Thursday, January 15, 2009


am) 9 miles, average HR 154. I wore my monitor but ran by feel. I included 3 X 10" max effort hill intervals. I didn't walk at all and was pleasantly surprised at my average HR... I really thought it would be much higher.

Lance has been training in Kona a bit. Here's a link to his pictures.

In the International Journal of Sports Medicine there was an article on the effects of compression tights on trained runners. They found that full compression tights (vs. the runners 'daisy duke' short shorts) cut oxygen use by a full 30%. For a 3:30 marathoner this adds up to 6 free minutes gained.
They attributed the advantage to more effective blood return to the heart and increased running economy. The tights (and I've already heard of this) may increase your awareness of your legs which allows your brain to feel your legs more effectively. Simply by being aware of leg movement you increase their economy.


Dave said...

Awesome pics and very interesting study. Did the journal have anything to report on the use of tights in recovery?

Lucho said...

Dave- The compression technology has been around a very long time in the medical field. The old saying- rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) for an injury applies for basic recovery. The effects of training aren't much different than an injury and could be considered an injury. In order to gain fitness you have to break down your muscles, micro tears and inflammation are normal.. Compression is quite useful for aiding in the increased blood flow and reduction of inflammation. I have used Skins for quite a while now and for recovery, they're one of the best tools out there. I will be racing my next marathon in full compression tights too..

FatDad said...

I've also read (can't remember the source. Sorry.) that there is research suggesting that there is an optimal 'frequency' that muscles perform best at and compression tights allow muscles to extend the retention of that frequency while fatigued. Hence improved performance on athletes wearing compression socks. Just another theory but at the end of the day, if it works, it works.

GZ said...

You will be racing your next marathon in full compression tights ...

... what marathon is that?

While I have been a bit skeptical about compression tights, I don't doubt the study - and those who wear them, swear by 'em. I have wondered if they are worth the hundred bucks they go for ... (my new latest exploration in this cost versus benefit arena btw is acai berries in monavie). I guess I will explore them ... just not there yet.

... that said, I have to truly question wearing them for a marathon in competition. If they reduced 02 use that much and had a 6min/210min time reduction (a little less than a 3 percent time improvement), I am guessing we'd see a lot of elites wearing them.

And I am guessing that one - heat dissapation is part of the reason.

I guess we see 'em in swimming, but heat dissapation is less of an issue there as the medium of water makes that less of an issue? And wouldn't we see them more in biking as well?

And I am not just defending my daisy dukes here.

I am guessing unless the ambient average temp of your next marathon is less than 45 degrees F, their use is questionable. (and that is also assuming that cold is a dry cold).

When are we running anyway?

Lucho said...

Elite runners aren't the standard to compare useful technology against. Particularly the men. Trust medicine if not elite runners. Elite runners don't wear sunglasses, or hats on hotter days. A hat keeps you cooler. Same with the tights. Once you read about the benefits of 'wicking' then you'll see. I have arm 'coolers' (like arm warmers but different material) that are cooler than not wearing anything and exposing your skin to the sun. The material that the Skins are made of keep you cooler than not wearing anything. And the benefit of runner's 'Daisy Duke' shorts? Besides showing off the color of your pubes to the world? And don't say chaffing.. there are more seems and less support and they allow your thighs to rub. My point is that runners tend to pride themselves on keeping it old school. They are the most lagging sport in terms of technology. Geb and Paula wearing compression socks show that it's catching on, once the egos are calmed then the rest will follow. Didn't you used to not drink water when you ran? Is hydration a myth?
Cycling isn't weight bearing and you don't slam your muscles with jolts. Blood flow is less of an issue also because of gravity. They aren't even similar.
Swimming? That's not about compression as much as it is drag against water. Not even similar to running, unless you're running in water. The swim suits vs compression tights are as comparable as goggles and sunglasses.
Go to (70,000 runners go there daily so it has to be a fairly good example of runner's attitudes!) and you'll get called a 'queer' for wearing sunglasses. Ir compression socks. Or for eating. The compression technology wasn't invented by runners for runners. But the research is out there. If you read it, you'll understand it more.
Skins will do far more for you than a $100 pair of running shoes will.
I'm doing the group run on Saturday at Solepeppers at 8:30. Probably 9 miles or so?

GZ said...

I think I ought to be able to pull off the Sat run.

Elite runners (men) actually have been wearing sunglasses for as long as I can recall (Steve Scott and those buggers as big as his head). Hats too (Dave Wottle ... even more old school). In fact, I remember Frank S recommending a hat.

There seems to be a casual acceptance in endurance sport of elite data when it works, but then a general caveat - "well, this does not apply to the every day guy." What is up with that? Do what this elite does, but don't do this or this or this. Drives me a bit batty ... just seems to make the whole damn thing more individualistic actually.

I digress.

True - the arm warmers (or coolers) ala that Norwegian guy (sorry, I am less tri verse ... I think his name is Sinbale or something) in Kona have not caught on as much ... but most marathons are not something like Kona (meaning not as hot).

So, would you wear them (full length compression tights) in a marathon? A mile? A 5k? Regardless of weather? I am not saying you are wrong ... in fact, if you are ballsy enough to do it because it works for you, then AMEN to that bro. I just ain't there. I am guessing most are not. DOes not mean we are right though...

(and again, I appreciate the conversation ... I know it comes across as debate to some but I think we both get that it is just trying to be better)

Letsrun generally sucks. I rarely visit it. Posts from Malmo and Hodgie-san and folks in that vein don't count ... those are good. I apologize because unfortunately it makes for some sort of running representation ... and really, it is not. Look for the Malmo posts, the Hodgie posts ... that stuff is good though. Unfortunately, the good nuggets have been buried in an avalanche of sophomoric crap.

RunColo said...

I just bought a pair of "tights" running shorts. When I ran Cali International, I felt like my quads were getting tight/cold and I wondered if compression style shorts would help. I've run in them a few times and I admit that I feel a bit weird, but they are comfortable.

Did that study look at compression style shorts or full length tights?

It's funny how as you get older you don't really care what you look like/wear. When I was 19, I didn't even want to wear running shorts because I thought they were "queer" a bunch of a-holes on there, I don't even look at the site anymore, plus that front page kills my eyes with all the links.

Lucho said...

Not many of them wear sunglasses and hats though.. you mention triathletes. They seem to embrace new ideas and are more open to technology. I think that has a lot to do with the bike though, cycling lends itself to gadgetry. I think I would wear the tights in almost any weather except rain. Wet clothes are heavy.

Runcolo- Hey, thanks for coming over on Saturday! It was a blast to meet you and your family. The article I read discussed just full length tights. I know from triathlon though that the half-tights (would running shorts be called 'half-shorts'?) do help with limiting quad pounding and keep the muscles more aligned.