What is percussive therapy and should you use it?

A Review of the Rooftree R20 Percussion Muscle Massage Gun

Massage guns are having a moment. But if you’re already stretching and foam rolling, do you even need one? The short answer, if you dislike sore muscles and want to feel good after a hard workout, is a resounding YES!

Massage guns- like the RoofTree R20– deliver percussive therapy in the form of quick bursts of pressure into the muscle tissues of your choice. This type of deep tissue massage aids recovery before and/or after tough workouts, keeping sore muscles at bay by both stimulating your nervous system and rapidly increasing blood flow to the area. Regular percussive therapy can help you avoid the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), increase your mobility and range of motion, detox your body by improving the accessibility of your lymphatic system, and it just FEELS GOOD. Is it totally necessary to have one of these tools in order to continue doing what you want to do? No. But when combined with foam rolling and stretching, there’s a lot of discomfort you are going to avoid with a good massage gun; it’s certainly an asset to any recovery arsenal.

As runners, we tend to get a lot of niggles- a sore calf, a tight hamstring, a literal pain in the butt, etc. If I had elite status or a few extra figures in my bank account, I’d be booking monthly massages* in an attempt to avoid some of these annoyances that can at best, interfere with motivation, and at worst, lead to injury. In the absence of both, however, the Rooftree R20 massage gun is an effective alternative. This thing is AWESOME. With 3 different types of attachments, 4 speeds and it’s own cute carrying case, the R20 can handle all of my recovery needs AND is quiet enough for me to use while my kids are sleeping in the next room (I can’t say the same about some other brands I’ve tried at running stores and race expos- most of them are SO LOUD!). My favorite attachment is the flat metal head- it worked like a charm on a sore IT band- the result of seriously amping up mileage after a long break. The round head on the lowest setting also feels great on my quads and calves after long runs and hard-effort sessions. Furthermore, this massage gun works just as well on the upper body as my legs- the trigger point head can really get into the knots in my back and shoulders from lifting and teaching HIIT classes at the gym! Percussive therapy is my new favorite thing to do when I have a few minutes to do “nothing.” (If you’re a parent and work AT ALL, ya get why that’s in quotes).

If you’re interested in grabbing one for yourself, you can score $50 if you click this link (make sure the coupon box is checked!). Your sore muscles will thank you for it!

*Yeah, yeah, I loathe being touched, but I also know the benefit of massage as a recovery tool during training cycles.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I have potential to earn a small commission from qualifying purchases you make by clicking on the link in my post.

Tip Tuesday: Hydration

It’s Tip Tuesday! Tonight’s tip is all about WATER. The name of the game is hydration. The folks at Road Runners Club of America want you to know that water delivers nutrients to working muscles and assists in temperature regulation. We all know that it’s important, but how can we be sure were consuming enough?

Symptoms of dehydration are dizziness, lethargy, nausea, dry mouth/lips, cramps, runners trots, and decreased performance. Here’s the secret to avoiding all of that: you must be hydrated on a DAILY BASIS to achieve optimal hydration for training. This means managing your water intake is essential ALL DAY, EVERY DAY if you want to be able to achieve the goals of each and every workout. In my house, we affectionately refer to this as “pre-hydrating.” Don’t wait for thirst to be your cue to drink! By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already behind the 8-ball. Staying ahead of the game can make or break a good training session…or a race. The good news, according to Harvard, is that all liquid drinks containing water (like COFFEE- hurrah!!!) contribute to your overall hydration, as do water-containing foods, like fresh fruits and veggies.

Aside from maintaining proper hydration consistently throughout your day, here are some helpful guidelines that you can use or tweak to make work for you during harder effort workouts (i.e. long runs, speed intervals, etc.):

1-2 hours before workout: 10-16 oz

During workout: 4-8 oz every 20-30 minutes if going over 60 minutes

After exercise: 24+ oz of water or other liquid to replace glycogen stores and electrolytes lost during workout

Some cool gear to take your hydration with you on the run are handheld bottles, belts, and hydration vests. Which one is best for you is a matter of personal preference and trial and error is the only way to find out works. Me? I don’t enjoy being weighed down by anything, so I like to adequately pre-hydrate and for any run longer than an hour or so, I make sure I’ll be passing somewhere that has liquids (my house or a friend’s, my car, water fountains, etc.). Happy hydrating!

Got any tips, products or cool gear that help your hydration game? Share them in the comments!

SHOES!*

This week is all about your SHOES. Running shoes- the bane of my wallet’s existence (forget about closet space).

Tip #1: Make sure you’re in the right kind of shoes. Are your feet narrow or wide? Got high arches or flat feet? Do you over-pronate? Heel strike? Slap one foot? Are you a speedster or more into high mileage? There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing shoes to ensure the right fit for your body and biomechanics. Furthermore, different brands, categories (i.e. neutral, stability, motion control), and personal preference (cushion, weight, drop, type of foam, type of upper, etc.) can all affect the feel of your ride. The amount of information out there regarding running shoes can be overwhelming. A local shoe store can help you determine what kind of shoe you should be in and point you in the right direction. If you’re local, try Miles Ahead in Sea Girt or Road Runner Sports in Shrewsbury! If you’re not local, try a fit-finder like this one before you head out the door.

Tip #2: How often do you replace your running shoes? The midsole can start to breakdown before the visible parts of the sneaker show wear, so it’s important to keep track of your miles. Most people get between 300-500 miles per pair. Tip #2b: You can extend the life of your shoes by having a few of them in your rotation. This gives foam in the mid- and outer soles the chance to fully expand before pounding the pavement again. I like to wear lighter weight, lower drop shoes for short, quick tempo runs or speed intervals but reach for more structure and support for my long runs. I also have a separate pair for when I hit the trails. Plenty of people also buy multiple pairs of the same exact model and rotate them. About a month out before any race longer than a 10-miler, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got a new pair for your big event. Put a few miles on them to avoid breaking the “nothing new on race day” rule and your feet will thank you for it.

Use promo code RUNNERCOV20 for 20% off your favorite compression socks at https://tiux.co/

*Re-posting this from my Final Surge team social wall for a few athletes who have asked about shoes recently. As a bit of a shoe nerd, feel free to send in your questions and I’ll help you find the answers!