I got a barrel roller (Skilz) over the weekend and I have been getting up close & personal with it this week. I know I am late to the party on this one but I am glad that I arrived. I was able to address the tightness in my lower calves & do some more thorough pre & post workout warmup/stretching rolling out things. I like the firmness of this (vs a softer foam roller).
After a day or two of getting my lower calves loosened up it paid off. My 3 or so miler on the trails was back up to tying my fastest time. Next week it will only get better. I had to scour youtube for just a bit to find a way to use it so I could put more pressure on my calves than just rolling on top of it. Below is the link to the video. Check out the part where he uses the foam roller.