Sunday, August 12, 2012


I finished off the week with 45 miles of running and 4km of swimming; one of the best weeks I have had in a long time.  I ran 5 days this week and swam on the other two days.  This kind of balance and mileage is perfect for my marathon base building and I am hoping to keep it up through August and into September.  Once the weather cools down, I will start increasing the mileage again, but for now I hope to stay consistent.

The first half of the week is recapped here.

Friday: 8.33 miles, 3.25 hard on the track
Saturday: 12.11 mile long run, easy pace
Sunday: swam 2km

One thing that I really like about running is that participating and improving in the sport does not require a lot of equipment or money.  Compared to a sport like cycling, where the gear is very expensive and is a major factor in one's ability to improve, running requires very little gear.  I think this makes the sport very accessible and reduces the barrier of entry.  The baseline for participation in running used to be a pair of running shoes, but now with barefoot running gaining momentum, we could argue that even that has gone out the window.

That being said, getting new running gear can be really nice.  I don't do it all that often (except replacing shoes every 500-600 miles), largely because if I don't need to spend money on stuff, I try not to.  That being said, with more than 15 years of running behind me, it's inevitable that some of that running stuff needs to be retired and replaced.  I've been making a recent effort to replace the bulk of my running socks, which were cotton NB socks that are 6-10 years old and no longer resemble white.  The problem with the socks has predominantly been that they are so stretched out that they bunch in my shoes, but I digress.

Aspaeris pivot shorts
I recently decided to try compression socks and shorts, with an air of skepticism and disdain for what I felt was an exorbitant price.  Why did I want to try them?  Well, typically if my leg muscles are sore or tight, the discomfort is concentrated in my calves and hamstrings.  In April and May, these muscle groups caused me a lot of trouble, as I frequently found I had to stop mid run to stretch them out.  I waited for some online deals and purchased Pro Compression marathon socks and Aspaeris pivot shorts.  I was able to get the socks for $30 (regular $50) and specifically chose this brand because they often run discounts online (and several people had mentioned success with them).  I got two pairs of the pivot shorts for $45, regular price is $60 for one.
ProCompression marathon sock

I first tried wearing both the socks and shorts for recovery, i.e. in the evenings at home, or during the day under pants at work.  The short story is that I like both of these products and find them effective!  I always felt like the following day, my legs were more recovered than usual.  Both products are designed to be tight, which makes them a little tricky to get on, but once they are in place, I definitely feel like it hugs my muscles and increases circulation, leaving my muscles feeling much better recovered compared to an occasion when I do not use them.  

I also tried the socks and shorts during runs.  I didn't notice much of a benefit if any wearing the socks.  I think it probably looked cool, as the socks are super bright, but my calves would still feel achy and tight.  They did sop up some of the sweat that normally drips down my legs, so that was sort of nice.  I have worn the shorts both for a track workout and for a hilly run.  On both occasions, I liked wearing the shorts and felt like it prevented my hamstrings from feeling uncomfortable.  It made stretching and running uphills, during which I normally feel my hamstrings in an unpleasant sort of way, much easier.  I did notice that I had more trouble keeping my Nathan Speed 2 water pack in place with the pivot shorts, but it wasn't so inconvenient as to motivate me not to wear the shorts.

My pink Pro Compression marathon socks and my legs
Basically, I like both of these products and will continue to use them several times a week.  With two pairs of socks and shorts, I do not foresee my supply expanding in the near future.  I do laundry enough times a week that this should suffice for now.  I can certainly recommend these two brands, but I would suggest that if anyone is interested in trying compression gear to scope out the options and wait for a promotion, as the full price for all of this stuff just seems so high (at least to me!)

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