Foam Rolling For Female Runners
When runners step up the mileage, a foam roller is one of the best bits of kit to keep muscle aches at bay. Here’s how to start foam rolling.
What Is A Foam Roller?
A foam roller is a cylinder of hard foam which you can buy from sports shops (or online). You roll parts of your body over it, using body weight, and this acts in the same way as a basic massage.
What Is Self Myofascial Release?
Myofascial release is a type of soft tissue therapy which can help relax muscles, increase bloodflow (and recovery), help fascia stretch and even boost lymphatic drainage. Self myofascial release is a form of the therapy you can do yourself: typically by using a foam roller.
How Do I Get Started?
You may need to follow visual instructions, so try Googling foam rolling exercises. But you can get started right away with these foam rolling techniques for runners: –
Lay on your back with the foam roller horizontally underneath your back. Lift your bottom and use your feet to push yourself away, rolling your back over the foam roller as you do so. Roll from the small of your back to your shoulders.
Sit on the foam roller with it horizontally under both hamstrings. Rest your hands behind you and roll back and forth, from the bottom to your knees, easing out the muscles at the back of your legs
Lay face down with the roller horizontally under your thighs and your feet off the ground. Use your hands to move yourself so you can roll over the foam roller, easing out your quads from hip to knee
Sit on your bottom, with the roller horizontally under your calves, and your hands behind you on the ground. Lift your bottom and use your hands to move your body so you roll your calves over the foam roller
Lie on your side with the foam roller sideways under your bottom leg. Gently and slowly move your body so you roll your IT band from hip to knee. Go gently!
After you’ve used your foam roller you can do some stretching to get deeper into the muscle.
The best times to foam roll are before a run (to gently warm up, ease out any stiffness and encourage blood flow) or in the evening after a day sitting at your desk or in the car, when soreness may have built up.