With running participation in the United States growing 70% in the past decade, more people are reaping the many benefits of this great way to exercise. However, this jump in the number of runners also has led to more aches, pains and injuries that accompany this high-impact activity. Recreational and elite runners both are familiar with sore, tense muscles, nagging issues or common injuries such as shin splints, hamstring pulls or iliotbial band syndrome.
The good news is that today, tools are available that enable runners to train smarter to stay healthy and competitive. Any runner knows the angst in being sidelined with an injury, and the discomfort and anxiety until being able to log miles again. Now they can proactively manage their training by taking advantage of various ways to address muscular issues.
Runners can take care of their muscles by stretching often, immersing in ice baths or hot tubs, using foam rollers or medicine balls for self-massage, getting professional massage or acupuncture treatments or trying the new Roll Recovery. A smart combination of methods ultimately can make the difference in terms of reducing risk of injuries and extending longevity. Or course, injuries need to be treated by a physician, but stiffness and soreness typically can be alleviated with self-treatment.
Popular ways that runners manage muscular stress include:
- Flexibility exercises – Runners should stretch after their cool down, targeting the lower back, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, hips and calves at a minimum. Static stretches should be held steady for 15-60 seconds each, without bouncing. Stretching loosens muscles and increases range of motion.
- Ice baths and hot tubs – Cold therapy helps combat the small tears in muscle fibers and resultant soreness caused by intense or repetitive exercise. Theice bath constricts blood vessels, flushes waste products and reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. Hot tubs help increase circulation and loosen stiff muscles.
- Foam rollers and medicine balls – These release tension from the muscles and myofascial tissue; while the foam roller is helpful with the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, a hard ball like a medicine ball can more deeply treat the hips and glutes.
- Professional massage and acupuncture – Hands-on muscular manipulation provides enormous benefits in terms of decreasing stress, promoting range of motion and stimulating circulation. And some runners find noticeable relief from acupuncture, which encourages blood flow and healing.
Post runs, the new Roll Recovery helps treat any muscular and connective tissue issues. This one-of-a-kind tool functions similar to a foam roller – only better.
The patent-pending R8 Roll Recovery is a deep tissue massage roller comprised of a reinforced plastic frame with eight polyurethane wheels and strong torsion springs that deliver tension-releasing pressure to body. This FDA medical device self-adjusts for different body sizes and muscle groups, and enables runners to address the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, IT bands, calves, shins and upper body.
With the Roll Recovery, runners can break up muscle adhesions and loosen tight muscles, stimulate myofascial release, boost circulation and blood flow, flush out lactic acid and decrease inflammation. With more targeted pressure than a foam roller, the compact R8 more effectively treats the muscles and connective tissue, and can be used while standing, seated or lying down.
The Roll Recovery is ideally used before and immediately after runs, and can be used in between sessions as well to alleviate stiffness and promote range of motion. Although Roll Recovery can be a “hurts so good” experience, elite runners attest to its value.
Runners should employ a variety of methods to maintain range of motion and alleviate soreness to help reduce risk of injuries and enhance performance.