Category Archives for Gear

Compression Socks & Sleeves

“Do they work?” is commonly the question.

A “yes” or a “no” answer depends on what the individual means by “work”.

Sleeves and socks both have their uses, but the usefulness may depend on the situation.

I’ve used compression sleeves/socks during runs if my calves are a bit sore. The compression may reduce calf oscillation (movement) and help with any potential injury or just soreness.

Compression may not have much research behind its use during racing as a performance enhancer, but many people do find such gear comfortable, and being comfortable is almost always going to make you quicker. It is important to consider that the socks may be a bit warm in hot races.

The best option is to wear socks (not sleeves) as a recovery tool, which I often do for the rest of the day after a morning hard/long run.

Is KT Tape Helpful?

KT Tape is “a strong, elastic athletic tape that reduces muscle pain, increases mobility, and enhances athletic performance. … KT TAPE provides relief and support for muscles and joints and can be used to prevent or treat hundreds of sports injuries.” according to their website.

Tracksmith Van Cortlandt Shorts Review

To make this review simple, I’ve broken it down into pros and cons of the Van Cortlandt shorts. If you scroll down you’ll see a video review as well!

  •  Pros:
    • I’ve never chafed in them.
      • Plenty of long runs and races have been done in my Van Cordlandt Shorts and not a single time have I experienced any form of skin injury from chafing. That’s something I cannot say about any other pair of shorts.
    • Durable.
      • From the stitching and outer material to the liner, I have yet to notice any structural issues that may arise.
    • Light but they don’t feel cheap.
      • This includes both the liner and outer material. On most light pairs of running shorts they feel rather cheap and fragile, but that is certainly not the case with these Tracksmith shorts. 
  • Cons:
    • Price
      • At sixty bucks, they are probably the most expensive running shorts you’ll ever buy. I’ve seen them have one sale in the last few years, but it’s possible I missed a couple. Even though, like I said above I’m absolutely confident these will outlive any other pair of running shorts.
    • They’re short
      • Some people just don’t like short shorts. Tracksmith does have other options, but this particular model are 4 inch cut inseam. 
    • Not split shorts
      • I have more muscular thighs than I’d probably like (#humblebrag) and this certainly contributes to my preference of split shorts and having to wear a size up from what my waist measurement would typically have me wear. Split shorts are simply less restricting to forward/upward knee and leg drive while running.
    • The liner is a bit snug.
      • I believe the website even says that they don’t leave you hanging, but in my case I’ve felt that it’s a bit too snug. I obviously do not think they’re uncomfortable, but if I went up a size maybe I’d feel more comfortable in them. 

Headsweats Cap Review

I was lucky enough to win this cap and I'm so glad I did!

I own a number of trucker, baseball, running caps, and running visors that I wear on a regular basis - and this one is the most comfortable one I own!

Features:
5-panel Trucker styling
Eventure woven shell
Eventure terry sweatband wrapped in Eventure knit
Eventure stretch sandwich mesh back
Snap back closure with ponytail opening
Front panel perfect for custom logo application
One size fits most (and it fits my huge head better than most!)

Shoe Variation & Injury

There was recently a question on the Runner’s World forums about a calf strain and if it could be due to the runner only wearing one pair of shoes. I thought it interesting, so wanted to share the question and my answer below.

“I’ve been dealing with an overuse calf injury for 6 months now. I don’t want to blame the problem on my shoes, but could switching shoe models help alleviate an overuse problem?”

Certainly. Different shoes, different terrains, different paces, they all spread out the mechanical stress and force locations to different parts of the body in different ways. This allows all those areas of the body to experience less overall stress and to easily recover.

Think of a runner that does the same exact speed at the same exact incline for the same exact difference on a treadmill every day in the same shoes. They’re placing the exact same stresses in the exact same locations every day, not giving those areas time to recover. It would be like doing the bench presses every time, other muscle groups would never get any stimulation to strengthen and the pecs would never get any off time to strengthen, thus weakening and likely becoming injured. New shoes could change your running form slightly, which could place the stress at a new location of the calf and give that injured area a rest. Compression sleeves could potentially do the same.

That all being said, there’s still no reason to blame the shoes, it’s not their fault. You just may have made a slight error in not giving your body enough variability.

Potentially it could not have to do with a lack of variation at all. I recently dealt with a calf issue due due to tight hamstrings as a result of a weekend of lots of climbing and descending after living in the plains for two years. I spent a few weeks with reduced volume and no intensity, and now I’m A-OK . Of course, you could look at that as a lack of variation issue as well, because I was lacking variation in the plains which meant the mountains were too big of a stimulus (classic too much too soon). But I look at it as me being unmindful and overzealous on the vertical for a weekend.

Shoe Durability​

I also feel that such variation can help a runner put more distance in individual shoes before they are required to retire a pair. As I said in Men's Journal, ​I typically run through my shoes for 800-1500 miles until they fall apart or I wear through the bottom. I believe different shoes, speeds, terrain, etc all change up how the feel and legs are loaded so you do not overload a certain area of the body. It works for preventing running injuries and I believe it works for shoe durability.

Imagine if you only ran in a single pair of shoes. Throughout the miles the sole under the big toe will compress and wear away, so every run you may be pronating a tiny bit more each time. Over the miles that pronation may become exaggerated. Now, pronation is natural and necessary, but over-pronation beyond what is healthy for you can be an issue. Performing an exaggerated degree of pronation for weeks/months due to shoe wear may be harmful, but wearing those shoes two or three times weekly along with another pair or two increases variability and can potentially be a healthy practice!​

Can the parallel use of different running shoes decrease running-related injury risk? | “the parallel use of more than one pair of running shoes was a protective factor

My Favorite Running Socks

Check out this quick review of the only socks I'll spend money and run farther than 30 minutes in!

You can purchase here.

I feel Injinji toe socks are better for running than a traditionally shaped sock because:

  1. The sock pods separate the toes, reducing the potential for blisters (that's why I originally purchased).
  2. They keep the feet drier because there is more material on the foot (between the toes).
  3. They let the toes/feet splay when on the ground better than a more restricting pair of socks.4) They keep the feet cooler. Consider what is warmer, mittens or gloves?

My one piece of advice is to not buy the thinnest liner pairs. They were originally the ones I preferred, however they simply wear out much much quicker than the slightly thicker models. 

Chip or GPS Time?

I just had someone message me this question on Instagram! If he goes by chip time, he was only 2 seconds of PRing, but if the GPS time is correct it took him longer to run the course. So, which do you go by?

Should you go by chip time or GPS time for races? - Click to Tweet!

Why you should untie your running shoes.

Since I typically run in my shoes until they fall apart, putting this off for as long as possible means I can get some extra distance in my footwear. Untieing the laces when go to remove the shoes + being mindful of not yanking on the rear heel collar of them can go a long way towards keeping your shoe upper in tip-top condition.

Here’s a great way to keep your shoes lasting many miles! – Click to Tweet

How to Prevent Blisters

Blisters are always a tricky issue because they seem like such a minor injury, however left unchecked they can really wreak some havoc!

I’ll spare you the disgusting running blister photos, but you can certainly google them if you’re wanting some reference photos.

Did you know tightening your running shoe laces for downhill runs can prevent blisters? – Click to tweet

Running related blisters can happen from a number of reasons. What you must consider is that skin is rubbing against something else and this is causing chafing or blisters. The rubbing must be prevented.

  1. If your shoes are too large this prevents the laces and the shoe upper from being able to comfortably hold the foot in place, thus allowing the foot to excessively shift and potentially blister/chafe.
  2. If your laces are not snug enough this could let your foot move around inside even properly fitted shoes.
  3. If the shoes are too small or simply not the best shape for your feet this can compress your toes/feet and really rub on your skin.
  4. Downhill running may cause the feet to move forward inside the shoe, so being mindful of this and snugging up your laces and trimming your nails before a long / hard downhill run is wise.