Marathon Training – Beyond the Miles: FOAM ROLLING & STRETCHING

Before we begin let’s review how I’ve been doing on my Beyond the Miles training this past week!

Hydration

My hydration has continued to improve. I am going through 3-4 of my Camelbak water bottles each day and am making sure to drink Gatorade or take my Salt Stick electrolyte tablets after hard workouts. My max volume of water consumed this week was 132 ounces!

photo 3

Sleep

After learning how important sleep was last week I’ve really made an effort to increase the amount of time I spent sleeping each night. I increased my average time asleep from 6 hours and 40 minutes the week before…

photo 2 (1)

to 7 hours and 35 minutes this past week. That’s almost an extra hour of sleep every night!

photo 1The most helpful tip that I’ve put into practice is setting a pre-determined bed time. No matter what is on TV, or what I am in the middle of doing at 9:30 I am in bed with the lights out!

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Today’s Beyond the Miles topic is post-run stretching and foam rolling. Let’s review some of the benefits of each of these practices.

From Runner’s World, stretching on a regular basis helps your body…

  1. be more efficient
  2. gain more strength
  3. see and increase in endurance
  4. have better range of motion
  5. be less injury-prone
  6. recover faster

Foam rolling…

  1. Stretches muscles and tendons
  2. Breaks down scar tissue
  3. Increases blood flow and circulation
  4. Improves your muscles’ range of motion
  5. Increases flexibility
  6. Releases toxins
  7. Reduces inflammation
  8. Gives you the same benefits of a sports massage – without the cost [Source]

During my first year of post-collegiate running it was really easy to skip stretching after my runs. I was more concerned about not being late to work than making sure I did the right thing for my body. I also never got around to buying a foam roller so both stretching and rolling out became non-existent in my running routine.

Now I see how wrong I was to think that. I got better about stretching but it wasn’t until Henri got me a foam roller for Christmas that I realized how tight the muscles in my legs really were!

Foam Roller

I was just a little excited about my new foam roller!

Now I make sure to stretch and foam roll for 15 minutes after every run and if I’m feeling especially sore I’ll do another 15-30 minutes in the evening while we are just lounging around watching TV. I can’t even begin to describe the difference that I feel in my runs each day. Stretching and foam rolling should be a part of your daily routine – your muscles will thank you, I promise!

Some of my favorite products for stretching/rolling out are…

The Stick – I have literally had this thing since high school. It is a great travel tool to roll out any knots that you have when you can’t carry a giant foam cylinder around with you. I always being them to meets with me to warm up my muscles before races. You can buy them here or at any local running shop!

DSCN3993

The Orb – I love this little ball, I got it as a wedding gift from a friend (Clearly I have some of the best friends in the world!). My favorite way to use this is on my glutes and my feet. It really localizes the pressure so be careful if you are really sore – you may want to ease into using this. You can buy the Orb online from Pro-Tec Athletics here.

DSCN3999

My Foam Roller – This is my true love. I spent about 85% of my time foam rolling with this baby. It is great for relieving pain/soreness in all your muscles! This one is a must have. I like the long version, but if you are tight on space they also have rollers that are half the width.

DSCN3997

I generally follow the same sequence each day when I roll out. I focus on the seven muscles that give me the most problems: my back, glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads, adductors, and IT band. My post-run foam rolling routine usually goes a like this…

Foam Rolling Sequence

And the sequence in photos (photo cred to my lovely hubby)!

Back/Shoulders

Foam Rolling Back

Glutes/Piriformis – While sitting on the roller, cross one foot over the opposite knee and lean on one butt cheek. Roll back and forth in this position. Repeat on the opposite side.

pirimormis rolling #1 piriformis rolling #2

Hamstrings

Hamstrings Foam Rolling

Calves

Calves Foam Rolling

** If you want a deeper pressure on your calves cross one foot over the opposite knee…

Calves Foam Rolling - Crossed Knees

… or place one foot on the roller for an “in-between” pressure.

Foam Rolling Calves with one foot on roller

Quads

quads foam rolling

For a deeper pressure in the quads simply bend your knees.

quad foam rolling/knees bent

Adductors – please disregard the awkward photo for this one, its the best we could do! haha

Adductor foam rolling

IT Band – It is hard to tell in the photo but in this I am primarily rolling out the IT Band of my back leg. My front knee is resting on the rolling simply for support

IT Band Rolling

And there you have it – my everyday session with my foam roller! Have a great Wednesday!

Have you been doing better with your hydration and sleep? What steps have you taken to improve in these areas?

How often do you stretch after your runs? Do you foam roll?

** I was not compensated by any of the products that I spoke of in this post. They are all items that I personally use and just wanted to share with you all!

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11 thoughts on “Marathon Training – Beyond the Miles: FOAM ROLLING & STRETCHING

  1. I foam roll and stretch at least my leg muscles after every run. I definitely didn’t do any of that in college but I just can’t stand the thought of another injury and all the extra work really does make me feel fresher 🙂

  2. I try to stretch after every run, sometimes it’s real short, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. I definitely stretch after every long run though. I need to get into foam rolling though. I don’t have a foam roller though. Are they very expensive?

    • Some of the “specialty ones” can start to get a little pricey but you can find some pretty standard foam rollers for $15-20. I would recommend checking out a local running store – they might have better prices than a Sports Authority or Dick’s Sporting Goods.

  3. I can totally relate to this post! I finally got a GRID foam roller after too many injuries resulting from improper stretching. It was a bit pricey but totally worth it. I try to foam roll after every run, paying special attention to my IT bands and on back-to-back long runs I foam roll before the second long run as well. As for hydration – I try to drink 4 camelback bottles a day and one with NUUN the days after tough workouts! I haven’t tried the Orb but it looks painful!!

  4. Lauren I love this! Especially the demonstrations 🙂 the cross leg trick is nifty and instead of an orb I use a lacrosse ball, but think I will put that on the wish list. Talk about tension release!

  5. I have been sooo bad at stretching this past year and I don’t even own a foam roller!! Yikes! I know these are both no-no’s and I need to fix it soon. I do well with drinking water but I could definitely work on getting to bed earlier so that I can sleep more.

  6. Pingback: Marathon Training – Beyond the Miles: CARBO LOADING | Will Run for Boston

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