If you’re a runner but have yet to leap aboard the foam-rolling bandwagon, you are really missing out. Self-myofascial release, as foam-rolling is also known by people who aren’t troubled by difficult pronunciations, is like treating your body to a sports massage: it relieves the tightness in muscles and boosts blood flow so you recover quicker and more effectively from your runs.

Well, we say “treating”, but that’s probably not the right word. Foam rolling isn’t the most pleasant experience if you do it right, but the results are worth it. To make sure you are doing it right, do these foam rolling exercises created and explained by ultrarunner and coach Luke Tyburski, who is an ambassador for Pulseroll, a vibrating foam roller.

Hamstrings

Why A big group of muscles that you rely on when running. The hamstrings are key to running uphill, so if you’re smart enough to include hill training pay extra attention here.

How Place the roller under the middle of the back of your upper leg and, using your arms for support, roll forward and back along the roller.

How long Spend three to five minutes on each leg, adjusting your position every minute.

Calves

Why These muscles are constantly working whenever you are running or walking and most long-distance runners will experience tight, painful and stiff calves at some stage.

How Find the sore spots on the back of your lower leg and put them on the roller. Cross your legs at the ankles so there is a small amount of weight bearing down on the leg that’s resting on the roller. Take deep breaths, and relax your legs into the roller as you breathe out.

How long Spend three to five minutes on each leg, adjusting your position every minute.

Glutes

Why Strong glutes will help you on your way to becoming a strong runner. Arguably these muscles are the most important ones used when running. The glutes are your power factory, but running for long periods can mean they get pretty beaten up, so foam rolling the area regularly is important. You need your glutes to be supple, because having tight glutes can start to affect how your pelvis sits, or even potentially twist and rotate your pelvis area.

How Lie back on the roller with a straight leg on the side you are rolling. Your opposite leg should be bent at the knee, with your foot on the floor. Keep your head relaxed and use your hands and the foot on the floor to gently slide backwards and forwards over the roller.

How long Spend three to five minutes on each side, adjusting your position every minute.

Quads

Why The quads carry us forwards with each stride, help us up hills, and decelerate us when we are running out of control down hills, so it’s worth spending plenty of time looking after them.

How Lie face down with the roller under your quad. It should feel like your entire body is sinking into the floor. Remember to not hold your breath.

How  long Spend three to five minutes on each leg, adjusting your position every minute.

Upper back

Why There are many things that negatively affect upper back posture – running for many hours, sitting at a desk or in a car all day, or spending long periods of time on your phone. Your chest becomes tight and shortened, and your upper spine can begin to flex rather than extend, which may bring on pain.

Using a roller to lengthen your spine, specifically the thoracic section, has been shown to help with breathing, having a more relaxed diaphragm, and reducing pain in the upper back region – all things that can help a runner’s performance.

How Lie back on the roller which should be positioned around your mid to upper back. Relax your head, and let your hips and bottom rest on the floor while you take deep, even breaths, moving along your upper spine and spending five deep breaths on each vertebrae.

How long Spend three to five minutes rolling your back, adjusting your position every five breaths.