Ultramarathon Recovery Simplified
I’ve been looking forward to writing this review!As a runner that is new this year to ultra distances part of my training has included learning about and experimenting with recovery. About 2 weeks prior to the Hawthorn Half Day Relay and Ultra I was given the opportunity to try and review 110% Play Harder Compression Juggler Knickers, the timing could not have been more perfect.
With training for ultras, the time commitment has been great and I don’t always have a lot of time to put into recovery. The reality is icing is often put off until, if I’m lucky, later in the day, foam rolling and stretching are also put off if they happen at all. I needed something simple, convenient and effective and 110% Compression proved to be just that.
The Juggler Knickers (as well as the other compression gear) combines the benefits of compression with the power of ice. With strategically placed icing pockets, reusable ice inserts and a thermal carrying bag they transition from high performance compression gear to an active recovery system in one simple step. Targeting the hips, glutes, lumbar, ITBand, quadriceps, hamstrings and knees Juggler Knickers are designed for maximum comfort, performance and recovery.
ABOUT COMPRESSION TECHNOLOGY
Compression gear has been a commonly referred to and recommended trend in sports and fitness for the last couple years. Research has started to support that high-quality compression gear may improve exercise performance and recovery. While exercise performance studies have shown mixed results dependent on a variety of variables including the type of compression gear being worn, the activity being performed and the physical fitness of the athlete, exercise recovery studies have almost all shown enhancements in recovery and reductions in muscle soreness when wearing compression gear.
POST-EXERCISE RECOVERY ENHANCEMENT
For the purpose of this review I focused primarily on the recovery benefits of compression and ice. Almost every study performed on compression garments has shown an improvement in post-exercise recovery and reduced muscle soreness. When you workout your muscles experience damage and swelling. It takes time for your body to repair and recover, which is often experienced as soreness and fatigue.
Doctors, therapists and athletic trainers have long prescribed compression as a component of post-injury recovery. The acronym RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is the go-to home treatment for sprains, strains and joint inflammation. Compression garments have simply taken that theory and applied it to muscle inflammation as well. And, based on study-after-study proving its efficacy, (and my personal experience) it definitely seems to work.
ABOUT 110% PLAY HARDER GEAR
There are lots of compression options on the market. I’ve tried a few pairs of “compression pants” that didn’t really feel like compression. The key to good compression lies in the “tightness” of the garment. You want clothing that fits correctly while still compressing tightly; you don’t want clothing that is too tight and too small. 110% garments are made of 70 percent silver-treated polypropylene (to prevent water retention and destroy odor-causing bacteria) and 30 percent spandex. The material is thick, providing up to 50 percent more spandex than competing brands. The result is clothing that fits correctly, while still compressing tightly.
The brand took the acronym “RICE” and applied it to their gear by developing garments with built-in “sleeves” that hold special ice packs. This allows you to use your compression gear after your workout as a full-body recovery system. Simply slide the provided ice packs into the sleeves and kick back and relax for a few hours. The combination of compression and ice helps prevent swelling while reducing inflammation.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH 110% PLAY HARDER JUGGLER KNICKERS
When we returned to the hotel a few hours after the relay I wore the Juggler Knickers with ice packs for about 20 minutes. Ideally I would have been able to ice sooner but that wasn’t an option. I love the way compression feels and the amount of compression of the Juggler Knickers was more than any other compression gear I’ve tried. It took a little effort to put them on, but once I did, the fit was perfect. They felt super compressive, but not to the point that they were uncomfortable or limiting my movement. When I woke up the next day I hesitated to move with the expectation of stiff and sore legs. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t so bad. I got out of bed and went about my morning as usual.
I put the Knickers back on the next morning dreading the 3 hour drive home. I was sure that sitting in the car for that long, even with intermittent stops, would lead to stiff and sore muscles. That was NOT the case at all. I experienced little to no soreness for the rest of the day! Sweet! I compared my recovery to my husband’s who did not have the benefit 110% Compression. Granted he ran faster than I did but all in all, with tight muscles and soreness, his “recovery” lasted about 2 days longer than mine. Note to self: a future gift idea for Chad who is running 13 ultras for 13 in 2013.
- I finally have compression for the quads that I have been unable to find until now
- the ice pockets keep the ice packs in place
- the sizing is accurate
- icing the hamstrings is easier and less cumbersome compared to what I’ve tried in the past
- the day after the race, before we started our drive home, I wore the Jugglers to go shopping at the mall and to lunch not a problem
- the knickers are comfortable
- there is also the option of a variety of compression sleeves to consider
NOT ONLY FOR ULTRA DISTANCES
I know there are other things that played into the ease of my recovery but as I continue to train with the goal of a 50 mile event, 110% Compression will be my post-run recovery routine. And not only for ultra distances. I now wear the Knickers after my weekend back-to-back runs and after shorter runs during the week if my legs feel tight or noticeably fatigued.
110% Play Harder offers gear for men and women in a variety of styles so that you pick the garment that suits your needs and works best for you. Pricing starts at $55.00, which may seem a little high, but given my experience, it is definitely worth the investment.
Do you have a go-to recovery routine? What is a fitness product you would recommend without hesitation?