Monday, September 14, 2015

Product Review: The Runners Choice

I was recently approached by an individual and asked if I would like to review a product called The Runners Choice which is a topical oil blend for foot relief. They sent me a bottle and to be truthful, I put it up on my shelf and forgot about it for a several months. A few days ago I ran the Big Cottonwood Half Marathon and decided it would be a good time to test it out, so I packed the bottle in my bag.

The race course is the steepest half marathon I've ever run with a 2,600 elevation drop from start to finish. It was a FAST course due to the downhill nature. I always get a kick out of runners who complain about downhill running since I love having gravity on my side and it makes it much easier, but they do have a point. Steep downhill runs can be very stressful on your feet and ankles.

About 9 miles into the race I could tell my toes were taking a beating from the harder than usual impact. I also realized that I needed slightly bigger shoes. I finished the race with a new PR so I was very happy but my ankle and feet were hurting. After resting and hydrating at the finish line I decided to give the product a test. I took off my shoes and noticed several blisters on the tips of my toes. I put my feet in an ice chest for about 1 minute since that was all the pain I could take. I then dried them off and applied the Runners Choice to my feet and drove home.

The ingredients in this product include a blend of oils from almond, eucalyptus, wintergreen, peppermint, and spearmint. About 35 minutes later when I arrived home I was surprised that I could no longer see the blisters on my toes.

I'm not claiming that Runners Choice magically makes blisters disappear, but it greatly minimized their appearance and was very soothing to my sore feet. I'm sure briefly icing my feet also helped and I know this is not a scientific double blind study, but I did like the product and plan on using it again after I run the St. George Marathon next month.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Synthetic Workout Apparrel

I can remember when polyester clothes were popular when I was a little kid. As I got older, styles changed and they became an embarrassment and the butt of jokes. Today they have come full circle and have made a comeback to being cool, especially in the fitness community.

When you run a race these days, many of the event organizers brag about giving out technical or performance fabrics shirts which have moisture wicking properties unlike 100% cotton shirts. This means they are made of polyester, lycra, spandex, or some other synthetic material. Brands like Under Armour, Dri-Fit, Clima Cool, Starter, and Cool Max, have helped Polyester lose it's negative stigma and even made it cool to wear again.

Under Armor or the Bat Suit?
Polyester might have some benefits like keeping you drier, but it does have some disadvantages. I've heard that soldiers in combat zones are not allowed to wear polyester under clothing since if they get burned, the material can melt and fuse to the skin. That's not something most people have to worry about while running a 5K, but the biggest disadvantage with synthetic compression shorts and shirts is the fact that they stink up a lot quicker than cotton. Apparently the bacteria and accompanying odor left on our clothes after a workout grows faster on synthetic materials than it does on cotton does.

This problem has prompted laundry detergent companies to cater specifically to fitness enthusiasts who have clothing made of synthetic materials. Certain detergents supposedly remove sweat stains and odors better than regular brands do. I've never tried sports specific laundry products, so I'm not going to promote any brand, but I'd be interested to know if any readers have had experience with any particular detergent that has worked well for them on their workout clothes.

The next time you buy moisture wicking sports apparel, just be grateful it's 2015 and your clothing material of choice makes you as cool as it would back in 1975.