3 Ways Foam Rolling Can Help Runners
If you’re a runner, you spend a significant portion of the day on your feet during your workout. Your leg muscles are healthy, but also worked hard and worked often, putting the calves, quads, and glutes at higher risk for overuse or injury. Foam rolling, however, can help runners prevent or treat injuries, and at the very least, can loosen up muscle stiffness to put a new spring in your step.
Foam rolling can benefit runners in three major ways:
- Treat or Prevent IT Band Injuries: Static or active stretching cannot easily loosen up a tight IT band (the “iliotibial band” that runs down the outside of your thigh). IT band syndrome is prevalent in runners because this area works hard to stabilize the knee and hip, but rarely gets any relief from tension or overuse. Foam rolling the IT band regularly can loosen up tension in this area, helping to prevent overuse or strain, and refreshing the area after a hard run.
- Promote mobility: It makes sense that runners who are superior in mobility are therefore better runners. Stiff muscles can’t keep up with ten-milers, and if they do, they’ll be sore or injured the next day. Foam rolling key areas like the hamstrings, quads, IT band, and glutes will loosen up areas prone to stiffness or chronic fatigue, not only improving flexibility but preparing these muscles for intense work.
- Refresh muscles after long runs: Perhaps the best time to foam roll for runners is after long runs. Lactic acid can build up in the muscles after extended exertion, and foam rolling will help move this out of the muscles, leaving your legs feeling refreshed and ready to go for the next run.
Runners subject their bodies to intense exercise, and stiffness, fatigue, or overuse injury can often be the result if muscles—especially in the legs—are not given the attention and recovery they need. Foam rolling can be your secret recovery weapon, enabling you to prevent common overuse injuries like IT band syndrome, promote mobility, and recover after long, hard workouts.