Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Week 6 Recap

This week started out really great and then sort of declined into a train wreck.  I had really crappy sleep this week, despite going to bed early.  My plan was to move things around so that I would get 5 of the 6 workouts done in WI, leaving a 4 mile run for the weekend in FL and an off day.
I am a decent vacation runner but am a little worried about getting all of the workouts done on our trip, 4 days of which will be on a ship.  Unfortunately due to the sleep situation, I didn't get out of bed Thursday or Friday morning as planned and thus had both 8 milers to do in FL over the weekend.  Not terrible, but not exactly great either given I have 6 more workouts to get in next week.  I knew when I made the decision to do the Hanson plan that it would be challenging to get it done during our annual FL trip.

In the meantime, here is my week 6 recap:

Monday Feb 20
Plan Says:  12 x 400, with 400 recovery and a 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down.  400s should be at 1:33

What I did:  1.05 mile warm up, 8:43.  I did this at 5 AM so the track was not open and I technically ran 12 x 0.25 mi.

1- 1:35
2- 1:36
3- 1:31
4- 1:29
5- 1:30
6- 1:30
7- 1:32
8- 1:32
9- 1:36
10- 1:32
11- 1:31
12- 1:31

My recovery 400s were in the 2:00-2:13 range.  1 mile cool down, 8:13.

This felt good.  I probably could have pushed myself more but am trying to start out by sticking to the suggested paces since I am using a 3:10 - 3:15 marathon goal pace to find my suggested pace in the Hanson's pace charts.  In anticipation of Tuesday's workout, I used the R8 Monday night.

Tuesday Feb 21
Plan Says: Off

What I did: 6.25 miles, 7:16 avg pace

One of the WI Oiselle Volee is running a crazy ultra race with some other Oiselle runners (including some elites).  She was doing a 10K time trial on Tuesday and trying to get 5- 10Ks in that day and looking for people to run with.  I offered her my 5 AM time slot and she took it.  It was fun to run with someone new and since I had a buddy, I felt comfortable leaving my 'hood and not doing the 5 AM loops.  I used this as my tempo run for the week, which was on the plan for Wednesday.  I was a little nervous about doing a tempo run right after a speed work session but my legs actually felt fine. Our avg pace was only a second slower than my prescribed tempo pace of 7:15 and felt good.

Wednesday Feb 22
Plan Says: 5 mile tempo run at 7:15

What I did:   4.78 miles.  Still running a day ahead here!  I got out at lunch during a 70 degree day and it was fabulous.  I really was working to keep my pace down but was still surprised at how fast it was when the miles beeped.

Thursday Feb 23
Plan Says: easy 4 miles

What I did:  Slept through my alarm.  I wanted to do an 8 miler this morning so that I would not have to do any long runs from this week in FL.  I don't remember I shutting my alarm off but I guess that is what I did.  I ended up doing a 4 miler before the bus arrived.   Correction:  I got in 3.8 miles before the bus arrived and because I am mother of the year, I made my daughter wait in the driveway where I could see her and ran small laps until I got to 4 miles.

4 miles, 30:38 (7:38 avg pace)

Friday Feb 24
Plan Says: easy 8 miles

What I did:  Off.  Again, alarm was set for 4:45 AM.  Given that I was awake from 12:30 - 3:30, I knew this was not going to happen.  It is what it is.

We left for FL on Friday afternoon!

Saturday Feb 25
Plan Says: easy 8 miles

What I did: 
8.12 miles, 1:00:52 (7:30 pace)
My first FL run was great, despite getting no sleep the night before. I was up at 6 and out the door before a full day of walking around the parks.

Sunday Feb 26
Plan says: Easy 4 miles

What I did:
8.06 miles, 1:04:34 (8:01 avg pace)
My legs were definitely tired for this but not hurting. I started speeding up unintentionally halfway through and really forced myself to go slow. Another beautiful FL morning and my last run through Celebration as we moved onto Fisney property tonight!

Weekly Total
Plan says: 39 miles
What I did: 39.12 miles

6 weeks of marathon training done!  My first week with speed and tempo was great. In fact this week is almost the same number of miles as my peak week pre-Boston. That is awesome and a little frightening as to what is ahead!!!  I love running fast! My workouts had to be rearranged but they were all done! Week 7 will be all on vacation, including a 10 mile run on a ship. Next week's recap promises to be interesting!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Links!

I am hours away from hopping on a plane for our annual family vacation to FL.  Half of my suitcase is running clothes.  Part of our vacation will be onboard a ship...the same part where I am scheduled to run 10 miles.  Things will be interesting in my week 7 mileage recap for sure!

Here are a few things I read this week:

1. Molly Huddle's NYC Marathon Recap

2.  How to Run 100 Miles
I'm not really interested in the ultra running scene, as I already feel the marathon presents me with more challenges than I can sometimes handle, but there are some great takeaways in this blog post, particularly if you, like me, are trying to get over all of the mental hurdles in long distance running.
"Step one to running 100 miles is becoming 100% comfortable with the uncomfortable realities of failure."

3. More treadmill tricks from Salty Running
I haven't set foot on our treadmill in quite a while due to our glorious bout of weather we have been having, but I am always a fan of the "push all the buttons" method of getting through a treadmill run!

Enjoy your weekend!  I am going to try getting my week 6 training recap up on Monday as usual, but you may be waiting an additional week.  I know. It's killing you! ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Birthday Instagram Contest!

It's my 36th birthday today! 

I'm hosting a contest on Instagram where you could win a pair of Balega Grit + Grace Socks.  Head on over to Instagram and check it out.  (I'm @amyschlott if you don't already follow me.)  There will be THREE winners!

Photo: Balega Website

Monday, February 20, 2017

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Training: Week 5 Recap

You guys!  I had a great week last week!  We had amazing weather so I got SIX runs in and they were all outside.  Also, I finally broke into the 30s for weekly mileage!  HUZZAH!

Monday Feb 13
Plan Says:  Easy 5 miles

What I did: 4 miles, 28:00 (6:58 avg pace).  Yes.  This was too fast.  But after weeks of feeling like a slug and some nice sunshine, (not to mention I was trying to beat the bus and get 4 miles in) I couldn't help but push the pace a bit.

Tuesday Feb 14
Plan Says: Off

What I did: 0 miles

Wednesday Feb 15
Plan Says: Easy 4 miles

What I did: 5.01 miles, 36:47 (7:21 avg pace)

Thursday Feb 16
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did: 3.52 miles, 25:28 (7:14 avg pace).  I did not, unfortunately, make it to 4 this time - the bus arrived home early.  I fought the bus and the bus won.

Friday Feb 17
Plan Says: easy 4 miles

What I did: 5.1 miles, 36:00 (7:03 avg pace)
This run was a lesson in how NOT to pace.  The weather was GLORIOUS.  It was sixty seven degrees outside.  I left work early to get this run in and was so excited to be running in a tank and shorts (despite my WHITE legs).  My first two miles were 6:57 and 6:48.  DUMB.  Especially when I knew that I was going long the next day.

Saturday Feb 18
Plan Says: easy 6 miles

What I did:  10 miles, 1:16:11 (7:37 avg pace)
I again met up with B to get a long run in.  She had 10 miles to do and I was planning on joining her. Our plan was to warm up for a few miles, push the pace for a few miles, and then cool down.  This ended up being a good plan, although my legs took a while to warm up and feel good (likely because I went too fast on all of my runs this week!) She came over to my house at 7 and we both left wearing shorts and a long sleeve.  SHORTS!  In the morning!  It was a beautiful day for a run.

Mile 1: 7:45
Mile 2: 7:40
Mile 3: 7:57
Mile 4: 7:48
Mile 5: 7:28
Mile 6: 7:23
Mile 7: 7:21
Mile 8: 7:31
Mile 9: 7:34
Mile 10: 7:41

Sunday Feb 19
Plan says: Easy 4 miles

What I did: 4 miles, 31:28 (7:52 avg pace)

I am proud of myself for getting out and doing this because part of me was rationalizing that since I did a longer run on Saturday, I could skip this 4 miler.  The glorious weather helped me get out there.  How often was I going to be able to continue running in shorts this February?!  As to be expected, my legs were tired.

Weekly Total
Plan says: 28 miles
What I did: 31.65 miles

5 weeks of marathon training done!  The weeks of nothing but easy runs are officially over.  Bring on the speed and tempos.  I am looking forward to the next several weeks as the "easy" weeks were starting to get boring.  Remind me of this when I am complaining in a few weeks :)

Weekly takeaways: 
1.  I was pleased with how I felt this week, however, in my zest for feeling good paired with good weather, I didn't really take it as easy as I should have for many of my runs.  I need to ensure that my pace is varied enough in the coming weeks.

2.  As often is the case, I abandoned the R8 and Jasyoga this week because I was feeling good.  My goal is to continue to bring that back this upcoming week.  These are things I need to be doing regardless of how my legs feel!

I didn't listen to any podcasts last week.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Race Discounts!

Through the Bib Rave Pro program, I have some great race discounts to share! (I am only sharing a few that are in close proximity to me.)

1.  Rock N Roll Series
The code BIBRAVE15 will work for the following discounts associated with these Rock N Roll races across the country:

Washington DC - $15 off Half and Full, valid until 3/4
Dallas, TX - $15 off Half, valid until 3/12
San Francisco, CA - $15 off Half, valid until 3/19
Carlsbad - $15 off 20k or 5k, valid until 3/26
Raleigh, NC - $15 off Half and Full, valid until 3/26
Nashville, TN - $15 off Half and Full, valid until 4/23
San Diego, CA - $15 off Half and Full, valid until 5/28
Seattle, WA - $15 off Half and Full, valid until 6/11
Chicago, IL - $15 off Half, valid until 7/9

There are a few more cities with Rock N Roll events lined up.  We have not yet gotten codes for those cities.  Stay tuned!

2. Run Madtown 5/27-28, Madison, WI

Code: RAVE15 for 15% off all Run Madtown adult races (5K, 10K, half marathon).

3.  Madison Marathon - 11/12/17, Madison, WI

Code: RAVE10 good for $10 off Madison Marathon or Half Marathon

If you are considering signing up for a race, tweet me or comment and I can check our LONG file to see if there is a discount code associated with your race!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Links!

It's been a while since I have posted some Friday Links!  Today's links are all about the DREADMILL!

I will admit that I am not a fan of treadmill running; however, I have come to see it as a way that makes it way easier to achieve a goal:  To get a run in.

We took the plunge and purchased a treadmill earlier this year.  I have used it several times when it was too dark/late to run outside.  Better yet, my husband, who is not a "runner", has used it several times to get some physical activity in.  I have come to appreciate the treadmill for giving me the ability to be able to consider running 5-6 days a week a reality and not a pipe dream.

That said...our weather forecast for the upcoming week looks INCREDIBLE!  We are talking temps in the 40s and 50s!!!!  I cannot wait.

1.  Treadmill tip of the week: How to Calibrate Your Treadmill
(For the record, I have not done this.)

2.  Another Salty Treadmill tip of the week:  How to teach yourself to pace

3. Don't Be Fooled: Treadmills are Miserable

4.  From the Treadmill to the Western States 100

Through their morning newsletter, Runner's World asking people to comment on treadmills.  Here were my two favorites:

At least for me, yeah, it sucks. But when I hear people say “Oh, I NEVER run on a treadmill,” I can’t help but feel like it comes from a place of privilege. I’m a female who works full time, and I often run after dark, alone. To feel safe, going to the gym and running on the treadmill is often my only option. And I love running more than I hate the treadmill. 
Jenise Anderson

My goal is to run, and if running inside lets me stay healthy, I’ll do it. To me, that’s the exact opposite of not valuing running for running’s sake. 
Jennie Coughlin

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Product Review: Aftershokz Sportz Titanium Headphones

It's time for another product review!

Product: Aftershokz Sportz Titanium Headphones

I was very excited to try out these headphones because I have not had the best of luck with ear buds while running.  The Aftershokz headphones were a huge upgrade for me in two ways:

1) The design of the headphones is such that ear piece cradles around each ear and they are connected around the back of your head/neck so they stay put while running;


2) The ear pieces do not actually go in your ear.  Rather, they rest on your cheekbones.



Let's back up to when I actually opened the headphones box.  I didn't look at any pictures.  I didn't read the insert.  I put them on and headed down to my treadmill.  I tried putting them in my ear like regular ear buds and was having all sorts of problems.

I hit stop on my treadmill and went back to consult the packaging.

This is when I had a HUGE "DUH" moment.

The whole point of these headphones was NOT to go in your ear.  They work by "bone conduction technology" which means that sound vibrations travel to your inner ear, bypassing your ear drum.  Once I had the headphones on my cheekbone, as intended, they were awesome.  I couldn't believe that they actually provided great sound quality.

The purpose of utilizing this technology in a headphone is that you can also be more aware of your surroundings.  This is a great feature for me whether I run outside or inside.  For example, the other night my husband had a meeting so I was home with the kids.  After they were in bed, I went down to our treadmill to run and because I cannot be on a treadmill without something to listen to, I fired up a podcast but could still have some indication of if they woke up.

Outside, these allow for greater awareness of traffic, which is helpful for me as I have to run about a mile on a busy street to get to any of my regular running routes.  Also, I feel more confident having more sound awareness because I periodically have those "Is someone behind me" moments.

Of course, the trade off of this is that you are not blaring music and disconnecting 100%.  I imagine that my eardrums are happier making this trade off.

The headphones that I tested were corded, which is my preference since I run with a first generation iPod Nano.  (No, I am not kidding.)  The cord didn't bother me as much as my earbuds cord did because they have a little clip that you can adjust and clip on your shirt/bra/jacket so it isn't bouncing and hitting you.  A feature I did NOT test out (because, NANO) is that there is a noise canceling microphone piece with a play/pause/skip button right at your chin level.  Therefore, if you run with your phone, you can easily take a call. Since I put the iPod in my back pocket, I did like having the easy ability to skip tracks.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the headphones have a power switch and have to be charged. The charging is easy - you connect to your computer via a USB cord which is provided.  My first round of use was quick because I was forgetting to power them off when I was done with a run.

My husband recently started running on our treadmill and using my old earbuds with the Nano.  He had the same complaint about the earbuds falling out of his ear.  Being a kind, loving and generous wife (!), I let him test out the Aftershokz Sportz Titanium headphones.  Once he got used to the fact that they weren't in his ear, he really liked them and now uses them for his treadmill runs.

All in all - the Aftershokz Sportz Titanium headphones received two thumbs up in our house!

If you are interested in checking them out, you can go to this link to read more, as well as other reviews.  The headphones are $59.95 and you also get a free stainless steel water bottle with purchase through this link.

Disclaimer: I received a set of Aftershokz Sportz Titanium headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!  All opinions are my own and the links within this post do not provide any incentive to me personally, nor does your purchase of the product benefit me personally.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Training Week 4 Recap

I am here to say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I finally started to kick "the illness". Unfortunately, my husband still is sick (he was a few days behind me in the course of things) and has shared the exact same symptoms.  I think my son is on his way out...and then my daughter woke up with it today.  AHHHHH.  I can only hope that our upcoming trip to FL will cure us all for good.

The other good news is that slowly but surely my hamstrings have started to feel better.  I wouldn't say they are at 100% yet but definitely improved over last week.  The tendon on top of my right foot is still bothersome, especially when I wear heels.

Monday Feb 6
Plan Says:  Easy 5 miles

What I did: 4 miles, treadmill 33:50 (8:27 pace) followed by Jasyoga for hips and glutes and the R8 roll recovery

Tuesday Feb 7
Plan Says: Off

What I did: 0 miles, R8 Roll Recovery

Wednesday Feb 8
Plan Says: easy 3 miles

What I did: 5.03 miles, 38:03 (7:34 avg) outside, R8 roll recovery

Thursday Feb 9
Plan Says: easy 3 miles

What I did: 4.2 miles, 35:50 (8:32 pace), Treadmill Run, Jasyoga for hips and glutes and the R8 roll recovery

Friday Feb 10
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did: 3.5 miles, 25:22 (7:15 avg pace), outdoors

Saturday Feb 11
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did:  9.07 miles, 1:10:13 (7:45 avg pace), outdoors

Earlier in the week, my sometimes running partner, B, and I made plans to meet for a run.  She is using the Advanced Hanson Marathon plan to train for Boston so we are not on the same weeks or intensity.  She had 15 miles to do and I had 9 so we did 9 together.  It was really a fun run, we did not push the pace (since long runs on Hanson are meant to be on the slower end of the pace continuum). It was fairly warm out, which was the first day in a pretty long stretch of milder weather we are expecting here in Wisconsin!

Sunday Feb 12
Plan says: off

What I did: off

I wanted to run 5 miles on Sunday.  I was going to have to get up early and do it before everyone in my house was awake to get it in because yesterday was JAM packed with travel and activities.  Given that my husband is in the narcoleptic phase of "the illness", we went to bed at 830 on Saturday night.  All was well until randomly our smoke alarm hooked up to our non-activated security system began going off sporadically all night long.  Hello being up from midnight to 3:30 AM.  Yep. Slept through the 5 AM alarm.  Given that I had already surpassed the mileage for this week, I wasn't too bent out of shape about it.

Weekly Total
Plan says: 21 miles
What I did: 25.8 miles

I was pleased with the week.  I tried to take it easy on all runs to give myself some recovery as I was also recovering from illness.  This upcoming week is the last week of the Hanson plan in the "easy" buildup phase before speed workouts and tempo runs start making a regular appearance.  I finally will break into the 30s for weekly mileage this week!

Weekly takeaways: 
1. Continue working on mobility from the hip down.  Jasyoga and R8 Roll Recovery have been a good combo.

2. Try to get into the habit of going to bed earlier.  In a few weeks when mileage ramps up, I am going to need it.

3. Hydrate!  My hydration has always always been subpar.

4.  Treadmill runs are SUPER easy to run at the pace I should be running at.  Just set the speed and go.  This is more difficult for me outdoors!

5.  My new goal during the workday is to walk the full set of stairs (8 flights) in my building down and up at least one time a day and focus on glute activation.

I didn't listen to any podcasts last week.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

#BibChat Tonight

Join the BibRave #BibChat tonight at 8PM CST!  The topic is "Runner Do's & Don'ts" with sponsor LEGEND Compression.  Two pairs of calf sleeves will be given away at the end of the chat.

Never participated in a #BibChat?  It's easy.  Go to Twitter.  Follow @BibRave and at 8 PM they will post questions to start a discussion.  Answer the questions and use #BibChat.  They are fun!

If you don't win or can't participate, the code 'rave 20' gets you 20% off a purchase of Legend Compression on the website.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Training Week 3 Recap

I recall feeling like death after the Icebreaker Marathon Relay, after I had taken a shower and my body remembered, "Oh are sick" and thinking that I had hit the bottom and would start feeling better as the days progressed.  How I wish that were the case! Week 3 was a slog fest and I ended up getting another virus of some sort, making my sickness venture into the 14 day zone.  While my sore throat and laryngitis cleared up starting around last Monday, it transitioned into a lethargic beast with a sinus and head cold.  Oh, and spread to two other members of my household, causing some breathing issues in my son.  Oh what fun.

It is hard for me to strike a balance between the line of taking a day off to take care of yourself and pushing through things.  I can very easily rationalize a day off as "self-care".  If it were up to me....wait, it is up to me! ha ha ha   The lazy side of me probably would have taken more than one day off last week so I am happy that I pushed myself in that way to get 5 days in.

Fingers crossed and knock on wood, today I feel a bit better than I have in the past 14 days.  Perhaps week 4 will be a winner.

Monday Jan 30
Plan Says:  Easy 4 miles

What I did: 0 miles

We had the burial for my husband's grandmother this day and since I thought I may be on the way out of this sickness thing, I took a day off hoping to jump start my recovery.  Additionally, my legs, more specifically my hamstrings, were still spent from that relay.

Tuesday Jan 31
Plan Says: Off

What I did: 4.1 miles, 35:09 (8:34 pace) Treadmill Run

I started feeling worse on Tuesday.  WHAT?!  I had already used my off day for Monday so I forced myself to get on the treadmill after the kids were in bed.  Hamstrings were still sore.

Wednesday Feb 1
Plan Says: easy 4 miles

What I did: 4.0 miles, 33:49 (8:27 pace) Treadmill Run

Another slogfest on the treadmill.  I was exhausted and my hamstrings were still sore.

Thursday Feb 2
Plan Says: easy 4 miles

What I did: 4.0 miles, 34:00 (8:24 avg pace) Treadmill Run

3 treadmill runs in a row is basically torture for me, but I was sleeping through my alarms left and right.  While I still felt crummy and my hamstrings were still sore, this mentally was TOUGH.  I am proud of myself for getting through this one.  I didn't get any sleep on Wednesday night because my son was up coughing and sick most of the night and my husband and I ended up tag teaming the PPL from work to get him to the doctor.

Friday Feb 3
Plan Says: easy 4 miles

What I did: 0 miles.

I did not sleep at all on Thursday night for whatever reason.  After several days of pushing myself when not feeling great, exhaustion won.  My husband let me take a small nap when he got home after work and then I went to bed early.

Saturday Feb 4
Plan Says: easy 5 miles

What I did:  8.34 miles, unknown total time, OUTDOORS!

Even though I went to bed early on Friday night and slept through the night (yay), I woke up still tired.  Usually my kids come into our bed in the morning and at that point I am awake and up.  I still was in and out of sleep for the time they were in our bed on Saturday morning and it took me a lot of effort to get out of bed.

I wanted to get a long-ish run in since my last long-ish run was on January 14.  I realized right as I was heading out the door that with all of my indoor running lately, I hadn't charged my Garmin.  I headed out anyways figuring I would get data on some portion of the run.

This run was so difficult.  My hamstrings were sore as hell, I felt like a slug.  JUST KEEP GOING.  My watch died at 6.07 miles at which point the time was 45:27 (7:29 avg pace).  I realize that this is not as terrible as I am making it sound.  However, my last long runs were around a 7:00 pace and felt easier than this one did.  The rational part of my brain realizes that I was not feeling well for over 2 weeks and during that time was dealing with my whole house being sick, a death in the family and not getting sleep.  I was still frustrated by this run.

I did some JasYoga and Roll Recovery for my hamstrings later that night which helped a bit.  I again went to bed early.

Sunday Feb 5
Plan says: off

What I did: 6.07 miles, 44:52 (7:24 avg pace), Outdoors

Argh.  This too felt hard.  My hamstrings were still bothering me.  They do not hurt but feel so so tight.  I've never had hamstring issues before.  You may recall that a few weeks ago, my calves were bothering me - same feeling, very tight muscles.  My calves are not bothering me any more - the feeling has moved up!  The tendon along the top ridge of my right foot is also very sore.  It is not debilitating, just noticeable.  All of this has been very frustrating, particularly because I haven't even had to ramp up mileage yet!

During the super bowl I worked on JasYoga sequences for hamstrings, hips and glutes.  My hypothesis is that my weak hips and glutes are causing the calf/hamstring issues.   My birthday is in 2 weeks - if this is a foreshadow of age 36, I don't want it!

Weekly Total
Plan says: 21 miles
What I did: 26.64 miles

This whole week was tough.  Despite taking an extra rest day, I felt like a slug on every run.  I have two more weeks of this 20ish miles base building weeks before shit gets real with the Hanson plan.

Weekly takeaways: 
1. Continue working on mobility from the hip down.
2. Try to get into the habit of going to bed earlier.  In a few weeks when mileage ramps up, I am going to need it.
3. Hydrate!  My hydration has always always been subpar.

Last winter, I linked to podcasts that I listened to so I will again do that.
1. Another Mother Runner #238 with Green Chef talking Cooking & Food
This had some good tips re: getting dinner on the table - including making more of things that you need, which isn't something that I am always doing.  I feel like I am still trying to get over evil thoughts that doing Whole 30 put into my head re: "good" and "bad" foods so this was good to hear - mainly that eating full-fat dairy isn't going to kill me.

2. I'll Have Another with Lindsey Hein interview with Amelia Gapin
This is my first listen to this podcast.  It was an interesting conversation that I have yet to finish.  I will listen to more of these as I know they have a good reputation, but I wasn't blown away.

I miss the ROO podcasts!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Product Review: Legend Compression Leg Sleeve

I mentioned earlier this year that I was selected to be part of the Bib Rave Pro program.  What this means is that I am given the opportunity to test out running-related products and have race codes to promote (which is why you should follow me on Twitter @amyschlott).   In exchange for the products, we are asked to write reviews.  Thus, I am starting a new section on my blog:  Product Reviews.

The number of reviews I do will depend on the number of opportunities I am given, so I don't expect this to be weekly.  I personally am not a fan of reading "sponsored posts" on blogs. Thus, I aim to be completely honest to my experience so that these do not have that feel.  Please know that outside of the product that I am given to test, I do not make any money or other compensation for these posts.  I will always title these posts with "Product Review" so if you are really averse, you can skip them :)

Product:  Legend Compression Leg Sleeves

If you have been reading my blog for a year, you know that I first started dabbling in compression leg wear while training for Boston last year.  I would say that I have tried a few brands, but am by no means an expert on all things compression.  In general, I would say that I benefit slightly from using compression sleeves, and lately I have been having some tight calves so I am using them for more than just long runs.  In winter, compression sleeves also provide an extra layer of insulation to the lower leg which I also find nice.

This is my first experience with Legend brand compression leg sleeves.  To be honest, I had not even heard of this company prior to being offered these calf sleeves.

I selected the Small/Medium size after measuring my calf at 14" at the fullest part.  The Legend sleeves sizing for Small/Medium is 13.75" - 17", so my calf measurement is on the small end of that range.

One of the differentiating factors for Legend is their #RightNotTight slogan.  The calf sleeves for running that I was sent provide 15-20 mmHg graduated compression.  Knowing this, I was expecting the Legend sleeves to feel less tight than other calf sleeves that I have tried, and this expectation was met. In fact, I felt that the sleeve was not compressive at all at the first few seconds of wearing them, thus I was doubtful that they would do anything.  I wore them for a run and they definitely were comfortable and my calves were not sore afterwards so I was pleasantly surprised.  They were MUCH easier to get on that other brands that I have wore and the material is more breathable, so I would imagine they would not get as hot in summer weather.  (If you were stuck on the 20-30 mmHG compression, Legend does have that product, however, I have not tried that.)

I was also interested in what level of compression is truly supposed to provide benefit.  To that end, Salty Running recently featured a blog post on this.  I set off to review the articles mentioned in that blog post as well as my own research.  One of the studies mentioned in that blog post mentions a range of 8-30 mmHg as providing benefit during running.  A second study linked to in that blog post used sleeves with 18-20 mm HG over the calf area and demonstrated benefit during running.  I found a review article published in December 2016 in the journal Sports Medicine titled, Is There Evidence that Runners Can Benefit from Compression Clothing?  The abstract states that there is evidence that runners can slightly benefit from compression clothing in terms of time of endurance performance, muscle damage, inflammation, but that there are no significant gains in running performance based on the studies reviewed.  Upon exploring the methodology in the full text article, 32 studies met the inclusion criteria for their review and these studies use of compression had various pressure, which ranged from 7-46, with most falling in the 15-30mm HG range.   My take away?  Legend's compressive pressure is within this range and the comfort of not being super tight is a bonus.

However, the next run I had in them (without washing in between), the sleeves were actually falling down on my run.  I stopped twice during the run to adjust.  I noticed that the logo was on the back of my shin, and all the pics on the website had the logo on the front.  My other hypothesis was that they need to be washed after every use to maintain compression.  Is this true?  I emailed them to find out.

I received an almost immediate response to my email from the President and Founder, John Thomas.  A+ for customer service.  His response indicated that "washing does help to a point, but usually not necessary".  He thought that perhaps since I was on the low end of the size range, exchanging for an XS may also be a solution (which he offered to do free of charge).  He also indicated that he has not heard of the sleeves falling down and so he would be interested in doing testing on my sleeves if I did decide to send them back.

I decided to give the sleeves one more go, post washing and with the logo on the front before deciding.  I had zero problems with them then so I am going to keep the sleeves and chalk my slight issue with them as user error.

Overall, my opinion on compression sleeves is that it is variable by person. Legend is a great option, particularly if you have found other sleeves to be too tight/uncomfortable.

Save 20% on your order with code "rave20".

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Legend Compression calf sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!"