Biscuit Boy, Cupcake and I recently watched the World Triathlon Championships in Hyde Park in London. We watched the Women's race, as the men were racing the next day. As I was racing the next day in Andover triathlon, the women's race was the only one we could make.
The organizers had also put on a great triathlon show, and whilst there I tried on a pair of these CompreSSport running calf supports. They are only recently available in the UK. These calf supports are similar to flights socks worn when flying on an aeroplane, and offer similar advantages. Increased circulation being one of these, of course increased circulation is getting blood through those muscles, which will speed muscle recovery after a race.
The day after making my purchase I took part in Andover triathlon (check out my race review here: http://alwaystri-ingmybest.blogspot.com/2010/07/andover-triathlon-july-2010-telling-it.html). After the race my legs were aching a lot.. I had decided not to race in the supports, as it was quite a warm day and I did not want to feel even warmer. In addition, as these are so tight, it could take a while to get them on. If you are in transition you do not want to take up even more time putting these on too !!!
That said, I always like to have plenty of kit with me and spares so if anything breaks, then your race is not completely ruined and your entry fee totally wasted. So, after the race I took a shower and put on the compression supports. It was a long afternoon and a long drive back home and with the supports on, well my legs felt really supported, and firm, and comfortable. My muscles felt like they were being cushioned, it was a very nice feeling for my exhausted legs. Usually I worry that my legs will cramp up on the way home after a race, but I did not have that worry this time, as my legs felt quite relaxed and not stiff at all.. In all I probably kept the supports on for about five hours.
The very next day I could very easily have run, and it's not very often that I would say that after a race. I had no aches or pain whatsoever. Unbelievable. I was impressed. A few days later when I did run, I decided to try out running with the supports on. I did my usual 4-mile run through the woods. Unfortunately, I also did my usual 'trip over a tree root' thing and went tumbling over. Thanks to my compression tights my bare legs were not exposed, so I did not cut my legs as I probably would have usually.. I did find the compression supports quite hot to run in though.
Whilst in France recently I took advantage of a bit of free time and did a few longer runs. These were a mix of on and off road, and I was running for about 1hr 20 mins in total, so the run was about 10-12 miles in length. There were some very, very steep parts, and of course what goes up must come down, so this was coupled with some downhills too. All of this plays havoc on your leg muscles. I did this run four times in 2 weeks, and only really on the last couple of runs did I feel that my legs were really achy. I didn't wear the supports after any of these runs, mainly as it was either too hot or wasn't convenient..
On the long 16-hour car journey home, the first stop getting out of the the car my legs felt really, very stiff. I can only guess that this was a combination of the previous few runs, some dehydration, that last run was absolutely boiling hot (well into the 30s), and the lack of leg movement in the car. I remember I had packed the compression supports in my bag, so I dug them out and put them on. Immediately my legs felt massaged and supported. I didn't take them off until I got home some 15-odd hours later and yet again, I have not noticed acing legs since...
Due to reasons beyond my control, I have not run since then, but if you are running long distances and want a product that will aid your recovery then I would definitely recommend these. During the winter, when I am running in the freezing cold, I will definitely be wearing these under my thermal running tights every day. Not just for the added support, but also for the added insulation.
The cross country running season will soon be starting here, so I am looking forward to seeing how the calf support help after 13 miles of hard cross country.
You can buy them here in the UK:
Enjoy! If you do try them, drop me a comment and let me know - I'd love to hear.
PS> I must mention that some weeks later, I won my first ever prize when running .. and, guess what ??? I had on my calf supports. Coincidence or calf supports ?? Here's a link to the race review, and also a video !