I've got a new weapon to fight back against soreness and potential injury, and I'm loving it thus far.
After asking around and getting feedback from several of my trusty runner friends, I invested in a pair of Zensah compression sleeves. My OxySox are great workhorse compression socks, but with all of the pain and achiness in my shin and calf, I wondered what else I could do to stay healthy after taking some off days followed by easy days. Several of the RWOL BQ ladies recommended the sleeves, and I already liked what I read about using them specifically for my problem areas. So, I ordered a pair and two days later I had a snazzy black pair of these puppies:
What can I say about my new calf and shin pain busting little friend(s)? Well, they are TINY coming out of the package, if that gives you an idea about how much these things really do compress your lower leg. They're lightweight but not quite sheer-definitely not as thick as my OxySox, though. I could see myself wearing a Zensah sleeve in the summer if I needed it for some extra soreness or pain, whereas I just didn't lay eyes on the compression socks between May and September last year.
Getting on to how they feel, I honestly never would have spent money on these things if I'd been 100% healthy or just getting over being a tiny bit achy. When considering what physical therapy session co-pays would run, or how much I value running pain free, though-I'm glad I ponied up the dough for the sleeves. As ridiculous as this get-up sounds, the combination of the compression sleeve on the pesky leg, plus my regular compression socks over the top is a match made in heaven. Yeah, I'm compressed all right-but NOTHING HURTS when I do this layering of compression garments. I'm going to stick with this system for awhile. I've been able to throw the sleeve on under regular pants too, as well as at those adult dance classes and toning class that I hit every week.
As far as running goes, I seem to be back on track. Instead of running an 18-week plan based on Pete Pfitzinger's training programs, I'm now considering myself to be in an extended base-building period, with plans to leap back into a variation of his schedule in another two weeks as long as angry leg has become a distant memory by then. For now, it just feels good to be running again without wincing. 2009 was a year of learning to push it and give 110%, but I think 2010 is already bringing lessons in knowing how and when to back off a bit.