Everyone has felt it – that soreness that isn’t quite an injury but hurts enough to make you walk a little funny and groan when you stand up. Whether you pushed yourself to a new accomplishment like tackling that monster hill for the first time or setting a new squat PB or did something immensely stupid like trying to hold five minute kilometers when you really shouldn’t be trying to go faster than eight. Proud or embarrassed, you’ll be feeling it the next day.
And sometimes the solution hurts more than the problem.
Anyone who has ever used a foam roller knows that I’m talking about. I regularly suffer from tight IT bands, usually stemming from me ramping up mileage too quickly for my own good (because I’m dumb like that) along with just general gait wonkiness and I find myself spending some quality time with the roller from time to time. If you’ve never used one, a foam roller is essentially exactly what it sounds like – a foam cylinder that rolls on the ground, with you on top of it. And you roll your muscles up and down on it, targeting the areas that are tight and need a little TLC to release some of the tension.
Personally, I believe that the foam roller was invented by the devil. Or maybe just someone who likes to laugh at people in pain.
I’m not going to sugar coat it. It hurts. A lot. You wouldn’t think that foam would hurt (because, hey, it’s foam) but the direct pressure on the effected area? Ouch. Ouch times a thousand – possibly times a million. But pain or not, it works. While you may want to scream as you roll over the area, you don’t. You close your eyes, bite your lip and look silly rolling on the floor of the gym while big guys lifting big weights look at you with their judging eyes, whereas you can tell who the runners are – they shoot you a sympathetic look and you just know that they can feel your pain from a distance and are secretly glad it isn’t them using the roller.
Should I be using the roller more often as a preventative measure and part of my daily routine? Probably. Do I? Of course not. It’s one of those things that I try to avoid even though I know it’s good for me, like eating tomatoes or actually flossing my teeth. So until the time when I man up and use it regularly, I’m going to treat it like a relative that I don’t like to visit, but will eventually go see, because I know they will always slip me a $20 on the way out the door.
I can suffer through a little pain for a big reward.