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5 Essential Tools for Running and Recovery

5 Essential Tools for Running & Recovery

We all love the feelings that come from running: a sense of accomplishment, that runner's high, the stress relief. Running is the perfect exercise that incorporates both cardio and endurance training that is great for all fitness levels.

No matter how much you enjoy running as a sport or past time, no one is immune from stress-related injury or strain. The impact from each footstep hitting a surface, especially pavement, sets the stage for a potential injury. However, you don't have to be a victim of a serious running injury which can set you back for weeks or even months in your training. By utilizing these 5 tools for running and recovery, you can be sure to enjoy this activity for years to come.

Stretching Straps & Foam Rollers
One of the most rudimentary, yet often overlooked tools for running is stretching. While dynamic stretches, which include stretching with movement, are said to be the most effective before races, static stretches are viable competitors for post-run recovery. Static stretches are those that are performed while standing still. Hint: think of the old school bend over and touch your toes. These tend to work best when the muscles are warm, such as after a run. Stretching straps can help you inch deeper into stretches allowing for a more intense stretch and eliminate the need for a partner for hamstring stretches. Foam rollers are great for a different kind of stretching. It allows you to apply pressure to tight areas to relieve tension. Just like a massage, foam rollers provide great muscle tension release.

Gradient Compression Socks
Many people use compression clothing to enhance their athletic performance, but people don’t know about gradient compression garment benefits. Gradient compression is compression that is greatest at the ankle and gradually drecreases as it moves up the sock or stocking.  Who knew that it would make a difference in running? The benefit behind gradient compression materials is based on an the idea that form-fitting compression materials can enhance blood flow and lymphatic flow. Thus, compression socks may improve performance and speed recovery. They provide added support in the areas that need it more and promote better blood flow in those areas.

Heat and Ice
For the days when you have pushed it too hard or for those times when you experience the dreaded "runner's knee," heat and ice can be your best friend. Applying the two in varying cycles can aide in resolving inflammation in the muscles around the knee. A leg heat and ice wrap can be your best friend during these times. Offering pockets for hot and cold wraps in various positions around the knee, this type of wrap provides compression support along with hot and cold therapy. 

Weight Training
Though it may seem counter-intuitive, weight training is a great tool to use for faster runs. By strengthening the leg, abdominal, and back muscles, your posture and stamina reap the benefits. In fact, weight training is a proven method for reducing hip and knee pain for runners. Strengthening surrounding muscles provides a strong foundation for impact.

This may very well be the most difficult recovery tool, yet it is the most effective. Allow your body time to recover from long runs or interval training. Giving your body plenty of time to rest enhances your performance by giving your muscles time to recover and rebuild.

Many of us run to maintain our health and physically push our bodies. Yet, these goals become difficult when an injury ensues. By using these tools, you can reduce your risk of injury from running as well as help in recovery.



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