Foam rolling is one of those activities that every runner hears they should be doing. We know it’s important, but we aren’t exactly sure why, how to do it, or when to do it. When done correctly, it’s a highly effective tool for recovery and will increase performance.
What the Heck is Foam Rolling, Anyway?
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial technique that breaks up adhesions and scar tissue that accumulates within our muscles during exercise and daily activities. Steph Creaturo, co-owner of Mala Yoga in Brooklyn, NY, teaches a yoga class specifically for runners that incorporates rolling with foam rollers, golf balls, and tennis balls. She equates a foam roller to a Zamboni machine for your muscles. Foam rolling helps to smooth out the rough patches, promoting better blood flow to the muscle, which reduces soreness and increases performance.
In a study published by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that foam rolling the legs after a squat workout helped speed recovery. The subjects who foam rolled were less sore overall, muscle soreness peaked earlier, and they performed better in vertical leap, range of motion, and muscle contraction tests. Adding foam rolling into your daily routine will help make you a more nimble runner.
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Babies are exhausting. As I new mom to a three-month-old baby girl, I know first hand exactly what this means. I also know what it’s like to be inside a postpartum body trying to get back into your running routine. It’s not easy to find the time, motivation, strength, or patience, but it IS possible! It gets easier every week to figure out your new routine, and your body WILL bounce back. Here are my tips for how to return to running when your world has been turned upside down.
1. Wait six weeks before starting to run again. Whether you ran throughout your pregnancy or not, you gave birth to a child and your body endured a huge amount of trauma. As a result, your body isn’t quite the same as it was before you delivered and it needs time to recover. Some doctors will tell you it’s fine to get back out there at your two-week postpartum check up. My recommendation is to wait at least six weeks after you give birth to start running again. Use the time to build up to long walks and maintain/build strength you need to start running again. Be smart and ease back slowly.
2. Start with run/walk intervals for a minimum of one week. Don’t make the mistake of trying to run for 30 minutes straight on your first run back after pregnancy. Instead, get comfortable with your new mom body by forcing yourself to incorporate scheduled walk intervals into your runs for at least the first week of running. How often? That’s up to you, but I recommend five minutes running and one minute walking. This enables you to check in with your body and make sure everything feels OK and that you are building back smartly.
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When Elizabeth Candela was 17, she had a friend who was trying to get fit as he entered the Marines. He asked her to run a mile with him. She couldn’t do it. That made her mad and from that day forward, she committed to being a runner. She’s a determined runner who continues to overcome obstacles; some so huge most of us would have thrown in the towel a very long time ago.
After that first attempted mile, Candela ran for health and to stay in shape; nothing too serious. In 2001, she explains that running’s role in her life evolved, dramatically. Candela’s husband was one of the victims in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He and nearly 3,000 others were unable to escape the World Trade Center that awful day. Candela needed running to help her deal with the pain. Additionally, she needed an outlet to manage the stress of raising two children as an only parent.
In 2008, Candela was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Now, more than ever, she had to focus on her health. She explains that she was determined to stay healthy for her family, something that motivated her to go back to school and study Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Currently this amazing runner has her American College of Sports Medicine Health Fitness Specialist Certification and is in the process of getting her American Dietetics Association Registered Dietitian’s License.
This is enough, right? You’re just as amazed as I am, right?
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Out of all of the cardio machines that I have to choose from at the gym, the treadmill is usually the last one that I would choose. It’s not that I dislike walking or running – I actually kind of like it – but to me, walking or running indoors can get extremely boring. There’s something about the other machines (like the elliptical and stairmill) that just seem to hold my interest more and make my workout more enjoyable. That being said, I know that running on a treadmill can provide a great cardiovascular workout.
I almost always run outdoors and my surface of choice is definitely dirt. Unfortunately, because of weather and other factors, that’s not always possible. Recently, I decided to give the treadmill another chance, with a different approach this time.
I’m an avid hiker and walking up an incline is often a big part of my hikes. Hiking can be a great cardiovascular and fat-burning workout because it tones your lower body and (depending on the trail) can alternate between high and low intensity.
I tried utilizing the treadmill to get the same benefits of a hike by adjusting the incline and speed during a thirty minute period, which would offer the same type of interval training that I naturally get while hiking. Walking at an incline burns more calories than walking on a level surface because your body has to work much harder to push itself uphill. You’ll definitely feel your heart pumping faster as the incline percentage increases, and it will drop as you come back down to level ground.
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It’s been less than a week since musician, Miranda Lambert, won the coveted Female Vocalist of the Year title for the fourth straight time, and people are still talking about her new slimmed-down appearance at the 47th Annual Country Music Awards.
Even before she donned a figure-hugging black skirt and leather vest for her rocking live duet of “We Were Us” with Keith Urban, Miranda rocked the red carpet in a sleek cobalt blue gown with cinched waist and tasteful decolletage.
When backstage reporters asked about her weight loss, the feisty singer said the catalyst was simply the desire to age gracefully, and take better care of herself.
“I just feel like I needed to get ahead of the game,” she explained. “I’m going to be 30 on Sunday and people say, are you OK about turning 30 and I guess I am, but I guess I’m not because I feel like everybody always says ‘It goes downhill from there.’ So I just thought, maybe if I get ahead of it a little I won’t have to work so hard later in life.”
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