Foam Rolling for Runners

Love to run? Keep your body injury-free with foam rolling for runners.

This post is sponsored by HoMedics® as part of the #NotGonnaStop campaign. All opinions–as always!–are my own. I appreciate your support of the brands that make this blog possible!

In a recent Instagram post, I talked about how I pretty much completely stopped running after crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon last April. I had ZERO desire to go for even short runs so … I didn’t. There are so many other ways to get a quality cardio workout in so why force running? I instead turned to spin, boxing, bootcamp and HIIT workouts for a sweat and for the last year have probably only gone for a handful of runs, none of which were longer than four or five miles.

Maybe it’s the warm weather creeping in or the fact that it’s marathon weekend in Boston, but it’s only just recently that I’ve started to get the itch to run again. And like with most activities you haven’t done in a while, the first couple long(er) runs left me super sore last week (my calves!!).

Foam rolling is important for mobility and injury prevention, and I’m never more vigilant about doing it than when I’m running regularly. With perfect timing, I was recently sent a package of HoMedics® Sports Recovery Massagers (available on Target.com!) and have been putting them to good use.

Love to run? Keep your body injury-free with foam rolling for runners.What you won’t be able to see in these pictures is that all the HoMedics® Sports Recovery Massagers include vibration for a deeper, more effective, more hurts-so-good massage. I especially like using the vibrating option when I’m pinpointing a knot. I’ll roll over the muscle first and when I hit a sweet spot, turn on the vibration and press firmly on it for 20-30 seconds.

Everyone can benefit from foam rolling, but with the running spark reignited in me and the Boston Marathon on Monday, let’s go over some muscles to focus on in particular if you’re a runner.

Foam Rolling for Runners

The following muscles are the ones I show the most love with the foam roller when I’m running frequently. Every body is different and we’re all working with different muscle imbalances, injuries and workout regimens so think of this as a general guide, not an exact foam rolling prescription for you individually. Especially if you’re injured, check with a doctor or PT before whipping out the foam rollerit can makes things worse to roll directly on an injury.

You’ll want to spend at least 1-2 minutes on each muscle, slowly rolling up and down, stopping when you hit a sweet spot (knot). Apply pressure to those knots for 20-30 seconds before continuing the larger rolling motions.

I’m using the HoMedics® Gladiator™ Vibration Foam Roller in the below pictures which has battery-operated vibration for an even deeper massage. There are three vibration intensities to choose from and I usually stay on the lowest one while doing the big rolling and then the highest for pinpointing knots. The roller also has multiple foam textures on its surface so you get a variety of sensations. It also has a hidden compartment so that you can store your keys, ear buds, etc. if you’re bringing it to the gym.

Love to run? Keep your body injury-free with foam rolling for runners.

Quads | Unless my quads are particularly tight, I typically roll one leg at a time so to increase the pressure. As pictured at the start of this post, I’ll also sometimes use The HoMedics® Vertex Vibration Stick Roller which has six spinning rollers and is of a harder material than the HoMedics® Gladiator™ Vibration Foam Roller. I roll up and down the center; up and down at a slight angle to the right; up and down at a slight angle to the left.

Adductors | When rolling out the adductors, place the foam roller lengthwise alongside you and come into a half frog position. 

Calves | With the other muscles, foam rolling is a hurts-so-good feeling. With my calves, it’s full on torture. A long time ago I blogged about my experience getting a runner’s assessment and the trainer working on me actually called over her colleague to watch what was happening with my calves because it was literally as if she were rolling over marbles. Oy vey. When I’m holding on a knot (which is every centimeter), I’ll do so with my foot flexed and then with it pointed to really try to work it loose.

Glutes | I’ll cross my leg over the knee to better hit the piriformis (sometimes I feel like a ball is more effective), but when I do the glute max and med, I usually like having the leg out straight.

TFL / IT Band | When it comes to the IT Band, you need to think about foam rolling the muscles to which it attaches. I usually start with my glutes and TFL and then gradually make my way down towards the tibia. As I roll down the IT Band, I don’t roll directly on my outer thigh, but rather lean my body forward at an angle so it’s more the outer/front thigh area.

Love to run? Keep your body injury-free with foam rolling for runners.

Last but not least—that’s an understatement, actually. Last and BEST, the feet. I could massage my feet all day. The HoMedics® Atlas Vibration Acu-Node Massager offers a gentle vibration and its acu-node texture delivers pinpointed pressure that my arches love.

All these HoMedics® Sports Recovery Massagers and more are available at Target.com, HoMedics.com and in-store at Rite Aid.

Love to run? Keep your body injury-free with foam rolling for runners.

What’s the most painful (in a “good” way) muscle/muscle group for you to foam roll? Anyone like me and say calves?!

 

Deck of Cards Slider Workout

This deck of cards slider workout is a fun way to switch it up! Each suit corresponds to a different slider exercise and the number tells you the reps.

For today’s deck of cards slider workout, you apply the same rules as last week’s to four new exercises. Side note: It’s by complete accident that I’m dressed like a deck of cards in this post. 😉

Deck of Cards Workout (Slider Exercises)


If you don’t have sliders, you can use a dish towel on hardwood floors or paper plates on carpet. If you’re in the market for a pair, I use these double-sided sliders (on sale for $14) that work on both hardwood and carpet.

You’ll need a deck of cards for this workout. There are also smartphone apps for deck of cards workouts you can download if you want to take this to the gym. Shuffle the deck and you’ll flip one card over at a time until you’ve gone through the entire deck. Each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number of the cards tells you how many reps to do.

Face cards = 10 reps
Aces = 11 reps
Joker = 15 reps, exercise of your choice

As with all workouts, make sure to warm up beforehand. This 5-minute warm up is a great one if you need some guidance!

This deck of cards slider workout is a fun way to switch it up! Each suit corresponds to a different slider exercise and the number tells you the reps.

Deck of Cards Slider Exercises

CLUBS – Lunge Slide to Single Leg Bear | Start in a low lunge with your right foot forward, knee bent to 90 degrees and stacked over the ankle. The ball of your back left foot should be planted on a slider. Hinge forward at the hips so that the weight of your torso is slightly forward, over the target right leg. This will allow you to keep your back foot light. From this starting position, slide your back left foot forward, bending the knee in and staying low on your right side. Slide it back out behind you into the starting position.

Bring your hands to the ground and extend your right leg back behind you in a single-leg plank. Keeping the right leg hovering and your hips at shoulder height, bend the left knee in and then slide the leg back out into a plank. Step the right foot forward between your hands and lift your torso up to the starting low lunge position. That’s one rep. Complete the designated rep number on the right and then left.

DIAMONDS – Marching Forearm Pike | Start in a forearm plank position with your feet on sliders. Keeping your legs straight and heels lifted, pike your hips up into the air as high as you can. Lower them back down to a plank position. Do a marching plank, pressing up to hands one arm at a time and then lowering back down to forearms.  1 pike + 1 march = 1 rep. 

SPADES – Squat Jack to Heel Click | This is the only exercise not requiring the sliders. Its purpose is to provide cardio blasts throughout the workout. Start in a low squat position with feet wider than hips’ width. Staying low, jump your feet in together in a narrow squat and then back out wide. From here, jump up, tapping your heels together midair and landing back down in a wide low squat. That’s one rep.

HEARTS – Snake Crunch to Side Plank Rotation | In a plank position, feet on sliders, hands stacked under shoulders on an exercise mat, cross your right foot in front of the left and drop your heels so that you’re heel-to-toe with toes pointing towards the left. This is your starting position. From here, start bending your knees in towards your left elbow, sliding your feet forward. When you’re in as far as you can go without lowering the hips, slide the feet back out, straightening your knees back into your starting position. Release your left hand from the floor, opening up into a side plank. Return it to the floor. That’s one rep. Complete the designated rep number on the right and then left.

This deck of cards slider workout is a fun way to switch it up! Each suit corresponds to a different slider exercise and the number tells you the reps.

WEARING | Booty by Brabants leggings // Puppies Make Me Happy Pugs ‘N Roses tank (this style is sold out, but they have lots of other adorable stuff for fellow dog lovers!)

Alright, that’s all for me today. Hope your week is off to a great start! 

Deck of Cards Workout (Bodyweight Exercises)

Deck of Cards Workout: Bodyweight Exercises - each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number tells you how many reps to do. Flip over one card at a time until you make your way through the entire deck.

I’m going to start each week in April by sharing a deck of cards workout on the blog. This first one is all bodyweight exercises, but I’ll be incorporating equipment into the others (sliders, dumbbells, kettlebells). If you haven’t heard of this structure, it’s a really fun way to switch things up!

I’m not going to put a YouTube version of these workouts on my channel because unless you went through the whole thing at the exact same pace as me, it’d be a pain–you’d have to pause or fast forward the video after each card was turned over. Doesn’t make sense! I will have a video preview though so that you can see the exercises in action. These will be posted to my Facebook page, Instagram and embedded here. And for all my YouTube subscribers–don’t worry! I’m going to still post other workouts in video format throughout the month in addition to these.

Deck of Cards Workout (Bodyweight Exercises)


All you’ll need for this workout is a deck of cards. There are also smartphone apps for deck of cards workouts you can download if you want to take this to the gym. Shuffle the deck and you’ll flip one card over at a time until you’ve gone through the entire deck. Each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number of the cards tells you how many reps to do.

Face cards = 10 reps
Aces = 11 reps
Joker = 15 reps, exercise of your choice

As with all workouts, make sure to warm up beforehand. This 5-minute warm up is a great one if you need some guidance!

Deck of Cards Workout: Bodyweight Exercises - each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number tells you how many reps to do. Flip over one card at a time until you make your way through the entire deck.

Deck of Cards Bodyweight Exercises

CLUBS – Surfer Get Ups | Start laying on your stomach with hands by your side. Squeeze your back and glutes to lift your chest and hands off the ground. Lower your hands back to the ground by your rib cage. From here, you’re going to explosively press up and jump into a low squat with one foot in front and the other staggered behind (think of a surfer jumping up on the board to catch a wave). From here, bring your hands back to the ground as you jump your feet back into plank lower your body to the ground with control. Repeat from the top, this time landing in low squat with your other foot in front.

DIAMONDS – Bicycle Sit Ups | Start laying on your back with your hands lightly behind your head, elbows bent out to the sides and chest open. Engage your abs, pulling your bellybutton down to the floor as you lift your legs off the ground about six inches to a hover. This is your starting position. From here, bend your right knee in towards your chest as you crunch your left elbow across to meet it, lifting your back off the floor like a twisting sit-up. Your left leg should remain outstretched in a hover as you do this. Slowly return back to the starting position and continue, crunching in the same direction the entire time. The goal is to keep the legs off the ground the whole time, but if you need to modify, your left heel can quickly rest on the floor in between reps. Complete the full number of reps on the right and then the left.

SPADES – Jump Tucks | Jump up into the air, using your core to pull your knees up towards your chest. Lower them quickly in time to land. You’ll want to bend your knees, sinking into a squat to prep for the jump, and you’ll land this same way, sinking into a squat to absorb the landing. As you jump up bring your hands in front of your rib cage and try to hit them with your knees.

Low(er) Impact Modification: Jump Squats. If you have a history of knee pain or are otherwise at risk of injury with high-impact movements, do jump squats instead of jump tucks. The landing is gentler.

HEARTS – Hovering Fire Hydrants | Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, hands stacked under shoulders, knees stacked under hips. Plant the balls of your feet on the floor and lift your knees to hover a couple inches off the floor. Keeping your right leg in that 90-degree angle, lift that knee out and up in a wing motion (like a dog lifting to take a pee), opening up at the hip. Bring it back in close to the starting position. As you do these, pay attention to your core: You want a straight spine, protecting the low back by pulling your abs in tight the whole time. You also want your hips to stay right around shoulder height, so keep your supporting leg at a hover; resist the urge to straighten your stationary knee. Complete the full number of reps on the right and then the left.

Deck of Cards Workout: Bodyweight Exercises - each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number tells you how many reps to do. Flip over one card at a time until you make your way through the entire deck.

WEARING | leggings c/o Terez // tank c/o Aurum

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a deck of cards workout, but I’ve got a bunch from the archives on this page you can check out.