Let's talk torture! Have you ever heard the phrase, "It hurts so good"? I'm pretty sure those words were first uttered by someone foam rolling their calves and/or quads. Injuries aren't just inevitable, they're every runner's worst nightmare! There is nothing worse than having to take time off after you've spent weeks or months working your butt off. That is why I am a firm believer in prehab over rehab. It doesn't matter if you're a brand new runner, a casual runner, or an intense marathoner, we all should be doing everything we can to prevent running injuries. How? What a beautiful question! Here are 7 recovery tools that won't just keep you injury free but will actually change your life.
1. Trigger Point Performance Therapy Foam Roller.
Right when you think foam rolling couldn't get any more intense, Trigger Point Performance Therapy releases the Grid X (see black torture device). The Grid X is twice as firm as the Grid foam roller (see orange torture device) and both will change your life. If there is one recovery tool every runner should have, it's a foam roller. You will not regret it (after you finish foam rolling).
2. Acumobility Mobility Ball.
I suffer BIG TIME with soleus muscle problems. I think it's because I run so fast (wink wink), my Physical Therapist Mike Riccardi will tell you that it's because I have terrible form. Potato Pa-tah-to! What I love most about the acumobility mobility ball is that it has a base. This base keeps the ball still and helps me provide isolated pressure (and pain) to my muscles. (It also means I'm not chasing a runaway ball for half of my recovery session.) This guy is probably the running world's best kept secret. (They also come in different levels of firmness. I use level 1 because I'm a baby.)
3. Trigger Point Performance Therapy GRID STK Foam Roller.
I don't think I leave my house without my GRID STK. This guy is so handy and portable, I don't know what I would do without it. It's perfect to use when I'm sitting, standing and MOST IMPORTANTLY, when I'm traveling. You can almost always find me in a terminal rolling my calves and my quads like a crazy person.
4. Tiger Tail Muscle Roller.
Similar to the GRID STK, the Tiger Tail Muscle Roller is a tiny bit longer and offers a bit smoother of a roll than the STK. I love them both in different ways and use them interchangeably.
5. ROLL Recovery R8.
Buying a Roll Recovery R8 is the best investment you'll ever make in your life. This bad boy is sheer torture but your muscles will thank you for it. It's small enough to take anywhere and offers the best deep tissue massage you'll ever get from a device. It's mindless to use and it's the only torture device I use on a daily basis. (I'm also 99% sure it's voodoo magic, that's how well it works.)
6. NormaTec Recovery Boots.
Remember when I rolled my ankle one week before the Berlin Marathon? (Remember how terrifying and awful that was!?!?!) Well one of the reasons I recovered so quickly was because I spent an hour in Finish Line Physical Therapy's NormaTec Recovery Boots every single day that week. These recovery boots inflate like balloons and then pulse to improve circulation. (Basically they help you recover faster.) Believe the hype, they are a game changer. I use them at least once a week when I'm in the thick of marathon training and they make my legs feel incredible.
OK so maybe you aren't lucky enough to be in New York City to have the World's best Physical Therapist, my point is DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU'RE INJURED TO GO TO PHYSICAL THERAPY! Prehab > Rehab remember? Not only will a Physical Therapist who supports your endurance running (this part is crucial) help you stay injury free, they will teach you how to strengthen your weak problem areas! (And if you have Mike Riccardi, he acts as a normal therapist! The things Mike knows about me...I should have made him sign a non-disclosure agreement...) If you can, find a Physical Therapist and go as often as you can. (I go once a week.)
Remember, only you can keep running injuries away! Don't buy a foam roller and let it collect dust in the corner. Make it apart of your daily routine or invest in tools that you will actually use. They really do make a world of difference. Just try not to drive your significant other or roommates too crazy...
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.