Foam rollers, sleep, caffeine

This month, I’d like to focus on three topics I came across that I found particularly interesting.

I’m a fan of foam rollers and have my thoughts based on personal experience on what they seem to do but what do they really do? How do they actually help?

How does a lack of sleep affect you? What can the differences between sleep patterns of people who live on opposite sides of time zones tell us about that?

What should you do to best take advantage of the benefits of caffeine on race day?

What do foam rollers actually do?

I’m a big fan of foam rollers and massage sticks. I can’t say for sure how they work but I can definitely say that they work for me. Whether placebo or not, I don’t care. I feel better when I use my foam roller and stick.

But what do they do? Well, to be honest, not much. If you look real hard, you can see some benefit but it seems to be minimal.

That said, I’ll keep using my foam roller and massage stick. Even if it’s 100% placebo, I feel better when I use them. I’d suggest the same for you if you find also them to help. If you don’t use them and don’t see the use, don’t worry. You’re probably missing out on very little.

How does a lack of sleep affect you?

I’ve written before about sleep (just a few examples). It’s good for you. We have that down, right? So why do I want to write about this again?

Because an interesting study looked at the difference between people on opposite sides of time zones.

People on the more western edges of time zones, where sunsets are later, go to sleep on average about 19 minutes later than those on the more eastern edges, where sunsets are earlier. These people on the western edges have worse health and financial outcomes.

If just 19 minutes can make a difference, imagine what getting to bed 30 minutes or even an hour earlier could do for you? Don’t overlook these little changes that can make a big difference.

What should you do to best take advantage of caffeine?

I’m not a coffee drinker and personal experience suggests I may be one of those rare non-responders who don’t really benefit from taking caffeine the way most people do.

That said, I get it. Caffeine definitely helps most people and can be used to give your running a little boost.

But how do you take the greatest advantage of using caffeine on race day? Well, coffee drinkers, I’m sorry to tell you but you may have to stop drinking your morning cup for a while if you want the greatest performance boost.

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