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Equipping

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium

There may be some controversy about listening to music while you run, but when I’m alone, I almost always train with music. These headphones are Bluetooth and sync up with my Garmin 645 Music watch. They have a mini version, which I got because my head is small, and it’s not too bulky in the back.

Now for those of you who don’t run with music, I understand safety is a big concern. It’s a valid point, that you are less aware of your surroundings with music in your ears, especially for road runners. But these are different! They are bone conduction headphones which means they sit outside your ear so you can still be aware of what’s going on around you. They work and sound just as well as regular headphones, in my opinion, and it’s not like people passing by can hear what you’re listening to either.

Music can be considered a training hindrance for a few different reasons. For starters, it’s easier to tune out your performance and slack off on pace and form. Then sometimes you might find yourself actually running to the beat of whatever song is playing at the time, which may not coincide with your goal for your workout. But on those long, slow runs, sometimes the music helps the miles fly by.

I certainly don’t encourage listening to tunes while you’re racing, but as long as you’re smart about it, I think training with music is fine, and sometimes beneficial for the mental side of running. Just make sure it’s a help, and not a hindrance.

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Equipping

RockTape

Kinesio tape has gotten a fair amount of attention since the 2008 Olympics, though it’s been around for over 35 years. I first learned about it back in massage school, and it seemed pretty neat, but I didn’t really understand the “science” and reasoning my professors gave me as to why it was so beneficial. The one thing I understood was that kinesio tape is different from traditional athletic tape because it still allows and even encourages movement, while athletic tape is used to decrease range of motion. Regardless of my confusion, I tried it (the Kinesio Tex Gold brand) and actually noticed some benefits, so I kept a roll around from then on. I used it periodically when I felt like tendonitis was threatening.

A few years later I decided to go to a taping seminar, but this particular class was by the brand RockTape, and they were/are calling it “Fascial Movement Taping (FMT).” I enjoyed the class and felt like I learned more of the research behind kinesio taping, but the instructor informed us all in the class that the old theories of how to tape were obsolete – whether from the origin of the muscle to the insertion or vice versa, how much stretch to put on the tape when applying, and trying to tape for inhibit or facilitate a particular muscle.

RockTape gave me three main positive outcomes from kinesio tape: swelling reduction, rehabilitation aid, and improvement in performance and recovery. Here’s why:

  1. It decompresses the skin for improved circulation and pressure relief. Because of this, it can immediately reduce the perception of pain.
  2. Sensory nerve stimulation and the brain response. In simpler terms, think about your first reaction when you stand up into a cupboard and hit your head hard. Your first reaction is to rub it. That’s because by doing that, you’re stimulating more sensory receptors which bombards the brain with signals to down grade the amount of pain you feel. It’s called the “pain-gate effect.”
  3. Posture/form taping. This is a pretty easy concept. The back and shoulders are a common spot. When you tape your back while sitting pretty, whenever you slouch back into poor posture you will feel the stretch on the tape and instinctively correct yourself.

Are you ready to try it? It’s relatively cheap, quick, and easy to use. You don’t have much to lose, especially if you’re willing to try ANYTHING to overcome an injury. You can buy most brands of kinesio tape on amazon, or at a pharmacy. Some sporting goods stores may sell them as well. The most popular are KT Tape, Kinesio Tex Gold, and RockTape. I’m partial to RockTape because not only am I certified through them, but their tape stays on longer, they have the largest selection of styles, sizes, and colors (oh yes…it matters), and I liked that the company takes the approach of “here’s what we know, we’re still learning, let’s do this together” approach.

After you’ve gotten the tape, and have an area to try it on, YouTube some videos of taping patterns, just to get you started. You can make up your own patterns based on your personal need, but if you’re new to kinesio taping, YouTube has a lot of ideas. Make sure you skin is clean and dry. If you’re hairy, I highly recommend shaving. After I’ve cut a piece from the roll, I round the edges to help keep the tape from fraying as easily. Before you remove the paper backing, rip both ends of the tape.

     You can either apply from the middle out, or have one end as an anchor and peel off the paper as you go. Be in the position of desired movement or stance when you’re being taped or taping yourself. How much stretch? I would say definitely no more than 50%, but usually I do anywhere from 15-25%. Rub the tape after it’s on the skin for a minute to help in bond faster. They say it takes about an hour for it to bond completely. Viola! You can shower with it, just pat dry when you’re done. Typically you can keep one application on for 3-5 days. If need be, trim any edges that start to peel.

When it comes time to remove it, take it slow, but the older the application, the easier it is to take off. The RockTape H20 is obviously a little harder because it’s meant for water sports, but baby oil does the trick.

If you have sensitive skin, test an area first with a small piece of tape. RockTape is latex free, but sometimes the adhesive bothers a small amount of people. Other contraindications for taping would be open wounds, skin infections, active cancer, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Kidney Disease, or Congestive Heart Failure. The latter few are due to fluid movement in the body.

I recently used/am using RockTape to aid recovery for a foot injury and felt pain relief and had a quicker recovery.

To buy, click here: https://shop.rocktape.com?rfsn=1017568.8dec5

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Equipping

Jadience

This stuff is amazing. I’ve tried many different lotions and potions for sports enthusiasts and this product line is by far the best. The Jadience brand has a variety of different product lines that fit specific needs, but they all have at least a little jadestone in them. The company focuses on using ancient Chinese medicine to bring about the healthiest “you.”

Stop it. It’s not voo-doo magic or hippie devil stuff. It’s called herb-ology, and Jadience offers a Muscle & Joint line that has a specific combination of herbs to help with circulation, tightness/soreness, and healing to damaged muscles. There is science behind it. Think of it in the same way you combine certain nutrients in foods to get optimal utilization – peanut butter and carrots – the fat in the peanut butter helps the vitamin A get absorbed into your system. It’s the same way with combining different herbs to work together.

There is a long list of herbs in the Muscle & Joint formula so I won’t list them all, but Clematidis, Achyranthis, and Puerariae are a couple that help relax and relieve muscle pain. There is a light “herbal” smell to their products, but I’ve found that most people like it. I use their Muscle & Joint cream the most because it soaks in better and has a moisturizing effect. The gel is nice for targeted areas and the soak is perfect for post long runs and after races. They also have an energizing foot spray that I use pre-race.

*your own cat with an attitude problem can be found at your local pet store

Originally, I found this brand through my job. We use it in a few of our services. I’ve since learned that they are local to San Diego, but do have retailers that sell their products across the U.S. You can find them on their website (www.jadience.com) or they give you a list of online retailers that sell their product. It’s pricier than bio-freeze, but it’s really not even in the same class. Buy a small bottle and see for yourself.