A Runner's Best Friend {Sponsored}

I'm so glad I've started running again.  It's been several months since I've been out running on a regular basis and I can already feel the benefits of getting out there and hitting the pavement.  My energy level is up, I'm in a better mood, I'm getting more done around the house, and I just feel so much better!  Running is a relatively simple sport and not much gear is necessary, but I just got my hands on my new running BFF:  compression leg sleeves by Zensah from SwimOutlet.com, who is sponsoring this post, btw (thanks, ya'll!!!), but all these opinions are my own, yo.  This post is about running, but SwimOutlet.com carries stuff for all athletes and has an awesome holiday gift guide - go check it out!

Since gaining more weight than I want to admit during my running hiatus, I've been getting really bad shin splints.  This also happened to me summer before last when I was trying to pick up my 5K pace and the splints left me almost unable to walk!!!  It was torture!!!  I looked online for remedies and traded massages with my coworkers, but nothing helped very much.  Until I got my new Zensah compression leg sleeves.  I've been using them for about a week now and they are amazing!

Here's how they work:  the compression from the leg sleeve stabilizes the muscle giving the calf extra support to help prevent injuries.  The compression from the leg sleeve is also graduated - more compression at the bottom and less at the top.  This graduated compression helps improve circulation and that's supposed to help reduce fatigue and improve performance.  Compression sleeves are also supposed to help reduce recovery times between workouts.

To be honest, I was on the fence about some of these selling points.  I had been thinking about getting some compression leg sleeves before teaming up with SwimOutlet.com, but just wasn't sure if they would do all the things they claim to do.  Providing extra support to reduce the chance of injury made sense to me, but the whole improved performance/reduced recovery times seemed a little far fetched to me.  Until I tried them.

Now, I'm not going to claim that they turned me into a marathoner or anything (I still alternate between walking and running), but I can tell you that my runs were noticeably faster, my stride was longer - I actually felt like I was running and not jogging, and I had absolutely no pain at all after my run.  In fact, the next day, my legs felt like I hadn't even been out running the day before, and my legs are always sore the day after a run.  Color me surprised that these things really do help improve performance and reduce recovery.  I'll never run without them again.  Srsly.  If you're a runner or if you want to be a runner, go out and get a pair - NOW!  You'll thank me.

Along with my compression leg sleeves, I also got a new pair of running shorts, a book about running, and two different snacks (these and these).  I love, love, love the new shorts.  For some reason I thought they were going to be basic stretchy cotton shorts, but it turns out they're fancy high tech compression moisture wicking anti-chafing shorts.  Maybe I should've read the product description instead of just looking at the pictures, but it turned out in my favor.  I really needed a new pair of running shorts and these are much nicer than I expected.  Bye-bye chaffed thighs!  I haven't started the book yet or had any of the snacks, but I already know I like the sports beans and am looking forward to trying the waffles.  I'll let you know how they are.

Have you ever been really surprised by a product before?  Tell me about it!

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