I am in the middle of my training for a 50-mile race later in September. It almost feels easy to run the marathon distance now, but I will not lose the respect for that distance any time soon anyway. As you can imagine, working my way towards the 50 mile distance requires a different approach to training, fueling, and recovery. I am working on all 3 angles at the moment and it is fun, but also a lot of effort. Below I am talking about a major piece related to recovery.
Recovery is Key
I am not a young gun anymore with 48 years under my belt and recovery is more important than ever these days. While I have fine-tuned my recovery fueling to a point where I feel confident I have it under control, I realize fuel (food) is only one part of the occasion. Last fall I invested into a new pair of running tights and I went with the A400 Compression Tights from SKINS. I bought these mainly for Winter running and to stay warm. They have helped a lot to keep my muscles save from injury and I wore them underneath my regular running tights when the temps dropped below 25 degrees.
Not too long ago I read more about recovery and the benefits of compression gear and I figured instead of buying special gear just for recovery, why not try the A400 Compression Tights for that. They are not specifically designed to be just recovery compression tights as SKINS offers a different type of tights for that, but actually at this point I highly doubt that would be needed.
So, with my weekend long runs getting longer and having to have a back to back weekend run I needed to kick my recovery into high gear. During marathon training I used to have a long run on Saturday and then use Sunday for recovery. Now I run long on Saturday followed by another run (with increased distance) on Sunday morning. After my Saturday long runs I started wearing my A400 SKINS compression tights for a few hours or even the rest of the day around the house. I even partially slept in them during the night to aid the recovery effort.
Compression gear helps to increase the blood-flow in body parts covered by it. Increased blood-flow has proven effect on helping recovery efforts. It plays a major part in removing lactic acid faster compared to when not using compression gear. Wearing compression gear has also shown to measurably reduce swelling and fatigue in athletes and that is exactly what I have been after. Please note: Compression gear makers also claim that wearing compression gear during workouts improves your performance. Several studies have not been able to prove that and from my own experience I have not seen a visible improvement when wearing compression gear during a run.
I have to say that I definitely feel a difference in recovery. As an example, this weekend I ran for 22 miles on Saturday and then wore my A400 compression tights for about 7-8 hours after the run. I went back out on Sunday morning for an 11-mile workout. Initially my legs felt tired, but after about 2 miles I was able to shake off the tiredness and it turned out to be a great run with a pace better than anticipated. Again, after the run I wore the A400 compression tights for about 8 hours around the house while taking things easy. Today (Monday) is a holiday and while Monday’s are usually rest days I decided to take advantage of having more time in the morning. The morning workout turned into a 12-mile effort and again I was positively surprised by how good my legs felt. Yes, I felt the effort from all that weekend running, but I never felt like I had to stop or slow down significantly.
My recovery effort at the moment looks like this. Re-fuel within 30 minutes after the run. Usually I use my Nutri-Bullet to make a tasty smoothie containing Chia seeds, Hemp seeds, Cottage Cheese, Blueberries, Acai Berries, Vega Vanilla Protein Powder, and Almond Milk. Sometimes I substitute the Cottage Cheese with an Avocado. Then I take a hot shower followed by letting ice-cold water run over my legs for about 3 minutes per leg. Then I hop into my SKINS and take it easy for at least a few hours. Sometimes I nap, other times I just sit at the computer and work a little bit, or watch Netflix for a while before getting busy again.
The main difference to before is wearing compression tights for several hours after the workout and I really believe it has made a significant difference. Sure, the training itself should make me stronger and increase my endurance and strength, but with years of running under my belt I think I know when something makes a difference.
When you buy them, make sure to check the sizing chart correctly. These tights need to be tight on your legs. Initially it is difficult to put them because they are so tight. Make sure your legs are really dry when putting them on after a shower – otherwise you will be in for a stressful experience just to get them on. I do not wear any underwear when wearing my A400s and love the way how they sit and feel around my waist (and private parts). There is nothing too visible and I think they rather compliment strong runner legs and lower extremities. The lack of a seam in and around the crotch area is very nice when wearing them.Some people wear shorts above their running tights when out and about, but I think you do not really have to (I don’t wear shorts over them).
Fun Fact: The A400s sit on your body just like an extra layer of skin – that’s how tight and thin they are. Go, and open your fridge when wearing your SKINS A400 and stand close to the open fridge. You can really feel the cold air from the fridge touching your legs just as if your regular skind would not be covered by any clothing.
I bought my pair of SKINS at Amazon.com – click here to check current pricing.
Disclaimer: Please note that the links in this blog post are affiliate links and I would earn a small commission from Amazon if you decide to buy through my links. As you can see from the pictures, I actually own a pair of SKINS A400 Compression Tights and this blog post is based on my own positive experience. I have not been compensated by anyone to write this SKINS review.