I finally got the chance to try my first product as a BibRavePro. I was so excited when I found out what it was going to be. It was coming just in time for my early half marathon of the year, Rock 'n' Roll DC. I even got to pick the color, which was great because I could pick to match my planned outfit for the race. So, I share with you my experience with
Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves
I've used compression sleeves for a long while. Well, long being relative to my short time as a runner. I got my first pair of sleeves over the summer of 2013 when training for my first half marathon to use during my very long training runs (such as my 14 miles at the beach). Now, I'll admit, up until this point I've used another popular brand of compression calf sleeves and socks. The reason being, when I bought my first pair, they were on sale and I like saving money. But want to know the funny thing? When I first started running and was doing my research, I bookmarked things that I wanted to eventually invest in for running. One of the first bookmarks in the 'Gear' folder, even before my shoes I bought? "Zensah Calf and Shin Compression Sleeves (Pair)" on RunnersCorral.com. At the time I had been hearing about compression sleeves being good for recovery and maybe even during runs, and I liked all the color choices. Funny how things come full circle. Now, I have my own pair, straight from the source: Zensah.
I received the opportunity to review a pair of the Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves. Here's the description from the site:
Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves give athletes a tighter fit in the calves and shins to increase performance and decrease muscle recovery time by stimulating blood flow while stabilizing the muscles to help prevent injury.That description is exactly why I love calf sleeves. When I got to pick my color, I knew I would pick a neon one, because that's just how I like my running gear. A benefit of neon clothes? You might get a chuckle out of a driver, but better seen than dead. In the end I went with neon yellow. My reasoning was I wanted to wear them for Rock 'n' Roll DC, and the neon yellow would go well with the yellow stripes in my US Army Original Sport Kilt I planned to wear.
|The kilt and sleeves look good together, right?|
I love ordering things from online. While you may have to wait, it's great because suddenly a package shows up and it's like Christmas! That's how I felt when my sleeves arrived. Just in time too. I got in one short run in my sleeves ahead of the half. While I wanted to wear them for my half and give them a good test for my review, I didn't want to break the cardinal rule of race day of "nothing new". The weather hasn't been cooperative this winter, but the stars aligned for a warmer day, so I went out for a run with my daughter in our jogging stroller. She's a great running buddy because she often yells "Faster Daddy! Faster!" on most run intervals. Unfortunately due to the large snow mounds at cross roads, the run was cut shorter than I had liked, but the sleeves felt good enough to use them for their real test, 13.1 miles.
The big test: RnRDC
When it came time to run in the rain for Rock 'n' Roll, I pulled on my Zensah sleeves as I got dressed at "too early in the morning". The course, which I was running for the first time, was not supposed to be too bad, but having one rough hill around mile 6 and then a mostly downhill after that. I was admittedly undertrained for the race, but my race had one goal: helping my sister complete her first half marathon. We pushed out at a slower pace to take our time and not go too fast too early. The miles cruised by, and while my legs not only looked good with my kilt and bright compression sleeves, they felt good too. The big hill wasn't exactly pleasant, but wasn't too bad. Toward the very end of the race, my thighs started getting tighter, but my calves stayed feeling as good as when as I started. When I was finished, when I was home, even the next day, the same was true. My upper legs were tight and sore, but my calves felt great. Usually I still feel pretty good post race (my calves, not my all of me), but this was even better than normal. I have to say, the Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves passed the test with flying neon colors. Five stars from me.
So what's the final takeaway? I always wear compression on my long runs. I love calf sleeves. And now, I love Zensah calf sleeves too. They were bright, tight, and carried me out of sight. They left my undertrained legs feeling perfect after 13.1 miles. That's testament enough for me.