Runner Review: 110% Ice + Compression

by Scott Towle

I’d seen these big shiny packages at expos and in stores, so I wondered what all the hoopla was about. Ice + compression makes a lot of sense for recovery.  I already regularly use compression sleeves, so adding ice to the mix seemed like a good idea.  As an ultra runner and a long course tri dork, I can use all the recovery I can get.

When I first opened the metallic package, I laughed a bit.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as large as the packing was, I thought there would be a lot more inside.  The two calf sleeves were folded over four flat plastic sheets and two post card-sized print pieces.  Eventually, I figured out that the packaging makes for an insulated carrier for the ice sheets.  I never got a chance to test how long the sheets would stay frozen in the insulated package, but I have to imagine that during the summer in Texas, you aren’t looking at a long time.  However, I imagine it would keep them cold in cooler weather while you raced.

The first thing I noticed with these calf sleeves is that they fit much tighter than the calf sleeves I’ve been using.  After putting on the sleeves, I followed the instructions for the ice sheets.  I simply had to soak the sheets in warm water until they expanded and then throw them in the freezer.  Once the sheets were frozen, I just needed to slide them into the sleeves.  It took a little work to get the sheets into the sleeves, but it wasn’t overly difficult.  From there, I let them do their magic.

Did they work?  Well, I didn’t have any calf soreness during the two-plus week trial period.  I used the sleeves after both short and long workouts.  I threw them on after a particularly hard 4.5 hour ride on a Saturday and turned around and won my age group in a triathlon on Sunday.  I put them back on after the tri and then knocked out an eleven mile run that evening.  My quads were pretty dead, but my calves felt fairly normal. Last weekend I threw the sleeves on after a tough 30K trail race and had no calf soreness the following day. I can’t say that I would swear these sleeves were a “cure all,” but I definitely can’t prove they don’t work.  Even if it’s just placebo, I’ll take it and continue using them.

Pros: No soreness.  “Cool” factor (terrible pun very much intended).
Cons: Price.  Difficult to put on, even harder to take off.

In the end, I think the price will probably scare me away from trying any of the other 110% products, but if you have extra money laying around, and want to have the latest and greatest, the 110% compression is worth checking out.  I’d love to give the shorts a try and see if they would make a difference in the “dead quads” I get from a tough ride or a running race with a lot of downhill.  Outfitting yourself with the complete arsenal of 110% compression wouldn’t be cheap, but if you don’t like ice baths, this product might be a good alternative, especially with the added benefit of compression.

 

Want to try a pair for yourself? Rogue Running has them!

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