Shoes & Gear

Do you really need compression shorts and tights?

Do you really need compression shorts and tights?

I have been meaning to write this review since I finished the San Diego 100M on June 9th but I have been busy running. Most people opt to take some time off after a marathon, 50 miler and almost everyone chooses to do so after a hundred miler but I find myself to be in the minority. I like to run the day after a race to shake out my legs and keep my muscles from getting too sore, but unfortunately when you run a hundred miles it is pretty hard on the body and never quite feels right. I have been looking for the answer to my problem of being sore for a few days after a race for some time now and while I have had great success with compression socks for my calves, I have never found something that kept my hips, IT band, and glutes from being in extreme pain for at least a couple days.

Let me be honest with everyone reading this right off the bat and say there are so many preventative measures that could keep some of this pain away but when you run 20 plus hours a week it is tough (okay it’s called laziness) to fit in pre and post run exercises, weight training, and cross training. I get up every single morning between 3:30 to 4:00am putting on my compression socks, trail shoes and head out to tackle some mountains before I start my day and there is not much worse than being sore and barley moving along the trail. There are so many things that I could do that would probably make me a better runner and the first would be to take a day off but that is not going to happen at least for another 90 days. I am a streak runner and my addiction requires at least four miles a day, or well…I don’t know what the consequence would be. (I guess I would have to start over to get to 923 which is the day my Dad passed). Anyway, since I do run every single day I have been in the market to find some good recovery wear. I had friends tell me the compression shorts and pants work just like the compression socks but I could not get over putting on anything spandex. I am by no means fat but no one wants to see a guy in spandex. Some may argue with that and I understand why bikers wear them but that doesn’t make me want to go out and buy a US Postal team set to wear for my next run. Now for women this is a completely different story and the more spandex the better but that is neither here nor there. Moving on…

Grand Canyon R2R2RI always assumed compression shorts would be good for recovery but since I live in the desert I thought they would be a little hot to wear during a run especially since I would be wearing them under my regular shorts. Kilian Jornet may be able to get away with them on the outside but I was going to need to cover them up so I cut the liners out of my shorts and decided to wear the compression shorts for the first time as I made my way up to the Grand Canyon to attempt my first double crossing. Sad to say I had only been to the Grand Canyon once prior and it was when I was fat, briefly looked over the edge at the hole in the ground and was ready to leave. Fast forward 10 years, 100 pounds and a new lease on life and I’m standing on top of the Bright Angel Trail waiting to make the descent down into the Canyon. A large part of me was worried that I was attempting this way too close to running the San Diego 100m but getting injured never seemed to be on my mind that evening. While we aborted the mission half way for mental reasons, not physical, I had never felt so strong as I did climbing out of that massive hole in the ground. My thighs and hamstrings tend to get tight after climbing for long periods but after 7 hours and 8,000 feet of vertical ascent out of the canyon I wasn’t in any pain. Often times you won’t feel the pain in a race but you will feel it as soon as you sit down and the cramping moves through your body but I felt great. I felt so good that we got right in our car after being up for 30+ hours and 7 hours in the Canyon that I made the 4.5 hour ride back home pain free. When we got home I actually met a friend and ran 4 more miles of hills with her because I felt so good. So what do I attribute this to? There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was the compression shorts. I have worn shorts with compression short linings before but they don’t seem to have enough support. The CW-X Compression Short felt amazing during and after running in the Canyon. They are not over priced like many of the other shorts on the market and they provide just the right amount of compression without feeling like you’re losing movement.

CW-X Compression TightsWith this in mind I have made a switch to compression shorts during all of my long runs but I was also looking for a way to recover. I have never in my life put on a pair of tights until I crossed the finish line at the San Diego 100m and when I did I was blown away! I slipped these on before our five hour ride back to Phoenix and while I was concerned about being hot in a car for that long I felt incredible plus I’m sure I looked incredible. The tights are designed to take extra stress off your body and have you recover faster by helping with circulation and support. The compression is patterned to help support the IT Band, hip flexors, quads, calves, Achilles, and knees and you can feel it in all these zones. I wore those pants not only for the five hour ride home but also slept in them that evening and when I woke up I was ready to run. After my previous 100 mile runs I would still go out and shuffle out my four miles in a 12 minute pace but I was running 8:00 pace and feeling comfortable the next day. I kept telling myself to slow it down but for the first time ever that four miles flew by and if I thought it wouldn’t be stupid to go further I would have kept running. My schedule had me at four miles for the first week but by day three I was back to climbing again and running long distances . We had a vertical contest for the month of June here in Arizona and while it was just for fun I obviously wanted to do my best. My fear was that after the 18K of vertical in San Diego I would be running flat trails for the rest of the month but instead I am going to finish with over 10 miles of vertical gain for the month (57,400 feet). While it is great for our pseudo contest it is more important to my training for the Speedgoat 50K next month.

I will say I wasn’t sold on the product the day I picked out the shorts and tights from the store but just like the compression socks I am a believer and will be for now on. For just under $50 for the shorts and $80 for the tights you can’t go wrong and your body will thank you. Yes there are hundreds of brands out there but CW-X shorts and tights have been huge to helping me get closer to my goal.

You can view all CW-X products and learn more about their technology at www.cw-x.com.



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This post was written by:

- who has written 22 posts on Trail Running Club.


Started running for the first time in my life three year's ago after losing my Dad to a pulmonary embolism at the age of 58 and since he began running he has lost close to 100 pounds. On 9/23/2012 Jay finished a running streak of 923 Consecutive days with at least 4 miles while compiling over 9,400 miles with 975,000+ feet of elevation gain and completed 15 Ultra's in honor of his Dad who passed away on 9/23/2008. Jay holds a Bachelor's Degree from Michigan State University in Crop and Soil Sciences.

Jay's recent trail ultra running results:

• 13th OA at San Diego 100M in 22:01:26
• 10 Top Ten Ultra Finishes in 14 races
• 4th overall at Lean Horse 100 in 19:01:12
• 9th overall at Javelina Jundred in 2011 in 18:28:26
• 100K Javelina Night Run Champion in 2011
• Cave Creek Thriller 50K Champion in 2010
• Runner up in 2011 DRT Ultra Series

2013 Race Schedule includes:
• Castle Hot Springs 22M
• Phoenix Marathon
• 3 Days of Syllamo
• Miwok 100K
• Speedgoat 50K
• Pike's Peak Marathon
* Mogollon Monster 100

Jay Danek is sponsored by iRun Honey Stinger



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