Let’s face it, runners could do with more soft tissue work. Lot’s more for that matter. The first thing I recommend to the majority of my clients is buying a foam roll and a tennis ball for some basic self-myofascial release. It can, without a doubt, make a huge difference in preventing injury and keeping the body functioning at a high level. However, there seems to be a tendency to think that all a person needs in the event of an injury is more soft tissue work be it SMR, massage, ART, whatever.
While I think it is an absolutely essential component of a well-rounded program, it is not the only thing to be done during injury. Sure, you’ll get great pain relief from finding and releasing the right restrictions, but if an athlete fails to address and reinforce proper movement patterns and tissue lengths, all the foam rolling in the world is not going to keep the injury from returning. I have been fortunate to work with many great manual therapists, who incorporate movement training and behavioral modification considerations with their treatment, but the self-treating and self-diagnosing athlete sometimes makes the error of just jumping on a foam roll and calling it a good session. Don’t make that mistake. You simply cannot afford to touch only one base. Instead, be sure to touch all the bases of tissue quality, length, and movement quality if elite performance is your goal.
Train hard, train smart,