We hope your Chevron City to Surf for Activ recovery has been going well, but if your recovery has been going a little slower than expected then check out the below tips from our friends at Myall.
Foam rolling, sometimes referred to as myofascial release, works on the muscle “knots” in your body to release tension. Think of it as a self-massage to help your body recover after a long run so that you can avoid any injuries and excessive soreness.
Those ‘knots’ you feel in your body are technical trigger points or fascial adhesions. Fascia is the connective tissue in the body that is targeted in foam rolling (if you are curious about fascia works in the body, head to the Myall blog on myofascial release here). Below are our top five tips for post-run foam rolling, to have you back on the track in no time.
Timing is important
After a long run, you should wait at least two to six hours before foam rolling. Make sure that you drink a lot of water in this window, so your muscles have time to replenish fluids. Be gentle and attentive during that first roll session, spending a good 3-5 minutes on each muscle group. The connective tissue needs time to soften and release so you should be gentle and patient, especially on the first few rolls after the race. In the following days, you can begin to put more pressure on your muscles and fascia; we recommend spending at least 15-30 minutes a day rolling in the week after your run.
Focus on your IT Band
Your IT Band, especially for runners, is like the king of the lower body. If you experience knee or hip pain after a run, this is the culprit. If you give this area a lot of love when you’re rolling out your muscles, you’ll be surprised how everything else loosens up with it and takes the pressure off your joints. You should be gentle with it though because it compensates for your entire lower body, it can become really, tight quickly. So before you start rolling your IT Band, we recommend you give the other areas of your body some time to release first. Start by rolling out your glutes and hips, spend at least 5 minutes on each of these areas and then move onto your IT Band.
Utilise different foam rollers and roller balls
Not all roller balls are created equal. Like different sorts of running shoes and exercise equipment, they all have their unique functions, and to get the most out of your roll session, you should utilise them. Use the roller balls to roll out smaller muscle groups that need more precision – like your feet (don’t forget those) and neck. The larger foam roller can take care of the bigger groups, like your glutes and thighs. For harder to roll areas like your thoracic spine, there is a peanut-shaped roller that works wonders. If you want to get the most out of your roll sessions and recover effectively, definitely make use of specialised rollers.
Don’t over do it
You shouldn’t be in pain when foam rolling. Like your run – it’s okay to experience some level of discomfort, but you should stop if you’re in pain. If you are rolling so intensely that you are getting sweaty, you are probably going too hard. Take it slow and attentively. The aim is for recovery, so do it with that in mind. Think about it like physical therapy, a little bit of discomfort is necessary for long term healing, but if you are grimacing, you should pull back, so you don’t create injuries.
When in doubt, get some professional advice
As athletes, we want to be sure that we are doing the right things for our body, so we can continue seeing what it’s capable of and keep it in good form. It is possible to foam roll the wrong way – especially if you are unknowingly rolling out your joints. If you’ve never foam rolled or you’re curious about practising better foam rolling form, it’s essential to find a coach to help you learn the right movements for your body, especially if you have old injuries that need extra TLC.
At Myall Wellbeing we have physiotherapist and yoga teacher Kylie Pearsall leading an amazing 60 minute Roll and Release class. Kylie teaches you how to roll safely, how to use different sorts of rollers for different areas, and will help you with any of your problem areas. If you haven’t used your Chevron City to Surf for Activ yoga pass yet, then check out the Myall schedule to book yourself in (valid until the end of September).
For more articles on how Yoga or Speed Training can help you become a better, stronger, and faster runner read our features articles on the Chevron City to Surf for Activ News Feed.