Thursday, October 25, 2012

Advancing My Running Gear

Runners Leggings
There have been numerous times over the past few years where I have put my legs to the test.  Beach2Battleship 70.3, Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Marathon, and the Chicago Marathon (to name a few).  During these events I have noticed my calf muscles are what hurt the most during the later stages of the race.

Most recently, I've had some lingering effects with both of my calf muscles after Chicago.  In fact, I have yet to wake up in the morning without my calf muscles hating me.  They feel tight during the first few steps of the day but eventually there is a lingering pain throughout the day.

I have compression socks that extend up to my knee cap and I pretty much always wear them after a long run.  The compression does feel good but I want to be even a little more proactive.  I decided to invest in a pair of Zensah calf sleeves.  These look like leg warmers but have a nice level of compression to improve blood flow and aid in recovery.  If you look at my last post, you can see me wearing them.

My first run with them did not go very well.  It was 80 degrees and humid.  While they are suppose to have breathable fabric to wear in the heat, I just wasn't used to them at all.  A planned 12 mile run probably wasn't the best 'break in' run. In fact, it turned into an 11 mile run.

With all that, my calf muscles felt the best they had in 2.5 weeks this morning.  They weren't 100% but definitely better.  I wore them again on tonight's run and I had my 2nd best 6 mile run ever at 7:32 pace.  My best 6 miler was at 7:16 pace; however, tonight's run included 700+ feet of elevation gain.  The 7:16 run had 25.

New Kicks
TKB and I went to the KC Marathon expo.  I actually went with the expectation of buying the calf sleeves at an expo discounted price.  Not only did they not have the Zensah line, there was no discount with the brand that was for sale (granted, I didn't look at every booth).  Let's be honest here, all they had for sale were lame black and white colors.  So I eventually walked around and found the Mizuno rep.  My 2nd order of business was buying running shoes because I was over 500 miles on the current pair.  Once I hit 400 I start looking for a new pair.

I always buy the Mizuno Inspire line.  This shoe is a stability shoe because of a pronation "problem" I have with my running style.  I ended up talking to the Mizuno rep who showed me a line of lightweight shoes.  I've been interested in trying running flats as I've started to land more on my mid- to fore-foot (at least at the start of my training runs and races).  "Flats" have much less of a heal so it helps force you to land closer to the front of your foot, which is suppose to be a more efficient running style.  When you land on your heal, it creates a breaking action that your legs have to overcome.

She showed me the Mizuno Elixir 7 shoe.  While not a true running flat, it's definitely lighter. 9.3 ounces for the Elixir and 10.9 for the Inspires or about 14% lighter.  It definitely has a smaller heal rise as well and probably not as much stability support but enough to not be considered a "neutral" shoe.

Since I've been wanting to try a faster shoe, it was an easy decision.  I did my first run on Tuesday and wore them tonight as well (both 6 miles).  They feel great and I'm definitely glad to add them to the rotation.  I will probably use my normal Inspire shoes for longer runs.  You can also see these shoes in my previous post, but here is a close-up:

Tiger Stripes!  (Also know as Mac OS X 10.4 -- Mac geek humor)
Speaking of adding the shoes to my rotation, this is the first time I've had two pairs of shoes at the same time.  This means I need to start tracking the miles better for each shoe.  Normally I just remember the day I switched a use my training logs to add it up.  Luckily, dailymile has an easy way to tag equipment in your log entries.

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