Category Archives: Injury Recovery

Training Tip Tuesday: Don’t Just Foam Roll… #Rollga Instead!

Training Tip Tuesday: Don't Just Foam Roll. #Rollga Instead!

Since when did running become so labor intensive? There used to be a time when I could wake up and run. There was zero preparation needed. In fact, if I slept in my running clothes, I literally could just roll out of my bed and out the door.

These days, however, I find myself rolling out of bed to roll! In fact, I’m rolling before I roll into bed as well. I’m not exactly sure when this all became a part of my daily routine. Was it at 49? 50? 51? Whichever…it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that if I don’t roll, I don’t run.

Perhaps it was my physical therapist a few years ago who warned me to keep up with my exercises regularly, or it was my chiropractor, who since last year, has drilled it into my head that I have to keep up with the self therapy…or else…

I think I’m just getting old.

Oh, I know. Bite my tongue. But, there is a bit more work that has to go into my running now. And as much as a time suck that it is, there is no doubt that it needs to get done.

When I last saw my Chiropractor around Christmas of last year, he lent me this piece of equipment which looked a little more like a torture device than something that might do one iota of good. However, once I began using it, I was almost ready to enter the witness protection program to save myself from having to return it to him!

It’s called a Rollga. And it is not your momma’s foam roller.

In fact, just throw that outdated, dust collector in the garbage. It’s not worth keeping. THIS…this Rollga…it is a healthy addiction. It actually makes foam rolling fun again, in a masochistic sort of way. I actually somewhat look forward to my two daily foam rolling sessions. Not so much because it feels good, but because it scratches an itch that you cannot reach…and then later it feels good!

I personally believe that this simple device has kept me on my feet. And I thank my chiropractor profusely for it. You see, he donated it to my cause. And for that I am grateful.

What can a Rollga do that an ordinary foam roller can’t? It gets between the cracks. It is almost as though it conforms to the shape of your legs, back, arms, neck, etc. There are a few options which allow for a different feel as you roll, and each one hits a different muscle group. With just a slight adjustment in the angle of your limb as you roll, you can reach so much more than an old foam roller.

Personally, I start each session with my quads, being sure to roll them in between the humps, and then on top of them. I point my toes, and flex them as well. Then I linger. My chiropractor emphasizes how important this is. Linger on those trouble spots for as long as you can tolerate. Now, point and flex as you linger. Wowza! It’s like having a personal masseuse!

I work my way down to my IT bands and knees and do the same, then do a quick few rolls on my shins and the top of my feet before switching to my calves and that tender area behind my knees. There again, I make sure that I roll in between the humps, then on top of them, pointing and flexing the toes as I go. Just changing that flex position makes a huge difference in the muscles and tendons that you hit.

After the calves, it is on to the hamstrings, and finally the piriformis. If I’m feeling wild, I’ll do a bit of back and neck work as well.

This gets done twice a day, right out of bed, and right before bed. I could be wrong, but I think it has been making a big difference in my running. There is no doubt that the older I get, the harder it is to stay loose enough to get a decent run in. Stiff muscles are becoming more frequent, and I don’t like it. This twice a day routine is keeping it all in check.

I still don’t like it, though. It takes up a good chunk of my day. But right now, it is keeping me on the road. So, it will have to stay in the routine.

Rollga is Minnesota made, and comes in a variety of densities for the perfect “fit”. I have the firm Black Rollga Pro, and although I’ve never tried a “softer” Rollga, I’m not quite sure why one would even bother! But, I’m sure there are reasons for the less firm Rollgas. Rollga’s patented design contours the entire body.

  • Engineered to fit ANY body type
  • Avoids contact with the spine
  • Avoids contact with the shoulder blades
  • Avoids contact with the Tibia
  • Allows for muscle sheering
  • Solid EPP Foam Core: Doesn’t lose shape
  • Eco-Friendly: 100% Recyclable

Rollga claims it is “the perfect foam roller for shin splints, tight calves, leg pain, cramping and back pain.”

Rollga is available from Amazon or from their own website. Google them and you’ll find a great collection of instructional videos on You Tube. This is a gadget you need in your arsenal.

Do you foam roll? Do you do it regularly? Would you do it regularly if it worked for you?

Note: The opinions in this review belong to me, the author. I may accept payment in exchange for a review, or may accept a sample at no cost, to provide honest opinions on such. This post may contain affiliate/referral links per my own discretion.

And The Definition Of Insanity Is…

I’m beginning to believe more and more that I’m allergic to winter. I’m not sure why I struggle so much with everything from my training, to my weight, to the constant fatigue, and my psychotic behavior from January to May, with no other logical explanation than it is a seasonal allergy of the worst kind.

 

I had moments again during the first half of this year where I honestly believed my running career was over. At least the one that had me placing in age groups and achieving Boston qualifying marathon times. The marathon I pulled out of my butt this May was a shocker to say the least. As I ran Fargo, my mind kept drifting off to how I would train for the MCM this October, now that summer was just around the corner. Oh boy, I have high expectations for myself. And I have lofty ideas as to how I’m going to tackle this training. Why couldn’t I have had that same mindset for Fargo? I can only think it was because I felt so defeated. My Achilles were still arguing with me every step of the way this spring, and I couldn’t get my weight down to where I can comfortably run an 8:00 pace effortlessly. Every damn day was a struggle to just get out and run.

Don't give up on yourself

But, I still got out there, And, I somehow pulled out my third best marathon time, and another Boston qualifier this past month in Fargo. Two weeks later, I ran my worst half marathon time ever. I can’t help but wonder…what the devil is going on?

 

I’ll admit, I began to take some serious steps to  heal myself this past month. Something had to give. It is not in my budget to see a PT or a massage therapist, so I attempted to take matters into my own hands, literally. I called on Doc Google, and researched the best way to go about self therapy. It started with extensive self massage of my Achilles twice a day, morning and night. I finally got ahead of the large lumps that had formed there, over the winter months. It hurt like hell, and it wasn’t easy, but I’ve gotten them under control. In fact, now I can touch them without wincing with pain.

Yeah, they had become that bad.

 

I’ve also had to rethink my sneakers. I’m still not sure what to do with that one. But recently, I’ve gotten back into my Vibrams and I feel so much better. I don’t run in them every day, but changing it up for the shorter runs has helped my lower legs tremendously.

I’ve gone back to taking my Sports Legs Caps before EVERY run. This reduces the fatigue. I am also taking a blood circulation supplement, and am following up my runs with 20 minutes on the inversion table.

I’ve reduced my pace tremendously, and have begun to add in some additional workouts that I think will help to improve my running form and stamina for the somewhat difficult course of the Marine Corps Marathon.

Sure, P90X is still a given. I do the resistance training 3 days a week, although I recently lowered my weights and upped my reps. I felt like I was getting too big above the waist, and that this might be affecting my running gait and stride. I added a Monday stair climb, where I place 20 lbs into a backpack and hike up and down two flights of stairs in my home for 20-30 minutes at walking pace. Already, after only two weeks, I can feel the difference in my cardiovascular performance when I take it outside for the run.

I’ve found a local running group! I’m so excited about this on so many levels. First, it gives me the opportunity to meet other runners…and run with them! Having conversation while on the run is another great way to train cardiovascularly. And, running with such a diverse group means pace isn’t an issue.  It also allows me to get two runs in on my long run days. This could be a great benefit as well.

Finally, the determination to get my weight back to where it was when I ran Twin Cities in 2014. This will be my main focus over the next few months. I’m going with wacky hormones as to why I’m where I am right now. I need to get serious about this if I have a chance of getting any kind of PR at Marine Corps.

Yeah, I’ve got my work cut out for me. When I look at the whole picture, I get extremely anxious and that is not good. Instead, it has to be a step by step, day by day process, or else I’ll end up winging it like I did at Fargo. I’d really rather be better prepared.

But, I’m always up for a challenge, as long as I can stay focused through it. This has been my downfall since 2017 began. There are too many distractions, and too many personal issues putting up road blocks before I can even get my shoelaces tied. It’s time to bid a fond farewell to the first half of 2017.

Hey. I think I need a shoe charm for that.

What are your expectations for the second half of 2017?

 

A Lesson In Abstinence

Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT a nutritionist. I am an athlete and a runner. And I like to look good and feel good. All of this information in these blog posts comes from my own personal experiences. It has worked for me. Consult your own physician before attempting any major life changes. Educate yourself first and foremost.

This is a 3-part blog post. Find part 1 here. Find part 3 here.

7 days. 7 whole days. Maybe that was pushing the gamit. But I decided to give it a try.

The Running Slump.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT a nutritionist. I am an athlete and a runner. And I like to look good and feel good. All of this information in these blog posts comes from my own personal experiences. It has worked for me. Consult your own physician before attempting any major life changes. Educate yourself first and foremost.

This is a 3-part blog post. Find part 2 here. Find part 3 here.

“You’re in a slump,” Ms. Demos said to me, about 3 weeks into our track and field season some 30+ years ago.

My January Thaw.

It’s a not so aptly named blog post title, I know. In fact, we are deep in the thick of winter. The temperatures haven’t even gotten close to zero the past 5 days. We aren’t even close to any type of thaw, but for me personally, it is has been just that. I’m thawing out. I’m learning to cut loose a little bit. I’m trying not to be so anal about my running.