This year Challenge Roth and Ironman Dublin 70.3 are key on my agenda, and to try and compete in an ever more competitive field everything needs to be aligned. The age groupers lifestyle isn’t miles off that of a professional athlete; the long training hours, the clean diet, strict sleeping routine, physiotherapy treatments and all the expensive gear. One thing however, which is hard to obtain as an elite age-group athlete, is the level of rest and recovery which the professionals are exposed to. Juggling the training with a full-time job and family life is difficult. There are simply not enough hours in a day to optimally recover whilst also fitting in everything else – training, work, sleep…life!
So during our wedding anniversary, the hotel we stayed in, had an air compression boots treatment on their spa menu. Having seen many professional use this as part of their recovery routine, I was keen to try this for myself to see its effects. I was pleasantly surprised, the air compression boots left my legs feeling lighter, less heavy, more refreshed. To get this level of recovery in a 15-20 minute session is fantastic! Having fresher legs after a training session means I can give more during my next training session and achieve better and faster results – every athlete’s ambition I suspect.
Intrigued by the results of the compression boots, I researched what options were available. I came across three main brands. All three systems appear to offer similar features but with a limited budget I decided to purchase the Air Relax Compression system – it’s a fraction of the price (roughly €800 cheaper!) compared to the other two brands and offered medical grade pressure (as high as 230mmHg). Since receiving the compression boots I’ve used them almost every day. They’re easy to use and I pop them on when I unwind in the evening on the couch. A 15 minute session is not only great for recovery it’s also a comfortable massage (whenever I want/ need it). I’ve also used the boots as a warmup or even a motivator – there are days when the body (and mind!) simply don’t want to train, the legs are heavy and the body is feeling sluggish and not in the mood for a tough long session. However, after relaxing with the compression boots on, everything feels a bit easier – the legs feel more mobile, my body more flexible. So then a quick shot of espresso and off I go, ticking another training session of the list, delighted that today I didn’t give in!
Since I started using the compression boots, my training has no doubt improved. I’m able to recover faster and as result endure more and harder training. I think for the cost of the system, it’s a great return which every athlete should consider. You could invest in new gear or high-end gadgets to give you an advantage, however investing in better recovery and thus your own training/ body is the best investment you can make. I now feel that I’m another step closer to the “pro” lifestyle while still being able to balance everything else that makes me an age-grouper.
By Charles M.
July 12, 2017