It's a fact of life with running or any repetitive exercise: things will get sore and tight if we let them. I used to feel how hard and tight my legs were and think that was good. That was until I got hit with my first real case of ITBS. I went for some physical therapy and learned that my thinking was all wrong. If they are too hard and tight, then something ain't right.
Now when I get a bit of pain or tightness, I go straight to my foam roller or The Stick. These tools are great ways to work out the knots via soft tissue massage and Myofascial release.
Here are a few sites I found that show good technique for using these tools:
And a couple books I have found:
I get real good results using these tools and techniques on my ITB and lower legs (front and back). And believe it or not, all it really takes is 10 minutes. You'll feel the difference immediately. The Stick now travels with me to all of my races. It's great for warming up, and post race massage.
Run hard out there...