Runners benefit greatly from regular massage and physiotherapy, but time and money constraints can make frequent appointments impractical. Still, there are some excellent recovery tools that can be invaluable for the aches and pains that come up during training. Some are commercial products that are also used by professionals, and some are household or drugstore items. Sometimes you want something that actively stimulates the muscles and tissues, and sometimes you just want pain relief while you go about your day, or while sleeping. All work to keep you as healthy and pain-free as possible so you can maximize your training benefits. We list them from cheapest to priciest. 

RELATED: 5 household items that double as recovery tools

Frozen water bottle

CDN $1.00

Useful for treating plantar fasciitis (a painful inflammation of the connective tissue between the heel and toes), a bottle of ice kept in the freezer for foot rolling helps relieve the inflammation as well as the pain. Best of all, it can be done while reading, sitting at the computer, talking on the phone, or watching TV.

Tennis/Lacrosse/Golf ball

free (assuming you have one already)

Similarly, rolling your foot over a tennis, lacrosse or golf ball has a similar beneficial effect on the plantar fascia, and is cheap, convenient, and takes up almost no space.

🎄12 Days of Health and Wellness🎄 DAY 9: Do you have some form of tension or tightness in the body? Try massaging the soles of your feet with a tennis ball🎾 Why does it work?🤔 When you massage the soles of your feet, you loosen the starting point of a network of connective tissue that runs all the way up to the crown of your head! Therefore, a release in one part can trigger release in the entire Fascial web! Begin by first measuring your hamstring flexibility to see where you are at before you begin rolling. Next follow along this video-starting first at the ball of the foot between the metatarsals apply pressure by pushing down and releasing 10x. Then move to the arch, rolling side to side finding where you are most sensitive/tight. Lastly place the ball under the heel/calcaneus and press and release 10x. Finish off by testing your hamstring flexibility again and feel the difference!!!🙌 • • • #simplyraediant #12daysofchristmas #merrychristmas #christmas #healthychoices #healthylifestyle #healthandwellness #foot #arch #tennisball #tennisballrolling #foamrolling #recovery #tension #muscletightness #plantarfasciitis #exercise #hamstrings #carlsbad #sandiego #tricitywellnesscenter #personaltrainer

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Icy Hot Advanced Pain Relief Patch

$11.99

Icy Hot is a brand with staying power. Introduced more than 40 years ago, it claims to be the #1 selling topical pain relief brand in America (but Canadians like it too). The active ingredient is menthol, which temporarily numbs the pain of muscle strains, sprains, bruises, cramps, and arthritis for up to 12 hours. (Or try Icy Hot in spray form.) Icy Hot is best used for pain relief of sore muscles, think tight back/sore calves. A useful product to keep in your race bag for recovery afterwards.  Available at many retailers, and online.

The Stick

US $27.50 and up

Invented 30 years ago and originally intended for health care providers, The Stick is the original classic, hand-held stick roller. It works as a self-massage tool to break up muscle knots that inhibit range of motion and performance and that cause pain. The one-inch plastic spindles rotate freely around The Stick’s semi-rigid core, allowing the user to control the intensity of rolling. A variety of lengths, sizes, and degrees of flexibility are available, or get a combo pack, depending on your needs.

Fitterfirst Slant Board

US $89.95

Designed as much for prevention as recovery and deceptively simple in appearance, the Fitterfirst Slant Board gives you an easy way to stretch the muscles of the arch, calf, hamstring and hip, increases flexibility and reducing tightness. Constructed of solid birch plywood with a non-skid finish, and can be adjusted to 26, 38 and 42 degree angles. Folds flat for packing. Useful in the treatment and prevention of plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, rehabbing calf muscle tears, and other foot and leg injuries. The board comes in two sizes (depending on your foot size).

R8 by Roll Recovery

CDN $118.99

This ingeniously designed deep-tissue massage roller allows fast and efficient rolling due to its fully adjustable, two-handed design that lets you roll on both sides (or top and bottom) of the leg or arm simultaneously. It can be used standing, sitting, or lying down. Its compact size make it easier to use and pack than traditional full-size foam rollers, and it only weighs three pounds. The website details the design, construction, and different ways of using the R8. Note: it can be tough to find in Canada; ask your specialty running store or order online.

TriggerPoint Grid Vibe

CDN $179.00 

While the benefits of foam rolling are obvious to most, the Grid Vibe combines traditional foam rolling with the added benefit of pain relief from vibration to kickstart recovery and get you moving again. At only 12 inches long, 3.5 inches in diameter, and 2.15 pounds, it’s small and light enough to tuck into a gym bag or suitcase. Plus it’s cordless and comes with a rechargeable battery for up to two hours of continuous use.

Hypervolt

US $349

Hyperice offers a number of recovery products, and its Hypervolt cordless vibration massager, endorsed by prominent athletes like skier Lindsey Vonn, lets you give yourself shock wave therapy at home. It’s designed to relieve muscle stiffness and soreness, and its three speeds deliver up to 50 “shocks” per second, stimulating blood circulation and promoting overall soft tissue health. Most important, its light weight (2.5 pounds) and ergonomic design make it easy and efficient to use at home or to pack for a trip. It comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts up to three hours per charge.

 

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