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I would imagine that I am not the only one who gets sore and tight after running… or even sometimes just sitting too long. I spent a lot of time thinking that soreness was something I had to put up with. The way I understood it (at the time) I had the choice to not work out as much (or not sit still as much), take pills, or just be sore very very often. Little did I know this was not actually true.

I have run marathons and that made me sore. I have climbed mountains and that made me sore. I have lifted weights and that also- you guessed it, made me sore. I have had people tell me soreness was just a part of getting older. I have had people tell me it was a sign I had had a good work out. I have had people tell me that it was just part of life. I experienced a lot of soreness and was told a lot of things about it.

One day I went into my local specialty running store and while talking to an employee about my running and “where it hurt” she asked me if I had ever used a foam roller. I had not. I did not even know what one was. She suggested to me something that at the time seemed absolutely crazy… she suggested that I could do something myself about my soreness. I was internally skeptical but I also like to learn and I figured that even if it was utter nonsense (or not applicable to my own personal situation) I would at least learn something. I bought my first foam roller.

It wasn’t great… but it wasn’t terrible either- and sometimes it helped a bit. I was back in the store a little while later and the same employee talked to me and gave me some more ideas of how to actually use the roller and then sold me a firmer one. Armed with some new (to me) knowledge and now the proud owner of two different mobility tools I went back home and started experimenting on myself some more. This time I had more success and I started to really like the whole experience because it actually was reducing my soreness (partly because I knew more about how to use the tools and partly because I now had some different options to work with). I was pretty intrigued that some time on the floor on top of some objects was making my running- and even my life better.

But guys, after that, I was introduced to a blue ball called “The Orb.” Again a very helpful employee told me about this tool. The thing was they had me sit on it and cross my leg in the store. I rolled around (at her instruction) until I found a very very uncomfortable spot on my butt. She had me stop there and try to breath. It was a little much and I wasn’t actually sure how long I could stay on the ball. But then I felt something let go and it no longer hurt at all. It was so dramatic that I was shocked. When I stood up there was a missing tension in half of my lower back that I wasn’t even sure I had noticed was there before. It was amazing. I did buy the ball (and work on the other side) but something finally clicked.

I thought back to all the times I had had a massage and how it would sometimes be so uncomfortable until all of a sudden it was a huge relief… and I had just done this to myself. The blue ball became my favorite and mobility work became a category in my mind. It was the start of a much longer journey but it was also the start of me realizing I had the power to do something about my own body when it wasn’t feeling a hundred percent. I am genuinely thankful for that employee and for the knowledge that I don’t have to resign myself to pain and soreness in my running or in my life. Take care of yourselves guys and if you have any questions about how to use any mobility tools (Orbs or otherwise) don’t hesitate to ask.

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