(A weekly note to save you from suffering the pains and indignities I’ve endured)
One of running’s best features is its simplicity—that you can do it anywhere, any time, with no special equipment or facilities. I’ve even had moderately satisfying short runs in Blundstones and jeans (though I’m not recommending that).
If I could have only one piece of equipment beyond the absolute basics, I would choose a foam roller, or a torture device similar to it, like The Stick. These cruel little cylinders help break up the adhesions between your muscle tissue and the fascial tissue that surrounds them, allowing the muscles to move smoothly, the way they’re meant to. They’re a bit like having around-the-clock access to a very effective and heartless masseuse. I got one after developing plantar fasciitis, which made walking hurt so much it took my breath away. A physical therapist recommended that I roll out my calves with one of these. It began helping almost immediately, when all the other treatments I’d tried for it had failed. Once you get used to using one, you’ll find yourself turning to it for all kinds of aches and pains.