On the surface, running is a seemingly low maintenance sport—give me some good shoes, a supportive sports bra, and the road ahead of me.

While that’s mostly true, we all know that piling on the miles without doing prep work—in this case, foam rolling—can plant landmines in the road ahead of you.

The benefits of foam rolling are as long as the list a six-year-old has for not wanting to go to bed:
• it rushes oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the muscles;
• it irons out the knots and other glitches going on in your muscles + tendons;
• pre-run, in addition to waking up all your major muscles, it calls to order all the supporting ligaments and tendons;
• post-run, it lets you hit any parts that might have been unhappy during your run, and promotes an overall speedier recovery.

If you are new to foam rolling, know that there are a variety of theories and instructions out there: you can be told to barely graze the surface of sore areas to dig into them in like a mother.

As with most things athletic, there is no magic formula or intensity: just variations on a theme.

So here’s what we recommend: Do what works for you, your body, and mentality. Maybe you want to really focus on your calves one day, the hit your quads the next—and you fit in your sessions right before bed. Maybe like medium-intensity five passes on all parts of your body before you head out on your run. Maybe it’s gotta get done before you shower or it never will.

The only common thread? You have to hit the (lego-strewn, dog-hair-covered) rug and roll.

A good place to start? With these two videos, demonstrated by Kolleen Riddick-Losch, a #motherrunner and TriggerPoint master trainer whose classes at the AMR retreats always receive rave reviews.

In this first video—Four Key Foam Rolling Moves for Runners—Kolleen uses a TriggerPoint GRID foam roller to hit the calves, quads, Vastus Lateralis (which in turn, benefits the IT Band), and thoracic spine.

If you don’t have a TriggerPoint GRID, no biggie: any medium-density foam rolling will work.

In this video—Three More Key Foam Rolling Moves for Runners—she calls on the TriggerPoint MB5 Massage Ballto target the hip flexors, pecs and lats—you’ll be amazed at what happens to your running (and overall) posture when you target your upper body.

If you don’t have the MB5, use a tennis ball or foam roller. A lacrosse ball or baseball is too dense.

We encourage you to integrate them into your training routine, whether you’re a brand new runner or in the thick of marathon training; foam rolling 3 to 4 times a week for 10 minutes can make a significant difference in how your body reacts and performs on the road ahead of you.

If need a TriggerPoint product, save 20% off all TP products with code AMR20.

Do you foam roll?
If so, what’s your favorite—or most helpful—body part to hit?