Foam Rolling

This post appeared on my old blog, but it seems appropriate timing, given the 50 mile race this weekend.

Using a foam roller is one of the best things you can do for injury prevention, especially athletes. I became a fan when I increased my running volume to do a 100 mile race, but then really became a fan when I realized I didn't have to work as hard when my clients rolled between massages,  And while I love working hard for my clients, I love longevity even more. By foam rolling between sessions, I can be more effective during each treatment session and clients see better results. Rolling can also be an effective tool in repatterning movement patterns (but that's a whole other post).

You might feel tightness in your hamstrings and hips, but runners in particular benefit from rolling the quads and hip flexors. The front of the thigh and hip flexors often compensate for the glutes (especially if your glutes are weak), resulting in shortened, tight muscles. Working on hip extension is essential for this, both in your technique while running (work with a coach on this, or at least check out this book) and opening the front of the hips when you aren't running. Enter: the foam roll. It won't be the most pleasant when you start (read: painful), but you can adjust how much of your body weight goes onto the roller, and after even a few minutes daily, it will begin to feel much better. Your legs will thank you.

White River 50

I ran my first 50-miler seven years ago at the White River 50. As anyone who has run the race knows, Scott McCoubrey puts on an amazing event with flawless course marking, well-stocked aid stations, and tons of  fun and friendly volunteers. I was in massage school at the time and was pleasantly surprised by how good I felt after the race (which was good, since I was doing Cascade Crest the following month). It wasn't until a couple of years later when I had little aches and pains seemingly constantly, that it dawned on me that the weekly massages I received during school (yep, receiving an average of at least one hour of massage a week was required) kept me not only free from injury, but also decreased my recovery time.

Finishing White River in 2008

Finishing White River in 2008

So when I moved back to Seattle a few weeks ago and opened up shop last week, one of the first things I wanted to do was donate a couple of massage gift certificates to the race. Two people running on Saturday will get a certificate to help with their recovery.

If you don't get a certificate, however, mention White River when you schedule and I'll give you $10 off your massage.

Good luck and happy recovery!