreness.  At the expense of their friendship, I have whole-heartedly recommended that they hit the foam roller.  Sure, I wish I could  prescribe something more enjoyable to the people I care about, but because I do care, I have had to send them towards this torture device. 

Really friends, I'm sorry.  But it works.
Seriously though, if you are a runner, I highly recommend you start spending a significant amount of time with this thing.  It's hard and it hurts like hell (added bonus: it will force you to make completely inappropriate grunting and groaning noises in public), but it is totally worth it.  I cannot tell you the amount of relief foam rolling has provided for me over the years.  In the beginning of my running journey, I found myself experiencing SEVER knee pain.  The kind of pain that you never forget and that you never want to relive.  Now, the second I start feeling any tightness in my quads (or anywhere in my legs, really), I make a date with my foam roller.  Actually, I try to keep a standing date with my foam roller to avoid the tightness (which can lead to injury) all together.  This is a hard date to keep because it isn't the fun kind of "maybe I'll invite him up for coffee" kind of date. No, a date with your foam roller is more like, "I can't believe X set me up with this guy.  Obviously, X hates me and now the feeling is mutual.  I can't get out of here fast enough."  But, keeping that date is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a runner. 
To sum up foam rolling in a very simple way, it's an intense deep tissue massage you can give to yourself (read: cheaper and more convenient (and, I believe, more effective) than hitting up your neighborhood Massage Envy).  Foam rolling breaks up muscle knots that, if left alone, can lead to injury.  It also increases blood flow and allows for greater muscle productivity.  Sure, there is probably some science behind it all, but without putting you to sleep (or requiring me to google more than I'd like to), let me just tell you to TRUST ME.  Trust me and foam roll.  You'll thank me after you do.  Of course, you'll curse me while you do, but I'm cool with that.

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