Athlete’s Toys: The Best Recovery Gadgets for Runners, Endurance Geeks

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Last night, my Tri-club buddies and I suffered powered through a particularly challenging TRX workout

–> We actually did pushups and crunches from this position, I kid you not:

But then our coach whipped out a bagful of goodies and it got all better. I mean, he brought to show us some tools and gadgets that he uses for recovery: a foam roller (but not the regular kind, oh no, that would not be painful enough), a couple of vibrating massagers and sticks, and…

–> I must warn you at this time, do not let your mind go there because once you do, you will fail to take all this equipment as seriously as you should. <-- Too many runners (or cyclists, triathletes, CrossFitters, endurance addicts, etc.) ignore proper recovery and end up hurting themselves. Until recently, I was acting chairman of that club -- and if you read this blog, you know it all came to bite me in the ass gluteus maximus, and it wasn’t pretty.

So: proper recovery, people. It’s important. And while stretching is all fine and dandy, if you’re piling up the miles or hitting the gym like you mean it, you should be doing more than that.

Here are five gadgets that can help tremendously. (I have only a few of them, but hopefully will be adding more to my collection.)

1. Rumble Roller

Move over, foam roller. If you want the real painful deal for your achy, tight muscles, the rumble roller is your go-to remedy. To be used exactly as a foam roller, the rumble roller is a great way to get a deep tissue massage on those areas that most need it.

2. The Stick

I’ve had one of these for a while now and it’s been a great “intro to the foam roller” tool. If the foam roller hurts too much, try the stick. You can control the pressure and get those muscles ready for the real deal (see above). Great for travel, too.

3. Body Back Buddy Trigger Point Massager

Great for massaging hard-to-reach back muscles (or any hard-to-reach areas, for that matter). Just get it in those knots and show ’em a good time!

4. “Jeanie Rub” Massager

This is a pricey one and, sadly, I do not own it. But my chiropractor does and, I do not exaggerate in the least when I tell you I truly believe this is the best massaging device ever invented. In fact, until recently I thought the people at the chiro kept calling it “genie” because of its magic… or rehabilitative genius.

5. Handheld Percussion Massager

This lady is smiling because her shoulders and back are feeling awesome right now. This massager is affordable and can be used on all kinds of muscles (glutes, quads, hammies, you know – anywhere it hurts).

Even your neck. Like the guy at the Sharper Image said:

Well, I couldn’t resist going to that SATC scene now, could I?

Your turn: Do you use any of the gadgets/ tools above? Or different ones? What are your favorites?

Today’s run:Easy pace, pain-free. Average heart rate in the 150s, which I think is considered high for my age (?), but felt pretty low-key for me. Let’s talk more about heart rates some other time, though — it’s a whole other (longer) story.

Yesterday:Warm-up before TRX, which consisted of so many squats, lunges, pushups and crunches (all the while hanging from those strappy things) that today there isn’t a muscle in my body that doesn’t hurt. Someone needs a rumble roller… and a massage. See ya!

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