Tight muscles? Try Foam Rolling & Stretching

Handsome Healthy Guy Doing an Exercise on a Mat with Foam Roller on his Upper Back

Tight hamstrings and calves, joint paint, sore muscles… sound familiar, runners? Especially after those longer runs, these sensations can be even more intense. If you want to conquer your best race and pace this year, recovery has to be just as important as your training. If you don’t take the time to give back to your body, the quality of your output isn’t going to be optimum. Try these recovery techniques to help ease muscle soreness & improve performance.

Handsome Healthy Guy Doing an Exercise on a Mat with Foam Roller on his Upper Back

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is excellent to do before and after your runs. Foam rolling, also known as “poor man’s massage” really digs into the muscle fibers to provide release. Some areas you will want to focus on are:

1. IT Band

The side of your thigh can oftentimes become extremely tight when running. Foam rolling out your IT band is a must for all athletes, including all you runners.

2. Quadriceps

Sometimes tight hamstrings can be the result of overactive quads. Foam rolling out your quadriceps and providing release can help reduce the tension on the hamstrings.

3. Calves & Shins

Calf aches and shin splints — be gone! Foam rolling out these areas can really ease these common runners’ ailments. In this video, you also learn more about foam rolling:

Latina Runner

Stretching

We all know stretching helps relieve tight muscles and improve recovery – but how many actually do it? Stretching is one of those things that is oftentimes much easier said than done – let’s change that this year! Try these stretches out before and/or after your runs as well as on your days off. Hold them for approximately 30 seconds each.

1. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Tight hips? This is really the perfect stretch for runners – and also those who find themselves seated at a desk or in a car for most of the day. Maybe you are both a runner and work an office job, get up periodically to do this stretch at your desk.

2. Standing Quadriceps Stretch

Most probably know this stretch and it’s perfect for those hard working running legs. If you have really tight hamstrings, or even experience some knee pain during your runs, try doing this stretch and foam rolling out the quads before your run to really get them warmed up, awake and ready for action.

3. Standing Calf Stretch

How many of you have been running and then all of a sudden – calf cramp?? Presuming you are eating enough bananas (potassium), this stretch should not be skipped. Stretching the calves is definitely a must if you’re including inclined runs during your training.

Check out this video for full instructions on the stretches mentioned above:

Do you have any particular recovery techniques that are on the top of your list? Share them with us in the comments.

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