Work out those kinks and sore spots to decrease the chances they will turn into injuries. Self-massage needs to be thought of as regular upkeep, not just when you’re injured.
It’s imperative that runners know what they’re doing; massage therapy is an art. Do it incorrectly and you can cause major damage.
“If pressure is forced and applied to quickly, surrounding tissue tightens up and the body doesn’t fully let you in,” said massage therapist Al Kupczak, who works with Olympians, other elite athletes and age groupers. “A good gauge is breath. Can you comfortably breathe through this process, or are you clenching your jaw and tightening up other areas in order to get through the session?”
If you’re tightening, you’re not getting the tissue release you’re looking for.
RELATED: The Benefits Of Using A Foam Roller
For runners, the key spots to target are the quads, hamstrings, and IT Band. Do controlled passes up and down the roller; for sore spots, pause and hold for 20 seconds until you feel the release. Spend a minute on each of these three areas.
A common runner malady, roll the sole of your foot over a tennis ball. Do front-to-back and side-to-side passes on each foot.
To run at your best, you must first be healthy enough to run. And to further improve, it’s required you do more than just run. When you’re able to gain that flexibility, improved efficiency, strength, and resiliency, your running life can happily co-exist with your real life.
About The Author:
Caitlin Chock set the then National High School 5k Record (15:52.88) in 2004. Now a freelance writer and artist she writes about all things running and designs her own line of running shirts. You can read more, see her running comics, and her shirts at her website.