A number of people swear that the foam roller does wonders in recovering from a hard running session and is considered the poor man’s massage. Because we can’t all afford to see a massage therapist on a regular basis, the foam roller is the next best thing.
Because stretching is sometimes not enough, the purpose of the foam roller is to eliminate and prevent muscle knots – something the more older runners tend to be more susceptible to. You use the roller against the muscle knots with your own body weight to generate direct pressure – like a rolling lumps out of bread dough. It is feels great (although it may hurt at first) for areas such as the IT band, hamstrings, quads and back.
A foam roller is very inexpensive, probably about $15 – $30, but the return on investment is many times over and only takes a few minutes a day. Below is a good demonstration on the most common types of foam roller exercises.