Wednesday Wisdom: My Foam Roller is My BFF

Hey everyone!  I can’t believe it’s day 7 of the Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak!  I started off pretty strong in milage, but quickly realized that I probably was not prepared for this challenge.  Going from a running schedule of 3 runs per week, most of which were 3-5 miles each, to running every day without a break was harder than I thought.  I’ve been having a nagging pain in the muscles on the back of my left knee, so I’ve recently been taking more running breaks than usual.  After my 6 miler on Saturday, I was so tired and in so much pain that I really thought about giving up.  Not only did the muscles on the back of my knees hurt, but my left hip started hurting too and it became difficult to walk.  At that point I realized that I can’t really do this challenge the way that most other runners do it – I have to do this challenge in a way that’s healthy and safe for me.  So I dialed back my milage to only 1 mile a day, foam rolled twice a day, and iced all my painful muscles.  Since Saturday I’ve seen a huge difference in the way I’m feeling!  I’m still tired and achey, but it’s manageable now and I can definitely see myself getting through the next 28 days without having to give up!  I realized that the point of this challenge isn’t to do as many miles as you possibly can, but just to make sure that running is a fun part of your daily routine during the holidays.  And even though it feels really weird to only run one mile at a time, I’m willing to take it slow to make sure that I get through this challenge in one piece.  But I should be back to my usual 3 milers soon (maybe later today?  The weather is so warm here in Philly!)

So for those of you feeling more pain in your legs than usual, I strongly recommend using a foam roller after each run! I was kind of not interested in using a foam roller for a while, but now I can’t belive how much time I wasted being sore after running!  I found my foam roller for $15 at TJ Maxx, but I know they have them at Target and so many places online too.  Then I had to figure out how to use the thing!  Luckily Runner’s World has this amazing article, complete with videos that demonstrate how to target each muscle.  The first time I used my foam roller I felt really silly and was falling all over the place.  But I was amazed by how much it actually hurt to use it!  After my first foam rolling session I breifly thought about not using it anymore, but I did have to admit that I felt better the next day after using it.  Now I’m at the point where it doesn’t even hurt to use it in some spots anymore!  The pain on the back of my knees is much more manageable and I’m defintiely going to continue to use my foam roller at least once a day so that I can stay injury free.

20131204-085841.jpgMy new BFF (it even matches my running shoes!)

Have you been foam rolling but you still feel some pain after a long run?  I also absolutely love the advice from Matters of Course about how to not die after a long run.  While I’m not really down with the ice bath idea (yet), I’m beginning to realize that by skipping all of that post-run recovery stuff I’m actually hurting myself in the long run.  Runners have to do more than just run, you know?

Do you have a foam roller?  What else do you do to stay injury-free while running, especially during a run streak?

20 thoughts on “Wednesday Wisdom: My Foam Roller is My BFF

  1. I have a love/hate relationship with my foam roller. My spouse thinks I am nutty when I am writhing in pain massaging my IT band. I sometimes chicken out and can’t handle the discomfort, but really need get over the mental hurdle.

    Good luck on the streak. When I did the one during the summer, I got so sick from not resting.

    1. Oh no don’t tell me that!!! JK but seriously I feel awful but I’m trying to convince myself that I can keep going.

      My husband hates when I foam roll! I actually cried on Saturday when I did my hips but now it’s getting so much easier. I usually start rolling in a nearby spot and then slooooowly move towards the painful spot until I can handle it. It’s awful but I can tell it’s helping so I currently love my foam roller!

    1. So true 🙂 I actually brought it to my parent’s house on Thanksgiving to use after my Turkey Trot since I can’t be away from it for too long. We’re kind of inseparable at this point!

  2. It’s good that you can decide what is best for your bod. I’m pretty sure that 7 runs a week would end with leaving my legs behind on the pavement at some point. Also…I’m not super experienced with foam rollers, but $15 seems like a steal! They’re way more than that at Target! Another reason to love TJ Maxx!

    1. Everything running related that I own has been bought for half price at TJ Maxx! Except my running shoes since they don’t carry Mizunos 😦

    1. Yay for christmas foam rolling! I’m currently working on a Christmas running gift list for my husband since mine wants to get me running stuff as well!

  3. You need to do what works for you during the streak. Personally I’m dealing with injuries myself so the most I’m doing is 3, averaging 1-2 mostly. I want to be consistent but also don’t want to maim myself in the process! 😉 Hoping you’re feeling good soon.

    1. I’m currently training for the Disney Princess Half in February so I’m still trying to get my long runs in on the weekends even with all of this run streaking! I know it’s not the best time for me to be doing this, but it definitely helps me get off the couch every night to go running. I’m just nervous about getting 6 miles in this weekend, especially after the Ugly Sweater Run on Saturday!

  4. I always hear that foam rollers are essential for training, but I still haven’t tried one! This post inspires me to go find one 🙂 Great job keeping up on the streaking challenge! I wasn’t brave enough to do it.

    1. Do it! It will hurt at first but it’s seriously helped me so much. And check TJ Maxx or Marshalls since they’re so cheap there!

  5. I completely understand your foam-rolling obsession. I have The Stick and it feels like my legs punish me when I don’t use it!
    I’m glad you adjusted your approach to continue with the Run Streak – health is more important in the long run than squeezing more miles in.
    Also I love Running Hutch’s blog! 🙂

  6. I really want The Stick! Especially after using my foam roller and seeing how much it helped. That’s definitely getting added to my running Christmas list! And yeah, her post was so funny! I bookmarked it so that I can go back and figure out what to do after my (future) long runs!

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