Saturday, November 15, 2014

Learning to foam roll with Fleet Feet

This past Wednesday evening I attended a workshop at Fleet Feet called "This Is How We Roll."  Every time I think about this workshop I also hear the country song of the same name playing in my head.  This particular workshop was at the Town and Country location and there ended up only being four of us: a married couple, me, and an Ironman.  The instructor was also a runner and a triathlete.  I had purchased a foam roller a year or more ago from TJ Maxx, but have never used it.  The instructor could tell this because there were no indentations from my legs on the roller, so it still looked brand new.  The other participants used the foam rollers provided by Fleet Feet. Two were full-length and two were half-sized.  The instructor said that the full-length rollers are great to start with but the half-sized have padding around a pvc pipe, which is hollow so it is perfect to take on the road with you because it is easy to pack.

The workshop lasted about 45 minutes of legs-on rolling, followed by endless questions.  It turns out that when I was actually using the foam roller, I was doing it all wrong.  Sigh!  I was rolling after a workout, when you should be rolling before a workout or a run.  I was only rolling vertically rather than focusing on a spot and rolling side-to-side.  I noticed a HUGE difference when I rolled side to side and I couldn't believe that I never thought to roll like that before.  I was also rolling my calves and when I was moving onto my hamstrings, I rolled the back of my knees over the roller.  That is definitely a no-no!  The instructor told us that you should NEVER roll over joints because you would really injure yourself.  The instructor also rolls at least twice per day to prevent injury, which is something I may start trying because injury prevention is the exact reason why I signed up for the workshop.  At the end during the Q&A my legs felt great, almost as if I had gotten a massage.  Although I wanted to purchase one of the half-sized rollers from the store, I decided against it because they were $40.  I fully intent to purchase one from them soon or ask for one from Santa.  Instead, I decided that I would start using my own foam roller at home or the rollers at the gym more regularly.  I did end up buying The Orb massage ball, to get concentrate on areas that I identify as "tight" through foam rolling.  The Orb gives a more aggressive deep tissue massage to target areas.

If you have local running store that offers workshops and classes, check out their schedule and see if they offer anything for injury prevention.  If you don't there are plenty of You Tube videos available, but click here for an overview and brief demo of This Is How We Roll.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Nice post! I think I might be foam rolling wrong, too. I will have to watch the video. I'm not even sure how to foam roll side to side!

  2. Very interesting! I have a foam roller but I've never had any formal instruction on how to use it. I did know that you're not supposed to roll over joints but that's about the extent of my knowledge. I will definitely watch that video! (Visiting from MoWB -- a fellow runner! although I don't blog about it often.)