I was afraid that my lack of training in the run up to a cycling holiday in Mallorca would be a disaster. I worried I would not manage multiple days in the saddle and that my legs would be in tatters after only one ride.
But I thought this would be a good opportunity to put a Grid Foam Roller to the test. I have used it on and off before to great effect but would it be my lack of fitness saviour on a multi-day cycling holiday?
(Of course, I could have gone on holiday and cycled only a few days out of the six but that would have left me feeling upset and bored!)
The plan for the week was a mix of longer and hillier rides and some shorter, more recovery style rides. Over six days to cycled more than 600km and the shortest day was 72km. Yet, even that 72km include more than 800m of ascent.
At the and of every day, but not actually straight after each ride, I religiously rolled out my muscles. I focused on thighs, glutes, hips, back, IT bands and calves. I spent around 15 minutes each evening on the roller.
And the results were impressive. I won’t ever know how my legs would have been if I had not followed a Foam Roller routine but I suspect they would have been aching and lacking in life after some of the bigger days.
What I found that was by rolling my muscles I woke up each day feeling almost no effect of my muscles form the previous day’s cycling. This was most impressive after a day in which I rode 130kms with 2,000m of ascent. That next day I still managed 80km.
10 top tips for foam rolling on holiday
Choose one of the hollow Trigger Point Grid foam rollers, the Grid STK, or the Muscletrac. I filled the inside of the foam roller with clothes before putting it into the base of my luggage. I then packed everything else around it. The roller doesn’t weigh much and it can be stuffed with clothes so it doesn’t take up too much space.
Find an area of floor in your hotel room or apartment that is big enough to allow you to lie out flat and move about a bit. If it’s a hard floor, such as the tiled floor of a Mallorcan apartment, lay down a spare blanket or similar for comfort while rolling out your muscles.
Alternatively, if it’s warm and dry outside take the foam roller out with you on to a grassy area and do your work out there.
Set a time that you know you will always be able to commit to, such as the 15 minutes before a shower and half an hour before the first bottle of beer is cracked open.
15 minutes of rolling is enough to give your legs and hips a good workout but it’s better if you can commit more time. However, you do not want to over-do the massaging so do not spend more than half an hour going over tight muscles.
When you are cycling think about where you can feel tight muscles or knots. Try to focus a bit more on these when you use the foam roller in the evening.
A quick rolling out before setting out for a bike ride can help. too.
Spread the word. Unless you want to keep your recovery tool a secret, tell other people who you are riding with of the benefits of the foam roller.
Share your roller among your friends. There is only need for one person to bring a foam roller on holiday with them. You will quickly get into a routine of each person foam rolling then going for a shower.
A cycling friend, Paul, who had never used the roller before said: “I had always wondered what the roller was for and now I know. It’s quite painful to use on my sore muscles but I can feel the benefits of getting into those tight knots.
“It is a good idea for a trip where you will be doing days of cycling or walking and I only wish I had cottoned on to what Fiona was doing right at the start of the holiday. I can now see why she had fresher legs each day!”
Enjoy longer and more plentiful bike riders and less muscle fatigue thanks to the wonders of the Grid foam roller.