Self-massage tools for runners

I’ve mentioned in many past posts the self-massage tools I have at home. I’ve found, esp. as I’ve gotten older and the higher/faster I’ve gone, the more I need to use tools to help me recovery, heal, and get the most out of my body. The more stress and strain on the body, the more likely you are to develop scar tissue, which is like kinks in the muscle. These can accumulate over time and create imbalances and injuries. There’s nothing like getting a professional massage to work out these kinks/trigger points, but you can also work on areas yourself at home.

Here’s a blog post dedicated to the self-massage tools I have at home. Others are welcome to comment and share the tools that have personally helped them!

Roll Recovery (R8)– I previously blogged about this here. I’ve been using the R8 regularly (3-4x/week) on my quads, hamstrings, IT band, groin, and butt. I like to use it before I do my strength training. This is wayyy better than the foam roller for these areas– more aggressive and efficient! My left hamstring and groin have been tweaked the past 2 years, and I’ve totally worked out the kinks in these areas. I can feel my hip extension improving. You can also use it on your calves, but I haven’t had a need to use it here. If your hamstrings (or other mentioned areas) suck like mine do, you need to get your hands on this! It’s also small enough to travel with.

I keep discovering new ways to use my R8– you can watch the video from the Roll Recovery website on how they apply it. I like to bring the R8 rollers from behind my hamstring and bring it up to target my hamstring attachment, lower butt/external hip rotators, and also the medial/posterior hamstring/groin area (don’t neglect this area!). If you watch the video, they show how to target the piriformis.


Foot Log— blogged about this one 2 weeks ago— Pretty much my new best friend! I was a bit overzealous with it at first, wanting to roll the crap out of my foot, but now I’m trying to be more gentle. It’s worked well (with daily use for a few weeks) for helping to resolve my plantar fasciitis, which I barely feel now. Sometimes I sit on the couch and roll it gently and at different angles. Other times I stand, lean against the couch, and press my heel HARD and roll at different angles. It’s gotten great reviews, so it was definitely worth the $25 to try it out. Someone also mentioned to me that you can use it on other body parts, such as the butt/hamstring attachment and back.


Black High Density Foam Roller— Here’s another favorite I blogged about last year. There’s a good video in this blog that demonstrates ways to use the foam roller. As mentioned, I use the Roll Recovery now for my quads/hams/IT band/groin/butt. However, I still use the black foam roller for my back/back extensions and targeting my lats (under the arm). I tend to have bad posture in my upper back (hunching over, which seems to happen to lots of runners). I’ve gotten back into foam rolling my upper and thoracic back the past month, and it’s definitely helping to straighten out my back and help my breathing too. I’m also taller because of it (5’9 1/2ish… take note, shorter runners who wish to be taller!). You can also get a travel size foam roller.


The Stick– I didn’t own one of these, until I got a calf cramp the day before the ’09 Twin Cities Marathon. Up to that point, I had had 9 weeks of flawless training and good health– heck no was I going to let a calf cramp stop me from running the race of my life! My roommate happened to bring one of these. I rolled my calf, and wore compression socks at night. On race day, my calf was good to go! After the race, I purchased The Stick (the Marathon Stick– there’s also a smaller Travel Stick and other sizes, but I can’t guarantee you’ll get any of these through airport security!). I can’t believe I hadn’t gotten one of these sooner! I’m not sure how the Roll Recovery rivals The Stick for working the calf, but I guess I’ll find out if I ever develop a calf issue again! My sponsor,, highly endorses The Stick as well.


Gotta have Ballls— I have an assortment of balls too, which I sometime use for trigger point therapy on the ~butt, back, or foot. You can also use a lacrosse ball (which is a bit more difficult to find, and find singularly- try Academy Sports).


Soon to arrive– Foot Rubz! My PT showed this one to me– it has the nobs like my Foot Log, but probably has more targeted pressure to a single spot on the foot. It could probably be used on other parts of the body as well. I can barely feel my PF now, but I’m hoping this targets that small area on my heel better than my Foot Log.


This is how our living room looks 90% of the time! Why put it all up when you’re going to bring it all out again the next day?!

2013-06-10 22.33.34

Lastly, if you want some Inspiration, watch 1:58 800m runner, Brenda Martinez, in full workout mode, including using the Roll Recovery as part of her warmup and also during crisis mode when she got spiked and cramped in the middle of the workout!



  1. Denny Pewsey says:

    Thanks for the good info on your self massage tools. I have some, but could always use a few more!

  2. Just received the stick as a gift. Looks very packable for travel.

  3. Loved reading this post as I am considering purchasing the Roll Recovery. I’ve struggled with hamstring issues and this looks like an awesome tool to help the area!

  4. I bought a golf ball muscle roller for a self massaging tool and it feels amazing! seriously check it out


  1. […] trying to find a picture of the stick (mine is actually the Pro-Tec Roller Massager), I found this great blog post all about self-massage tools for runners, if you’re interested. I happen to have four of […]