Runners may find that a foam roller can be very beneficial before and after a run. Most of the time, a foam roller is used as a form or rehab for injured muscles. However, it can serve as a tool for warming up muscles before a run as well as part of your cooldown afterward.
Using a roller helps to break down the knots in the muscles which help to prepare the muscles for stretching. Overall, consistent use of a foam roller can improve circulation before and after a workout.
How Foam Rolling Works
Foam rolling is also known as myofascial release. The fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds the muscle. When muscles break down and repair, the fascia shortens and thickens to help protect the underlying muscle.
Tight fascia can cause soreness and restricted movement. Using a form roller helps to loosen and stretch tight fascia allowing the muscles to move freely. You can become less prone to injury and more mobile.
A Foam Roller Runner Routine
One of the first areas to target would be the calves. Place the foam roller under one calf while leaning back on your hands and proceed to roll your calf back and forth on top of the roller. Repeat with your other calf.
Place your outer thigh on top of the roller and roll back and forth covering the length of your thigh. Repeat on the other side.
Place one side of your buttock on top of the roller while placing your foot on the opposite knee for added pressure. Roll back and forth and repeat on the other side.
Place the foam roller under your thighs and roll back and forth between the back of your knees and your buttocks. You can also roll one leg at a time for added pressure.
Place the front of one thigh on top of the foam roller and roll back and forth between the top of your hip and your knee. Repeat with the other thigh.
Foam Rolling for Everyone
Whether or not you are a runner, I believe using a foam roller can benefit everyone who exercises on a regular basis. Regardless of the types of workouts that are done, almost everyone is bound to experience the tightness around their muscles.
Without proper release of the knots in the muscles, injury is more likely to occur the next time you are working out. Regular use should improve circulation, reduce joint pain, improve mobility, and balance. Making foam rolling a part of your warm-up and cooldown routine can be quite beneficial in the long term.