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?!

 

5-Min Warm Up for At-Home Workouts

5-Minute Warm Up for At-Home Workouts - spending a few minutes on light cardio and dynamic stretches is important before your workout to avoid injuryLet’s talk about warm ups. Before any workout–and especially a high intensity one!–it’s important to prepare your body. Depending on the type of workout you’re about to do and any muscle imbalances or recovering injuries you have, a proper warm up will vary.

Warming Up for Your Workout 101

In general, the components of a solid warm up are:

  • Light Cardio | 5-10 minutes on your favorite cardio machine at the gym will do. Gradually increase the pace (think brisk walk, ending with a brisk jog). If you’re at home, you could walk/jog around the block. If you’re short on time and have no equipment, well, that’s why I made this 5-minute warm up video! Bodyweight exercises work, too–no space required.
  • Dynamic (Active) Stretching | When most people think of stretching, they think of holding a position in stillness for a prolonged period of time. I’m not talking about that–personally, I save static stretching for post-workout. Before a workout, focus on functional movements that are going to facilitate the range of motion needed to complete the exercises you’re about to do: actively stretch. We’ll do a series of movements to open up the hip flexors, low body, shoulders, core and arms.

Self-mayofascial release (SMR) techniques like foam rolling or trigger point are optional before a workout. If you’re super tight in a certain area to the point that it’d severely hinder a normal range of motion, I’d recommend foam rolling the problem area before the dynamic stretching and cardio portions of your warm up. Otherwise, I think it’s fine to omit. Personally, I prefer to foam roll at the end of a long day or on rest days and spend a solid 20 minutes sprawled out on my floor with my roller while watching TV (and most likely making odd moaning noises). One example of a time I would foam roll before a workout is with long distance runs. My calves are super tight so while I was training for the Boston marathon, I always did some SMR on them before running. Helped a lot!

5-Minute Warm Up for At-Home Workouts

This warm up was made with the workouts I post to the blog in mind. We’ll start with 2 minutes of cardio exercises (4 moves, 15 seconds each, twice through) to gradually increase the heart rate. We’ll then do 3 minutes of dynamic stretches to open up the body and prepare it for intense movement.

It’s worth it to take the extra five minutes and warm up before HIIT workouts. It makes a world of difference when it comes to injury prevention! Could you spend more time warming up? Definitely. And in some cases you should. I’m just being realistic with this sequence: If you’re doing a 15-minute interval workout from my blog do you really want to spend that same amount of time preparing for the workout? My guess is no. Always listen to your body: If you need more time to ease into your workout, do just that.

5-Minute Warm Up for At-Home Workouts - spending a few minutes on light cardio and dynamic stretches is important before your workout to avoid injury

WEARING | Fabletics leggings (get your first outfit for $25) // Lululemon tank (old, shop current selection HERE) // adidas neo sneakers

Enjoy your evening! Sorry this post is coming at you so late–I could not get my sh*t together today!! Maybe it was the rainy weather, but I was so ridiculously unproductive. Unless taking a nap, browsing Donald Trump memes, and stalking 20-year-old Instagram-famous models on the internet (don’t ask) counts as productivity. In that case … NAILED IT.

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A Stay at Watermark Seaport & 10-Minute Guided Stretching Routine for Runners

10-Minute Guided Stretching Routine for Runners (or anyone with tight hips!) -- video included

I recently was invited to spend the night at the Watermark Seaport and shoot some content for the blog while there. I love fun projects like this around Boston!

Today’s post is a long one, but a good one. First I’m going to give you a little visual tour of the beautiful new residential building and then we’ll get to a guided stretching routine that’s perfect for runners (or really anyone with tight hips!).

Watermark Seaport

Watermark Seaport is a collection of luxury rental high-rise apartments and modern lofts in–you guessed it–Boston’s Seaport District. This neighborhood is exploding with development; I swear every time I venture over there’s a new building being constructed or a new retailer setting up shop. In addition to the residential expansion, you have GE moving its headquarters nearby, a laundry list of other corporations, and national retailers, restaurants (By Chloe!!) and fitness studios/gyms all in the works. It’s an exciting time for the Seaport! 

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Watermark has a prime location as one of the few buildings on its side of Seaport Blvd that has unobstructed views of the water. I got to tour one of the unoccupied Penthouse units … ummmm WOW. Not for those of us ballin’ on a budget, but talk about hashtag apartment goals. There are studio units on the more affordable end of the spectrum (still priced accordingly to the luxury building keep in mind) which are also gorgeous. Think hardwood floors, modern appliances and lots of sunlight. They invited me to stay in one of their one-bedroom guest suites and I may or may not have cried at the sight of an in-unit washer-dryer (Joe’s gym clothes smell like dead bodies so this is my #1 priority in my next apartment haha).

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The amenities available to residents of Watermark are pretty flipping amazing. The second floor common areas offer lots of seating, wi-fi, coffee station, pool table, televisions, dining area for group events and get-togethers, and floor-to-ceiling windows streaming in natural light. During my visit, I spent the afternoon doing work here.

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With an emphasis on wellness, Watermark Seaport also offers a full gym of equipment, machines and free weights as well as a separate room for yoga, stretching and small group classes. It opens out onto a patio with big glass doors that allow sunlight to stream into the room. On nice days, you can open up the doors for an awesome outdoor experience indoors. The television in this room has Fitness On Demand services so that you can browse through all sorts of workout videos. 

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I took advantage of this peaceful, sunny room to shoot a guided stretching video for you. It’s great for anyone but especially if you run frequently (lots of hip work!). For more pictures of Watermark Seaport check out their Instagram.

10-Minute Guided Stretching Routine for Runners

10-Minute Guided Stretching Routine for Runners (or anyone with tight hips!) -- video included

Stretching and mobility work is so important for injury prevention and all-around fitness, but if you’re like me, you often rush through it after a workout. When I was training for the marathon, I knew it was vital that I take the time to foam roll and stretch after a run but–especially on those long days–I was mentally done with working out when I got home and found myself quickly rolling out and “stretching” with a half-assed effort. I just wanted to get on with the day!

Regular yoga classes and videos were helpful because it was like guided stretching. I was forced to hold stretches and dedicate the time to mobility. If you’re a runner in Boston, I highly recommend Cara Gilman’s yoga classes. She’s a runner herself and I found the majority of her classes to be designed with running in mind–so clutch!

This 10-minute video I put together will stretch the general areas that are typically tight and overworked if you run frequently. That being said, everyone’s muscle imbalances are different, so this routine is far from comprehensive. I think of it as a compilation of the stretches I personally make sure to do when I don’t feel like stretching. Ughhh I just want to be done with this workout, but I’ll take 10 minutes to hit the necessities. I’m not a yoga instructor, so while there’s a little bit of flow from one stretch to another, the focus is on the static holds.

Ideally, foam roll before doing these static stretches.

We’ll stay on each stretch for about 30 seconds. If you want to hold them longer and take your time moving through them, check out the pictorial below and go through the stretches on your own.

In the video we do a bit of flowing from one stretch to the other. I’m not a yoga instructor (by any means haha)–it’s more just to create smooth transitions from one stretch to the next. I’m also a big fan of adding in a little active stretching after the 30-second static hold. If it feels good to sway a little bit in forward fold, go for it! If it feels good to lift and lower the back knee in kneeling hip flexor stretch (we’ll do this in the video), do it!

10-Minute Guided Stretching Routine for Runners (or anyone with tight hips!) -- video included

WEARING | tank c/o Puppies Make Me Happy // leggings c/o Cory Vines (<– I love these, they have grips on the bottom of the foot stirrup!)

Big thanks to Watermark Seaport for having me–I had a wonderful mini staycation! You can check their site out HERE and their Instagram HERE.

Runners–what are some of your favorite stretches to do after a run? Leave a comment!

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Watermark Seaport. While I was compensated for my time, all opinions–as always!–are my own. I appreciate your support of the brands that make this blog possible! 🙂