Holiday Runlist/Product Review: PRO Compression Calf Sleeves

Tis the season for gift giving!

If you’re looking for a great holiday gift for that runner in your life, look no further.  PRO Compression brand sleeves and socks are the way to go!

PRO Compression Sleeves-Black $45

A few weeks ago I was awarded the opportunity to review PRO Compression brand calf sleeves.  If you’re a runner or know a runner, then you’ve probably heard about these handy accessories or at the least have seen another runner donning a pair.  

I noticed my first pair when I saw someone’s race photos.  They were wearing a bright neon pair of them and it had me hopping onto google to see what I could find out about them.  Why were runners everywhere rocking these compression sleeves?

According to PRO Compression the benefits are many….

Marathon Calf Sleeves combine the optimal blend of advanced materials and innovative design to deliver maximum benefit. True graduated compression technology helps improve blood flow and oxygen delivery, resulting in better, more consistent performance with less fatigue and faster recovery.

Thanks to our advanced design, Marathon Calf Sleeves also support critical muscles and tendons, helping reduce inflammation and soreness associated with running and other activities.  Put it all together for the perfect compression sleeve for training, racing, recovery and travel.”

They sounded like a dream!  Whilst training for a marathon the body is fighting constant muscle abuse.  Recovery time is often limited while following a busy training schedule so it’s important to find ways to aid in that routine.  I’m still a fairly new runner (I only truly began running and training in April 2013) so a lot of this training and recovery is new to me, but the one thing I learned early on is that having the proper support during a run is key to maintaining a healthy body.

From stability shoes to KT tape, I’ve found that the little things really do play a big role in overall performance, recovery time, and injury prevention.  So you can imagine how eager I was to try something new!

I’m not severely prone to injuries, but I am a “heavy-stride” runner.  My feet really pound the pavement when I run so shoes with cushion and support have been a huge help in preventing injuries, but I still on occasion (especially during my long runs) feel pain in my left shin.

I tried my sleeves the day of my first run back after having been sick for 2 weeks.  I knew that my body would be angry with me, but as soon as I slipped those sleeves on I felt like my calfs were wrapped in a warm hug.  Though they were a pain to get on, the struggle was worth the effort.  I wore them during my run and then again in the evening after my run and slept through the night with them.

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During my run I appreciated the snug feel, it was like wearing a sports bra for my muscles!  My shin didn’t ache and the next day my calves weren’t sore.  I can’t wait to see how they feel on my longer runs!  Unfortunately, I cancelled my marathon plans and haven’t been mentally capable of doing anything over 5 miles in the past few weeks so I’ll need to update you on how they aid in long run recovery later.

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I do look forward to picking up my training though and hope that I’ll have another long distance race planned soon.  I know these sleeves will be a new part of my routine.  Another added bonus during the winter months is that they turn my capris into long pants!  BONUS!

If you’re interested in trying a pair or buying them for a runner friend be sure to visit http://www.procompression.com and use PINK2 discount code thru December 15th for 40% off your purchase.

 

 

 

 

How I Came To Love Running

I’m not a runner.  I hate running.

That used to be my stance on the sport.  I detested running and pulled out every excuse to find ways around it when it was required for team sports.

I blamed bad knees (which I genuinely had) and exercise induced asthma.  When team runs were required, I was always the one huffing and puffing at the back of the pack and trying my best to keep up.  I could run one mile at a 9 minute pace, but after that I didn’t want to have anything to do with running.  I was ready to quit.  I was constantly suffering from patellar tendonitis and IT band syndrome.  Rather than run, I’d get my cardio in by erging or biking, but it wasn’t really enough to improve my athleticism.

I always figured running just wasn’t for me.  I had thick, heavy thighs and weak knees.  I would gasp and cough after every run.  What I didn’t realize was that I was never going at MY own pace and that was the number one reason I was suffering.

Running is a sport that you can’t rush until you and your body are ready.

Inevitably, you will be out of breath, panting, cramping and in pain if you try to go at a pace that is not your own.  I learned this when I began training for my first 5k in December of 2010.

I had signed up for the 5K because I needed another push to get me through my wedding weight loss goals.  I had noticed a few friends signing up for the short races and thought it might be something I could do.  I had been working out steadily for some time, but per usual was avoiding the treadmill like the plague.

In my efforts I came across the Couch to 5K program and began my own modified version of it.  Since I was already in fairly decent aerobic shape (through biking and erg work), I decided to push myself a little bit harder and go a little longer on the days that I felt I could.

I still remember the feeling of being able to go for 5 minutes, then 10, then 20, and so on.  It wasn’t until the week before the 5K that I was able to finish the full distance without a walk break, but I did it.  I was so confident and proud of myself.  I had never run anything further than the distance before and it was a huge accomplishment.  I finished my first race at around 34 minutes and made it the entire way through without stopping.  It was at that point that I realized I was capable of more than I gave myself credit for.

I had hoped to continue the trend and planned to keep at it, but I didn’t.  It wasn’t until this past year that I decided to hop back into it.  I started off with intervals of sprinting/walking, but I made the mistake of doing too much too soon.  I was already doing P90X and the plyo-X workout is tough on your body in itself and when you add running with 30 lbs of extra weight to it you set yourself up for injury.

I developed anterior shin splints and they were the worse. I had never in my life experienced this type of injury.  I knew part of it was because I was wearing the wrong sneakers for my overweight frame so I made the decision to invest in a new pair with added support. I also knew that over training was to blame so I slowed things down and took it easy.  The pain soon subsided and my mileage increased.

With every run I felt stronger and more confident in my abilities as a runner.  In June the experience drove me to sign up for my first marathon and I began training for it in July.  The first training runs were tough, but with every passing week I learned that most of my limitations were mental and that if I didn’t go too crazy I could go further distances without getting hurt.

Running has become a routine that I now crave.  On my rest days I miss it and wish I didn’t need the break.  Training for this marathon has taught me so much about what I am capable of.  The biggest surprise is that I’ve learned that I am capable of so much more than I can imagine.

Never would I have thought I could complete a 10k, or a half marathon, or a 20 mile run, but I did it.  I’ve learned that I am a runner.  I just needed to find MY pace.  It may be slow now, but I will keep working towards PRs and getting faster.

I love running because it reminds me that my biggest obstacle is my own mind.