How do you recover?

The race season is in full force and most weekends are now packed with great adventures all across Australia and New Zealand. Just over the past few weekends, trail and ultra runners have had the choice of running at the inaugural Brooks Mount Baw Baw Trail Run Fest, Six Foot Track Marathon, Tarawera Ultra Marathon, Roller Coaster Run, Alpine Challenge– to just name a few. Gone are the days when these events were few and far between!!

I get pretty excited when I look at all of these choices and I cannot help but want to fit in as many adventures and play runs as possible  – including a variety of distances, different types of terrain and formats of races. One of the my ongoing concerns is making sure I spend enough time “recovering” so I can fit in as much as possible. I am lucky to be trained by Ray Zahab and as he monitors my training and races – he is quickly learning the signs of when I am fatiguing and not producing quality runs. He definitely notices that my performance is impacted if my hours at work are long and my levels of stress are high – luckily running is also a way of reducing that stress for me, although it doesn’t always lead to quick times.

After increasing my training and intensity, I thought I would write on one of my  methods to “recover”.

Compression tights – CW-X 

There are many thoughts on the benefits of compression and although I wouldn’t say that all compression garments are beneficial for recovery,  I truly believe the right compression can definitely aid in increased performance and recovery. You will often catching me wearing colourful striped full length or 3/4 tights during a race and  you will ALWAYS see me in them after a race. I have been super lucky to be supported by CW-X since I started doing ultras/trail running in 2010 and I couldn’t speak more highly of the products and the brand.

Many people in Australia might not know of CW-X but  they are big in the States and Japan and are starting to be worn by more and more athletes in Australia.

TRM Lysterfield

Dan Bleakman from Ultra 168 and I provided some thoughts on CW-X compression tights in an article last year which provides some discussion on their support and comfort.

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Although I love the patterns on the tights (which stand out and are far more fun than any other compression garments I have seen), the best feature is CW-X’s targeted kinesiology support web – which depending on the garment you choose targets the lower back, hamstrings, medial knee, lower abdominals, lower back, itb, hamstrings, knees and calves. This is designed to  support key muscles and joints in the same way that kinesiology taping is applied by sports medicine professionals. The high grade compression facilitates circulation during and after activity, minimising the lactic acid build up, so hopefully you can run for longer and longer… During my run across the Simpson I started wearing my short shorts for the first 100kms. As the run progressed I was feeling pain in my knees and my ITB was getting tighter and tighter. There was a moment during the first night that I was in so much pain that I didn’t know how I was going to continue. As the temperature dropped I transitioned into my StabilyX Tight and I noticed that the pain slowly started to subside. I would like to take credit for toughing it out but I am pretty sure that the additional support in my medial knee and lower back assisted.

2012 GOW Ultramarathon-9491

During the day I transitioned into the 3/4 StabilyX Tight. Even in extreme temperatures, they were incredible breathable and light due to the UV protection rating and being predominately made from coolmax fabric. Importantly I had no issues of chaffing which I unfortunately get when I wear loose shorts for long distances.

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I find it hard to be scientific in my discussion of why something works for me, which is a good thing I guess because I am clearly not needing to worry or focus about it when I am running. As the photos shows below, I even like to wear my tights when I am patting goats.

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