I have played sports all my life.
I started as a young rugby player, dodging my way up to first division in my country’s National League.
Once I became too slow (old?) to keep pace, I got linked to rugby as a coach and I also started trail races. I trail raced in many places around the world, where the terrain was mostly hills and steep, so you can imagine my entire body - and obviously mainly my legs - got really challenged.
After that I decided to go for street races. 10K, 15K, 21K… and finally the most wanted 42K, including the incomparable NYC Marathon, which I ran twice, amongst several others.
All of this I mention was carried out while being married, father of two kids, and working as senior manager for an oil company (meeting, travelling, etc.). So you can just imagine how active my day to day routine was.
Having said this, when I reached 45 years old, I decided to go for an Ironman.
Though and challenging decision, if any, in sports life.
And when you hear about Ironman races, you suddenly think about a whole day of continuous swimming, pedaling and running, averaging 12 hours for the triathletes in age groups.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The hardest (and most enjoyable indeed) is the six months long training program, which will allow you, if strictly followed, to get to the finish line with a smile on your face.
You are talking about 10 training sessions per week, almost no day off for several weeks, every single day comprising long and exhausting workouts, plenty of food and hydration, and then get ready for the following day. But that is not enough, especially when you have so many battles fought by your body - muscles and joints - like I had.
So I needed to get something to help me out with my body recovery process. If you have the amino-acids, BCAA, full protein food, etc., some of them work, some others do not, depending on each individual.
Till one day I heard about compression socks, and how they helped you get a faster recovery.
Very reluctantly, I bought a pair and tried them on. ‘’ Wear them after working out’’ , I was told, and I did so.
Outcome: Muscle sore and fatigue disappeared faster than usual. It felt so good that I started learning more about this technology.
The spandex fibers compound on these products makes your muscles feel tight, but here is the secret: it is not a constant and even pressure along the muscles, it increases - in the case of the socks - from ankle to knee, creating a squeezing/pumping effect which enables blood circulation more easily, which at its time increases the percentage of oxygen your muscles receive in a given timeframe. More oxygen means rebuilding your weary muscles.
That tight feeling is not just felt: it is real. And it provides you with control and stability of movement, while keeping the muscles tight, it prevents water to get between fibers that causes swelling.
So, long story short, there was a ‘’before / after’’ compression wear in my sports life. I now have a complete set of those garments, including compression T-shirts, long and short sleeve, compression legging (again long and short leg) and of course the socks.
Now I use those garments during workouts as well, not just after. It gives you a comfortable feeling of control that is not easy to explain... You gotta feel it for yourself.
One final note: I reached the finish line of my first Ironman on May, 2010, in Florianopolis, Brazil.
It took me 11;15 hours to complete the course. I was enormously happy!
That night, when I finally went to bed, I slipped on my compression legging as pajamas.
Believe it or not, the next day I was able to walk with no pain at all, while most of my mates were aching, limping and complaining! So I highly recommend the use of compression! And please, be aware that these are not cheap products. Please go and save some bucks on your daily groceries, but not here. The good technology you need in these products is really worth it!!
So go for it, and let me know how you felt!