Prevent Running Injuries With A Foam Roller

Injury is a runner’s worst nightmare. We dread a day when we are not able to lace up our favorite running sneakers and take on a long run. So why don’t we do more to prevent it?

Throughout my running career, I’ve faced anyone’s fair share of injuries, most notably a serious cause of shin splints that kept me on the bench for nearly two years. Upon returning, I promised myself that I would never take running for granted and would perform the necessary actions to prevent injury. My first step was to buy a high-density foam roller and I will never look back.

Foam rolling after ever run may be one of the best decisions we can make as runners (besides listening to our body and giving it necessary rest). A foam roller is designed to provide an inexpensive and easy way to achieve the same benefits as a deep-muscle massage. It is especially valuable to runners because it increases flexibility and decreases muscle tension, helping to prevent injury and improve performance. Often times, injuries are due to an imbalance or deficiency in muscles that cause pain in other areas of our body (such as our knees, our shins, etc.). Foam rolling can help reduce these imbalances and deficiencies.


There are so many different foam-rolling exercises. Here is my typical post-run foam rolling routine:

Calves – To do this, sit with the foam roller under one calf, with the other leg on top of it. Support your body with your hands on the ground behind you. Then, roll slowly up and down the calf muscle, paying special attention to anywhere that is extra tight. Repeat on the other leg.

Hamstrings – Sit with the roller under one thigh, stacking your feet on top of each other with your hands behind you on the ground. Then, slowly roll up and down the hamstring from the top of your knee to the bottom of your hipbone. Repeat on the other leg.

Quadriceps – Flip over and lie face down with the foam roller on your thigh and elbows to the ground for support. Once again, slowly roll up and down the quad from the top of your knee to the bottom of your hip. Repeat on the other leg.

IT Band – Already facing down, shift your weight to the outside of your quad muscle and roll slowly up and down.

Repeat on the inside of your quad muscle and the other leg.

In order to get the most out of your foam rolling, follow these easy tips:

– The slower the better, focusing on areas that are tight, reduced motion, or painful.

– Perform the foam roller exercises after you’re muscles are warm or post-work out.

– The most ideal time to foam roll is right after exercise prior to stretching.

– Avoid rolling directly over bones or joints.

I truly believe foam rolling has made a significant difference in my running performance and has helped prevent injury. No matter how rushed my work out is, I always allow time for foam rolling. So what are you waiting for? Get rolling!

This article is written by Caroline Winn. You can find more about her runner experience and story at

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