Recovering properly is a key factor in remaining injury free. Recovery includes: sleeping enough, eating well, keeping stress levels as low as possible, stretching and treatment when necessary. Runners love to put in the kilometres but can struggle to find time to prioritize recovery. Even if you have prioritized recovery, the newest tools are costly. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up a list of items you probably already own that can double as recovery tools.
PVC Pipe: This is an item lying around most basements and it’s a perfect stand-in for a foam roller. While PVC pipe is a little firmer than a typical foam roller, it’s great for larger muscles like the quads and hamstrings. This tool can also be used to stretch out your back.
Golf Ball: Even if you’re not the driving range type, chances are there is a golf ball somewhere in your home. The golf ball is a great tool to have on hand if plantar facsiitis is what troubles you. Rolling out your feet on a golf ball is great to relieve pressure in your arches and on the sides of your feet.
Tennis/Soft/Lacrosse Balls: A little larger and softer than the golf ball, these varieties are great for your hips, calves and glutes. Runner’s have notoriously tight hips, and getting in there with a soft ball can provide immediate relief. Hip tension is particularly bad because it can cause tightness and poor alignment at the top of your legs which can continue down the chain if not treated properly.
Rope: Plain old fashioned rope is great for stretching out hamstrings. Use the rope as a lever to improve your hamstring stretch. As you work into the stretch, you’ll be able to pull your leg higher with the help from the rope. See below as an example.
Stairs: Stairs are a slightly more obvious, but still great example of ways to stretch at home. Doing calf raises and calf stretches on the stairs are good ways to either mobilize before a run or stretch out after. Not only will this exercise loosen you up, but also help build strength.