Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Zensah Compressions

I usually arrive late to the gadget and gear party, if I come at all. Took me years to realize that 100% cotton shirts weren't necessarily the way to go and Dry Fit shirts mattered, and I still haven't embraced heart rate monitors. So when confronted with the new craze of compression socks I didn't even think about it. They looked like work socks meet the 1970's tube monstrosities. Why would this look be a good thing? It didn't make sense and I had no desire to look ridiculous.

Then I had the chance to test out a pair of Zensah compression socks. I had never heard of this performance sports apparel company until they reached out to me on Twitter (see, incessantly twittering about my daily 8 mile run and Lance's latest training ride has its benefits) to see if I would be interested in testing them. Free clothes? Sounded like an offer on which I don't usually pass.

The basic thrust of the compression sock is that, due to its tight fit, it increases oxygen blood flow which can improve performance. Sounds like a good value proposition, which might possibly overcome the ridiculous sight of me in long shorts and high socks, just revealing my hot knees.

So, two days after the black beauties arrived, I took them for a test run on the treadmill last night. And I give them a big thumbs up so far. I did a typical 7 mile run at 7:45-7:50 pace. Nothing too earth shattering. I didn't feel like I was floating; the run was not effortless or appreciably easier than my usual slogs.

But I did notice something that I also noticed when I took PureSport. At the usual point in my runs when I start to feel fatigued and it becomes actual work to maintain consistent pace, I didn't feel the drop in energy. I felt like I could have kept going for longer and when I eventually stopped after 54 minutes, 45 seconds, I felt much better than I normally do. This feeling kind if snuck up on me; it wasn't like I ever had this moment of euphoria when I realized how good I felt. It was more like the Zensah socks prevented me from spiraling downwards. They company also makes compression shirts, arm sleeves and shorts so I wonder if the effect of being totally enclosed in compression garments is an order of magnitude improvement over running naked. Definite test required.

I realize that these feelings could have been psychosomatic; I was hoping to notice some effect, I ran in the afternoon and inside rather than my usual morning outdoor run and it always feels good to wear something new. That being said, I am pretty pumped up to test them out my morning 8 miler tomorrow; the dilemma becomes do I ever wash these babies or just wear them everyday until I pass out from asphyxiation.

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