Running Free

Thursday, December 1, 2016

EC3D Compression Review

When discussing compression clothing I default to what I call my “Rocket Man Song Defense” which is a nice way to say “All the science I don’t understand”.
The Science – That I’ve Read

The gist of compression garments is that creating varying compression of parts of your body can assist in strategically increasing blood flow to either improve performance and/or improve recovery.

Great right?  Who doesn’t need help keeping the wolves at bay deep into a race or training run?  And what would you pay to shorten the recovery time between racing and training or between training runs when the legs feel like lead and the kids want to kick the soccer ball around the yard.  Seems like a drug free and natural way to help the body perform better.

EC3D Product

I want to disclose up front that I have both paid for and also received free product from EC3D for testing.

EC3D is a proud Canadian company that got their start with this technology making compression garments for the medical market.

Their claimed advantage is the variable compression that their products provide.  The compression varies in the garment in order to offer specific compression in specific areas in order to elicit the result of improved performance or improved recovery.

EC3D Calf Sleeves

I bought this product when wanting to try compression sleeves to help with my training efforts.  My legs were often fatigued when increasing mileage and I thought they would help.

I went to my trusty Running Free location and the store rep quickly ran a measuring tape around my calf to assist in picking the specific size I needed.  This is very important as they are sized based on calf circumference.  I was concerned that the garment might be too long as I am quite short but they fit just fine.

What drew me to this product was the variable compression claims and also the fact they were made in Canada.  They were very competitively priced so I felt it was 3 strikes against the competition.

The first thing you will notice is that these suckers are tight and hard to get on.  But once on you appreciate the fact the compression isn’t uniform as your legs aren’t uniform in shape.

Secondly, the box advertised that the product works for both performance and recovery which is what I wanted.

The other cool thing about this product is that is uses Antimicrobial fibres (Rocket Man) that thwarts the stink of frequent use.  I can tell you first hand it works incredibly.

EC3D 3 in 1 Hybrid

This product is for someone who wants it all.  It includes three garments:  Performance compression sleeves, recovery compression sleeves and compression socks.

The difference in the performance vs. recovery sleeves are the placement of the varying compression components.  It makes sense in theory that specifically designed sleeves for differing purposes could deliver better results vs. one garment.

The compression socks are great as well.  They fit tight and feel very thin.  They feel great on and I have had zero rubs or hot spots wearing them.  I put them into the sock rotation immediately.

Does It Work?

I think the scientific and running community jury may be out a bit on whether there is a lasting effect provided by compression.  It’s kind of like the ice bath debate.  As long as I see ultra runners wearing compression and jumping into ice baths I have to think it’s a bit more than a theory.

In this case I don’t care if it’s a placebo effect or a real medicinal effect, it works for me.

Putting on the garment elicits an immediate cooling effect.  It’s as if you can feel the blood flow improve instantly.  In recover situations it definitely seems to shorten the fatigue.

The additional effect is a reduction of damage resulting from the constant pounding and vibration of thousands of steps on the road or trail.  This is a real benefit to me as well and is a noticeable effect.

In closing, if you haven’t tried compression it’s a good time to give it a shot.  Buying new cool stuff is a definite side benefit to running and EC3D has the science behind it at a great price while being made in Canada.

Friday, November 25, 2016

2016 Catch The Coyote Sprint 5.7k - September 24, 2016

This is the second year that I have run at this event.  Last year I rant the 14.4k Challenge course and this but this year I was running the 5.7k Sprint course.

What a difference a year makes.  Last year I wasn’t exactly in top form from a training perspective but I came into the longer race with a solid plan and what resulted was a really positive race that lead to an effort and time that I was proud of.  You can read about that one on this blog.
This year I came into the event very ill trained.  I had injured myself trail running this summer and have been trying to build a bit of mileage on an injured heel.  It still hurts a bit but running doesn’t make it worse so I am just running.  Regardless, I had been run/walking 5k distances.

I emailed the race coordinators and they were happy to check me down to the 5.7k distance.
Everything Before The Race
Sign-up and communication before the race was great.  What you would expect with the services out there now but an extra gold star for a very detailed email in the week leading up to the race loaded with information on parking, schedule, etc.
The pre-race amenities were ample and the mood at the start line was very ‘community’.  I just like the vibe of trail running events.  Good showing of vendors on-hand and waiver signing, pickup up of swag, food availability, etc. was great.

The Race
The 14.4k or longer distances have the ‘pleasure’ of running up 3 lovely sections called:  Cardiac Hill, 64 steps of ruin and Roots of All Evil.

The 5.7k race turns back around the start of the Cardiac Hill climb.  The course had some ups and downs but no big climbs.  I found the race to still be challenging but not super technical.  The course ranges from wide open gravel trails to tight forest single track.
I did all I could out there.  I took a few walks when I was red-lining and pushed as hard as I could.  I wasn’t in-shape but focused on soaking up the scenery and doing all I could.

The delight I had during this race was running with and listening to a little 6 year-old girl running with her Mom.  She was chatting away like a young girl would, covering all kinds of topics.  She started to run with and chat with me.  I was trying to answer while breathing hard in a ‘this is no big deal running and talking like this’ fashion but it WAS a little difficult.
Abruptly she stopped to take a walk break.  I hollered up to her Mom that she was taking a break and the lady said ‘oh, she’s not my daughter, we just met’.  She stopped as well and stayed with the girl who was still chatting away to people passing her.

Such is trail racing to me.  A real brotherhood/sisterhood endeavor.  Shortly after I finished, she came through the finish line with cheers from a small group of women who apparently DID know who she was before the race.
I am proud of these results.  It likely ranks up to one of my slowest performances but I try to feel good any time I strap on the shoes and toe the starting line.  I worked hard out there.
Post Race
Lots of food from bananas, cookies, coffee, water, etc. available as they were before the race but if you’re like me, a hard trail work-out matches well with a burger.  The barbeque was fired up and the burger was great.  I am sure there were vegetarian offerings … kind of sure … I wasn’t looking for those.


The medal is great. It has a customized ribbon/strap with exact date which is a classy touch.  Obviously ordering the same medal and using it for a number of years is a cost saving measure vs. doing a different one every year but the date on the ribbon/strap is great when looking back in the closet on all your medals that all look the same and trying to remember when you ran that race.
I believe there was a choice offered around swag.  I paid for this race so early I can’t remember what I the other options were.  However, when I got there and saw the Trucker’s Hat, I was happy I apparently chose that.

Once again this was a great event.  I will be putting it on my calendar for next year.  With distances of 5.7k, 14.4k and 21.4k there is a distance for everyone.  And according to their social media feed they have been out trying to map a longer distance …

Friday, June 3, 2016

Home Is Where You Hang Your Running Hat!

Running Free Hat Review
I was searching for the perfect running hat.  Here are my needs:

1)      The heat kills me.  A direct result of carrying a few extra pounds and some sub-par fitness means a warm day and beating sun knocks the stuffing out of this cuddly bear.  I need a hat to keep the sun out of my eyes which is light in colour as to not create an oven on my head.

2)      I sweat a lot.  Not nice to admit but the concept of running without a hat is nice with wind blowing in my hair but I am soon blinded by sweat pouring in my eyes.

3)      I have a bigger head.  I am not quite into the category of a ‘planet cranium’ like a certain Running Free athlete I pal around with but still big enough that a number of hats I tried on just didn’t fit or make my head look like I have a shower cap with a brim on.

As a Team Running Free member I was given a Running Free Hat.  So I admit I didn’t pay for this hat but I assure you I would pay for it without hesitation which I almost did when my first hat went missing in a runner’s laundry mishap.

Headsweat website claims (evaluated):

·         Classic style, superior run-hat fit (agreed not pin-heady)

·         Eventure knit shell (it feels different)

·         Eventure terry sweatband (it’s all terry clothy)

·         Flat front panel perfect for custom logo application (Running Free proved it!)

·         Black undervisor to reduce glare (didn’t notice means it works)

·         Adjustable rear buckle with ponytail opening (straight to the end, ponytail not available)

·         One size fits most (even my planet cranium buddy)

·         Machine washable; air dry (holds its no-form form)

·         Does not shrink (true)

Reasons I love this hat:

1)      It’s white.  White is not the best colour for something you wear with the express purpose of sweating into relentlessly but it is the best colour to keep the hot sun at bay.

2)      It fits.  I will admit that I have the adjustment strap right to the end but the fact I can wear it at all is great.  Also, the design of the hat is such that it looks more like a ball cap vs. a burglar stocking with brim.

3)      The Eventure Terry sweatband is incredible.  As purposely designed, the head band takes an enormous amount of moisture.  Also the Eventure Knit material of the hat is very absorbent as well.  In extremely hot situations the entire hat acts like a sponge to help pull the moisture away from my head to evaporate.  Also, I have found it excellent for pouring a cold cup of water on when fighting the heat on a hot race day.  ‘One cup in your mouth and one on your head’ has gotten me through a few hot races.

Well that’s it.  If you are looking for a great running hat the fits well, has high tech moisture management features and looks great, I would wander to your local Running Free store or go to and pick one of these up.  Or get 2 in case you lose one like I thought I did.