As a marathoner and ultramarathoner, If I could pick just one tool to have at my disposal, it would most definitely be the travel stick.
This low-tech tool can provide almost immediate relief from sore and achy muscles. And It also does a fine job doubling back as a perfect option to prepare your lower half for the run when incorporated into a warmup routine. It’s lightweight and portable, which easily allows it to be tucked into a bag if you opt for the 17” option.
The benefits of the travel stick
• Stimulates blood flow - The friction the travel stick creates when rolling provides subtle compression and relaxation of the muscle and underlying blood vessel, stimulating blood flow and warmth.
• Helps relax and loosens fascia - Each muscle belly is covered by a thin fibrous membrane called fascia. This structure helps to support muscle when stressed. It has the ability to compress and stretch with movement; however, when fascia becomes restricted, it can inhibit natural movement and lead to imbalances that may affect performance and perhaps lead to injury.
• Relieves knots and muscle soreness - A natural side effect of heavy training is soreness in overworked muscles. If this soreness is left unattended, it may lead to increased stiffness, making it difficult to rebound from training. The travel stick is perfect in helping to work through some of this soreness post-run.
How long should I roll each muscle group?
There isn’t one clear answer to this question because each person has different needs. When incorporating the stick into a warmup routine, we suggest you spend 1 - 2 min on each major muscle group, rolling at a moderate pace.
If you use the stick as a recovery tool to work through sore spots post-run, we recommend spending 2 - 3 min rolling at a slow, steady place with consistent pressure. When you reach a sore muscle, slowly work through that area until you’re able to relax into the pressure.
There are many different sizes and types of massage roller sticks available. We particularly like this version because the individual rollers and the flexibility in the stick itself provide easy manipulation for various muscle groups.
*You can do more harm than good by spending too long on a specific muscle group or using too much pressure. If you suffered an acute injury, muscle strain, or another form of trauma as a result of training, please consult with your sports specific doctor before attempting to self treat*