I’ve covered a couple of the lovely bits of kit I have received as a member of the Trail Running Team on the blog, but today I am here to talk about the one bit of kit I am genuinely reluctant to take off.
The Compressport R2 Calf Guards.
I was first introduced to compression gear very early on in my running career and had a pair of (wiggle’s own-brand) DHB compression tights which I would use on occasion after a strenuous run. I was somewhat skeptical about the effects that they had on my lower limbs, so although I resorted to using them from time to time I couldn’t possibly tell you whether they genuinely made my legs feel better or if it was a psychosomatic thing. And for that reason I never bothered spending any more dosh on compression stuff.
Roll forward a couple of years, and there I was about to ascend the biggest bloody hills I’d ever seen in my life, in Chamonix, and I eagerly rolled up my calf guards. I wasn’t sure what to expect but they were easy to pull on and although the main section of the guard feels compressive, it’s not excessively tight; the looser, stretchy fabric cuffs at each end ensure that the guard sits comfortably both just under the knee and over the ankle. The many sizing options and accurate measuring system should ensure that you can find an equally pleasing fit!
I’m not gonna lie, the hiking up those mountains hurt, and my calves tightened up, I would hate to think what they might have been like if I hadn’t be wearing the guards. And that’s not some pie in the sky idea, because since having the calf guards I have worn them on almost every run I have done. Now that I have begun to use them, I am aware when I do not!!
The guards do a grand job of holding my wobbly bits in place and residual tiredness and aching takes far longer to build up than it did previously. Not only do they stop any muscle oscillation, but my nettle sting ratio per mile has dropped dramatically and they stand up really well to brambles etc too and two months later and miles on the trails and they still look brand new!
When my knee issues really flaired up, the first thing the physio pointed out almost as soon as I walked into his room was that my calves were insanely tight and flinging the rest of my body completely out of alignment. With some stretching and foam rollering to ease them back to length, I now use the calf guards and have had zero issue at all with tightening back up.
Another plus point of the guards is their usability. Three days spent in the Alps, and on every one of those days I rolled (stumbled) out of bed and pulled up my calf guards. Every day they went on dry, and every day they continued to provide the same, lovely, leg-hugging feeling!
And now, I barely run without them as they have made a significant difference not just to my comfort during a run, but by ensuring my calves don’t struggle as much in my running means that everything else works much better too!