After running close to 200 miles for 30 hours with 12 people in 2 vans, how do you recover from a relay race like Ragnar? First on the list is to catch up on sleep. Then, you may wake up realizing you have a few more aches and pains than when you started the race. What do you do then? Three of our team members gave Tommie Copper calf and ankle compressions sleeves a try see if they would help.
The idea behind the product is to mix compression technology with the anti inflammatory properties of copper woven into the fabric. Copper is proven to reduce inflammation, but can't be taken orally in any type of meaningful dosage.
We decided to put the technology to the “Michael Jackson” test – We gave each of our testers exactly one calf or one ankle sleeve to try and compare against the “unsheathed” leg. Yeah, it was not exactly a scientific test, but it certainly was fun. Here are the reports from the field:
Jen – Former Collegiate Runner
I used it because I turned my ankle a few days before Ragnar and wanted to see if it made a difference in the way I felt. I liked the weight of the wrap and the ease with which I could get it on and off.
It's lightweight and comfortable, much more so than any other ankle support I've used. It's super easy to wash and dries quickly, too - definitely a bonus. As far as support goes, it doesn't provide any stability to the joint. It's too flimsy for that.
However, I would recommend this wrap for anyone who wants to reduce mild swelling or provide warmth to an achy ankle joint. I felt like it did a good job of reducing the overall soreness I had in my ankle without restricting my motion or causing more swelling.
Chris – Age Grouper Triathlete
The copper calf compression socks were new to me. I had seen many of my tri club buddies wearing them over the previous 2 years or so (and the infamous Greg during Ragnar 2010), but I had my doubts. Sort of the same hesitation towards the magnetic balance bracelets so popular these days. I agreed to give them a try as I was the perfect skeptic.
I wore the left sock for my first run of 4.5 miles. I liked the tight feel and immediately felt comfortable with it on. Surprisingly after the run my recovery seemed easy. I didn't pay much attention to it until my next run. I ran 8.0 miles and my left leg felt pretty good. Not that I expected my leg to feel bad but it just felt good. Afterwards the recovery was even more pronounced with absolutely no pains, tension, or tired feeling. Two more runs and 14 miles later the same report.
It was time to test the negative affect so while in Memphis on business I ran a short 1.5 miles to the pool without the sock, and then hoofed it back and added another 5k. Ouch! My recovery on the left leg was slow, tender, and tiresome.
I am a believer. I hate to say it, but where was I a couple of years ago in the compression sock information seminar? Sometimes I guess I need to jump on the bandwagon sooner.
Ira - Dedicated Runner
It is hard to really tell how much the sleeve helps or takes away from how I run.
I will say this, though: After a 10 mile run this past Sunday, I felt no stiffness in my calf after the run.
I rarely notice any need for any recovery time, but I did feel fairly loose. If being given a choice between wearing this sleeve or not wearing the sleeve, my guess is that I would opt to wear it, especially for longer runs.