River Run training tips: Foam rolling is easy, effective way of stretching muscles

H2 Health is showing us how foam rollers can help keep your muscles ready to go for the upcoming Gate River Run.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Each week leading up to the Gate River Run on March 20, H2 Health will provide tips for runners. This is the fifth of nine segments.

We’ve covered a variety of topics thus far and this week’s may be one of the simplest for runners and walkers to perform. The use of a foam roller may be one of the easiest methods for athletes to use before and after a run or walk.

John Kovacs, the vice president of sales at H2 Health, said that the method hits numerous areas for runners and walkers and the benefits can be substantial.

“Foam rolling is a benefit to really allow the muscles to get ready for active movement and actually helps to reduce delayed onset of muscle fatigue and soreness,” he said.

Week 1: Pay attention to those hamstrings

Week 2: It sounds simple, but make sure your gear is the right fit

Week 3: Astym, cupping are excellent recovery therapies

Week 4: Treadmill work can help in rehab or after a run

Kristen Arrigenna, clinical director and doctor of physical therapy at H2 Health, said that Iliotibial band — the ligament that stretches from the pelvic bone to the shin bone — gets a chance to be stretched out during one type of exercise in this process.

“If you just lay over the foam roller … you start up at your hip and you just put as much body weight as you can tolerate and you just kind of roll up and down slowly, the IT band extends all the way down the outside of the leg,” she said. “So, you just work your way slowly down the leg. You can work on this about a minute or two at a time prior to then going and stretching your IT band.”

Other positives of the foam rolling are the different positions that allow runners and walkers to work on.

The glutes and the piriformis muscle on the backside can be stretched and done in a way that athletes can control how much or how little those get worked out.

“You get to decide how much pressure you put on the foam roll and you’re just going to roll your way up and down,” Arrigenna said.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.