Yes peeps, I am in love with a foam roller.
Nobody panic, I have not taken leave of my senses. I am merely trying to communicate to you my new-found adoration for this weird piece of equipment. They say that there's a fine line between pleasure and pain. It's my belief that whoever coined that phrase was, at the time, foam rollering his or her iliotibial band.
At the gym t'other day, I was having a post interval sprint gasp, er..chat, with one of the gym bods who is a lovely chap, all of 20 years old, with a real passion for running and helping people to train correctly. We often have chats - he's taught me to do a proper pull up. He asked if I'd seen the new piece of equipment. I cast my eyes around the room expecting a new treadmill or (God forbid) another bloody PowerPlate (Yes, I do think they're for lazy people. What of it?!) but nooooo....couldn't see anything. We walked over to the stretching area. And lo and behold, there it was. Martin presented the roller to me as proudly as a new dad showing off his offspring. I was deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelighted!
I have heard about these foam rollery things and used one on occasion when I could get my hands on one (believe it or not, relatively new phenomenon in the UK - usually only available from verrrrrry expensivo physio shops....PTL for amazon.co.uk!) - especially this time last year when I had that sucky injury to my hip flexors caused by a too tight ITB. So needless to say, I was eager to get involved! I have had a few really disappointing training sessions lately and a lot of leg fatigue so I was quite excited to rejuvenate the old pins! (Taken longer to recover from the Hell Runner than I thought, and longer to get the miles back in my legs *sad face*)
You know that (other) old saying: 'Treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen'?? Well this is how I reckon the foam roller feels about me. (Just go with me on this...)...because it REALLY BLOODY HURTS when you use it but afterwards, you're left with such release that you can't help but go back for more the next time.....
And therein lies my problem. I am hopelessly addicted to it. I've hogged it after every run or sprint session I've done since and my legs definitely feel 'looser' and more quickly recovered after training, particularly as I begin to get back into the swing of things after slacking a bit. Most def feeling the benefits. Nowt wrong with that. No one else seems to want to use it. Job's a good'un!
I have a *slight* issue I need to bring to your atttention.
How on earth does one accurately and effectively use the foam roller without (a) yelling loud expletives, (b) groaning and moaning (c) looking/sounding like you're auditioning to be in a porn film??
(Personally, I think the answer is buy one and use it at home....preferably when no one else is around...and believe you me, it's at the top of my Christmas list!) BUT at the gym, what is the correct etiquette? Do you grin and bear it or just let the pain out?!
I was literally having fits of giggles as I worked on my legs imagining (a) what I must look like to everyone else, and (b) what I must have sounded like! Imagine surpressing a scream akin to the scream you emit when you get a sports massage and have an elbow unceremoniously jabbed in your glutes.....I am not a quiet subject when I get massaged so I can only imagine what I sounded like! HAHAHA! I drew some funny looks, let me tell you! Nor am I particularly given to ever using the f word. Apparently this is not true where foam rollers (or massage, as it happens) are concerned. Oopsie.
Remember the secen in 'Friends' when Phoebe accuses Monica of making sex noises when she gets massaged? That's how I imagine I sounded to people...which only made me laugh even more.
So, I don't know what the answer is but boy am I glad my gym invested in one.
( - As a brief aside, yes there is just one. That means other people have used it. Which makes me feel slightly ill. I am trying to get over it.)
Here's to 'loose legs' and better running!
Here's a link for youtube demo of foam rollering - not of me doing it, I hasten to add!!