Sunday, December 27, 2009

Back to back runs and compression.

On Xmas it is becoming a tradition that I get out for a run with a few relatives who are over celebrating. This year I managed to gather up 5 people plus a baby in the BOB baby jogger though you wouldn't have known she was there. She slept the entire time from what I could tell. You have to love the overwhelming sleep inducing power of the jog stroller. Being of all different paces and abilities we ran at a moderate pace and regrouped if anyone got far behind. We just ran the "One Store Loop" as I call it and kept things pretty social.

Yesterday I was still itching to get out for a run and spend a little longer on my feet. I also wanted to give my new CW-X Pro compression tights a test. I wore them for the Xmas run but didn't really pay much attention to my legs. Yesterday the plan was to run out to the Tunnel trail then out past Kopachuck, down to the Rosedale store and back around Whitmore / 78th / Artondale toward the golf course and up 70th ave. From there I headed West down 40th and on home. Other than a little bit of heartburn I was feeling pretty good. It was in the high 30s temperature-wise, my legs were responding well and I was running a good bit faster than I usually do for mid distance runs. Like almost all runs I do around here there was a good bit of hills to run. I felt that I was running up the hills pretty strongly and the downhills were much faster than my normal pace. I don't know if it was the tights that were doing it or just me having a slow training week and a bit more rest.

The hardest part of the run was slogging up 70th ave at a 12 min/mi pace for the 1/3 of a mile or however long it is. I was able to dip under 6 min/mi pace for few of the following descents to balance that out. Another thing I tried out on the run was carrying two Ultimate Direction hand bottles instead of just one as I usually do. It felt more balanced carrying two bottles (as long as I remembered to drink from both of them instead of just emptying one first) and I didn't notice them as much as I do when I carry just one. I'm constantly switching hands with just one bottle and it's a minor annoyance. I also only drank about 1 1/3 bottles of HEED on the 10+ mile run which means that I could probably get away with a 16 mile run without stopping somewhere to refill.

So on to the tights... I'd been doing some research on compression clothes for running for a few weeks and planning on buying some compression socks to see if they were as good as other bloggers claim. I decided that I wanted to pick up some compression tights for an Xmas present. The reviews online for CW-X tights were very good and I saw a few reviews of other tights that mentioned that they "weren't quite as good as CW-X" so that was enough for me to consider CW-X. My first impression is that their sizing chart is unfortunately correct. It only goes up to 6'4" in the XL size tights. They're a little bit short for me and don't fit as snugly as I'd like them to around the waist/crotch. It's a shame (for me) that more companies don't offer tall sizes. They just blend the tall sizes in with the heavy sizes so that someone who's 6'6", 190lbs gets the same garment as someone 6'2" and 250lbs. The tights are made of lycra/spandex but they have additional strips/panels of tighter spandex in strategic places going diagonally up and down the legs, under the knees, around the calves, etc... that hold the muscles tight or something. The theory being that this gives improved circulation and less fatigue from the muscles bouncing. This is all supposed to improve performance and lessen / prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

I don't know if I ran faster yesterday because I thought the tights would make a difference or if they really did make the difference. I have been pushing myself with fast 10K runs on the treadmill at lunch the last two weeks as well. I'm a skeptic, so I'm hesitant to give much credit to a pair of tights. They were a little constrictive on my calves and quads/hamstrings when I first put them on but I forgot about that completely after the first minute or two running. I felt good during the run and better than I usually do after a run like this (elevation, distance). That said, I did experience both of the claims that CW-X makes: that performance will improve and DOMS will be less. I'd say it was a positive experience and possibly due in large part to the tights. Also, there was no chafing, another important criteria for running clothes for me. I'll keep using them and report back if I come to any conclusions.


Dist: 10.0 mi
Time: 1:15:17
Avg: 7:31/mi
Alt: 2655 (or 1327 if you divide by 2 to be realistic)
Avg HR: 151

Mile splits: 7:39, 8:33, 7:10, 6:56, 7:37, 7:30, 8:33, 6:57, 7:00, 7:18

Miles 2 and 7 had the major hills.

(Disclaimer: I selected and paid for the tights myself. I've never been in contact with anyone at CW-X. I'd definitely review their products if they wanted to send some to me however. Especially if they made a tall size.)

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