Love it, hate it, it doesn’t matter. If you love your running then your foam roller will become your best friend eventually, like it or not. The essential feature of ‘prehab’ that every runner needs is to roll out their muscles on a tough piece of foam. It’s a tough love kind of relationship; it does hurt to roll tight muscles, don’t believe anyone who says otherwise, but the longer you do and the more frequent you do, you will reap massive benefits.
The main benefits of foam rolling is loosening tight muscles. When your muscles are tight, you can start off your runs/workouts very stiff and very uncomfortable, consequently taking you longer to warm up and perhaps losing some of the quality of that particular workout because of that. Furthermore, if you go into a workout with tight muscles, this is where injuries can arise. Take it from a runner who tore both of their Hamstrings – I WISH I would of rolled before those workouts/races – it was the tightness of my IT Band that caused the muscle to tear. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but now I have made that mistake more than once it is very clear that foam rolling needs to be a part of any runners regime.
The foam roller if your portable masseuse; it may not be able to get as deep as a human hand, but it does a good enough job. It helps to dissipate lactic acid from your recent workouts, and loosen you up for your future workouts. The price of one? Next to nothing, I bought my first foam roller for £4 off the Sports Direct website and I am still using it today 5 years later. They can be small and portable, there really is no downside to getting one and using one.
The only note you should be wary of is that it is possible to foam roll wrong! However, thanks to the internet in the 21st century, there are thousands of videos on YouTube to show you how to foam roll ever part of your body properly.
If you are an injury prone individual, or just take your running seriously, the use of a foam roller should be incorporated into your week at least a couple of times, but ideally every day. I can guarantee that every professional athlete owns and uses a foam roller, it is a no brainer. They can be found on thousands of websites and in the majority of sports/running stores.