Self-Care for Runners

Would you be willing to spend five minutes a day on easy self-care in order to prolong--and enhance-- your running career? If you haven't tried self-myofascial release (SMR, aka self-massage) it really is that simple.

Fasciae, the connective tissue of the muscles, is what we break apart when we use a foam roller. Only in the past decade have scientists begun to delve into this vast world.

To illustrate this organ of support, I choose the grapefruit analogy. Imagine peeling the skin off a grapefruit. That white, opaque material between the skin and fruit is like the fasciae adhering skin to muscle. Break off a section (as in an individual muscle), which is encased in the same white material. Bite into that section. Take a closer look: you'll see even smaller, thinner segments of that white material throughout the individual section. So, fasciae adheres, encases and weaves into each and every muscle. Without it, our muscles would be a soupy mix on the floor!

When we run, fasciae thickens around and inside the muscles in our feet, calves and thighs. Too much fasciae build-up immobilizes our muscles, causing pain in the joints of our lower extremities. A foam roller is a worthwhile investment--and it's easy to use. Of course, human anatomy is very complex. Every body is unique. After recovering from Marathon Season, contact a certified professional to receive the most effective, full-body cross training.

Feel better, run better!
Amy Valent-Ribot

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