I love me some Beyonce when I run, but what I love more is massaging hurt muscles. I have found the single best training aid and it costs under a dollar…. the tennis ball. High school practice is in full swing and players are less concerned with shagging the tennis balls. This means, free tennis balls around the courts near you. Score!
This little neon baby is perfect for massaging knots on your back, IT band, and legs. For my back I lean again the wall with the tennis ball between me and wall. The tennis ball moves easily on the wall and you control the type of pressure as you lean more or less against the wall.
For calf muscles and hamstrings, I sit “L” shaped on the ground with my legs in front of me and the tennis ball between me and floor. This is a little trickier than your back because of less surface area. It still works but most runners go with the foam roller for these areas, but that will cost you $30 at your local running store. I actually prefer the focused pressure of the tennis ball compared to the larger foam roller, but that is up to you.
Your muscles are working hard to keep you training and deserve the break. The only down side to this technique is that my labrador thinks I am being sneaky and trying to hide her tennis ball from her so she keeps messing with me. Try to get a clean, drool-free tennis ball, your muscles with thank you.