In recent years we have seen the advent of "compression" wear. An additional dimension to garments containing elastane. A plethora of brands such as Under Armour, 2XU and perhaps notably SKINS can be spied worn not just by runners but under the shorts of rugby players , footballers and tennis players etc. The shoe companies have not been slow to offer ranges as well. Adidas (techfit/powerweb), Nike (pro), Asics (inner muscle) are all on offer.
I'd say the main benefit all the suppliers claim from their compression wear is the reduction of muscle oscillation (vibration). You can understand being somewhat lacking in musculature I was initially somewhat sceptical but seeing runners in slow motion and seeing the degree to which parts of the body move I can now appreciate the micro damage that can be caused to the muscle in motion. Combine micro tears with lactic acid build up and of course we have pain during and after the run. Solution....tight fitting but elasticated compression wear to reduce muscle shake.
Many would refer to increase of circulation as the main benefit of compression wear rather than reduction of muscle vibration. The theory being increase of blood flow means quicker nutrient delivery to tired muscles and speedier waste product removal. Benefit......better recovery, better performance in the next run, better results long term.
How this is exactly achieved is not made clear by every supplier, however. But one product , perhaps standing out from the crowd is AMP PRO wear from SAUCONY, which was dominating the conversation in the shop on Friday when I called in. To their credit, SAUCONY stress the infusion of a specially formulated responsive fibre , CELLIANT, into the fabic.
Micron sized particles enable light emitted by the body to be absorbed by the Celliant fibres which then acting as a catalyst recycle this energy back to the body. The energy is absorbed, increasing blood flow and oxygen levels and so enhancing recovery.
SAUCONY are claiming an improvement of 32% in oxygenated blood flow compared to "regular compression" wear. They are offering a range for training in and a recovery range for wearing after the run or even sleeping in. Mens tops and bottoms in red/ black. Womens in sky/black.
As Wallace Spearman, pictured here states, we can "train harder, push further, recover quicker" His secret weapon.
After yesterday's punishing roller coaster 9 mile run perhaps AMP PRO would have been just the ticker to aid recovery for today. But as it was having to be in Manchester to help celebrate my mother's 91st birthday 5 mile was all I had time for and it was more than enough. Still it brought the week to a close with 46 miles, maintaining the year's average.