Category Archives: Scientific

Wearing compression in preparation of effort – Ready to perform!

As promised last time, we are focusing on the effects of the compression in sports and more particularly in preparation of effort. In this context, the use of compression garments (socks and stockings) is based on the improvement of the venous return. Explanations …

The improvement of the venous return with compression garments

In standing position, gravity causes the accumulation of blood in the legs. To allow the return of blood from the lower extremities to the heart, the veins are used and several mechanisms are involved. At the foot, a small quantity of blood is pushed at each step to the calf. Then the calf muscles act like a pump. When the muscles relax the veins are filled with blood and during the contraction the blood is pushed towards the heart. Finally, one-way valves prevent the blood to go down.In case of failure or in absence of calf contraction, the blood will stagnate in the legs causing swelling with associated pain and discomfort. It is there that the compression may act …Indeed, the pressure applied by the compression on the legs decreases the veins diameter – like a pressure applied on a tube of toothpaste. In consequence, the venous return is improved and the swelling is reduced.

A feeling of light and fresh legs before starting exercises!

Frederik Van Lierde – Hawaii

Often, achieving a major competition is far away from home. Preparations, travel or cultural visits before race cause the sportsman to stomp or extend passive position. All these activities will lead to leg swelling and associated pain which characterizes “heavy legs” syndrome. Who never felt a sensation of heavy legs before running? Decreasing or preventing swelling of the lower limbs (from 50 to 100 %), wearing elastic compression in preparation for exercise, may ensure for the athletes a feeling of light legs … Ready to perform! From a sensory point of view, the pain and discomfort are reduced by wearing compression garments, especially in plane or in train or by exposure to heat.

Recommended products

To improve the venous return, it is necessary to apply a higher pressure at the ankle: we press at the bottom of the tube of toothpaste … The compression around the foot is also crucial. The COMPRESSPORT® Full Socks include all these parameters and appear like the ideal socks in preparation of effort. The COMPRESSPORT®t Smart Socks apply a lower pressure: somewhat less effective but more comfortable for prolonged duration (in travel by plane or train: it is the best solution!). Finally, the COMPRESSPORT® R2 can be used in active conditions (walking or seated for short periods).

Main advantages of compression
Recommended products

1. ? venous return and  lymphatic drainage

2. ? swelling of the legs (from -50 to -100 %)

3. ? associated pain and discomfort

4. Feeling of light and fresh legs

Passive preparation (plane, train, car)

Chaussettes

Active preparation (walking, seated for short periods)

Chaussettes et tights

References

  1. Horner J, Fernandes J, Fernandes E, and Nicolaides AN. Value of graduated compression stockings in deep venous insufficiency. British Medical Journal 280: 820-821, 1980.
  2. Partsch H, Winiger J, and Lun B. Compression stockings reduce occupational leg swelling. Dermatology Surgery 30: 737-743, 2004.

About the Author

dr-arnaud-1_new

Dr. Arnaud M. comes from Besançon in France. He has a PhD in Life and Health Sciences and works at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon (EA 3920, Exercise Performance Health Innovation Laboratory). Arnaud is also the Scientist Manager for COMPRESSPORT® International. You can contact him at arnaud@compressport.com

Testimony of Fernanda Maciel

1. Firstly, congratulations for your excellent 2nd place at the Transgrancanaria 2014! During this race, you were wearing COMPRESSPORT® Full Socks V2. Why did you chose to wear them instead of classic COMPRESSPORT® R2 Race and Recovery?

Because I twisted my ankle last year and during my long Ultras I’ve been doing a sort of “boot” with tape (esparadrapo) to make sure that I can keep my ankle stable. In this case, long and very technical race, I prefer to use the FSV2 because get in and fit better with the tape/boot than the R2. If I’m not making this “tape” for my ankle, I still prefer to use the R2. Both are amazing products of compression and help me a lot to run and not to have problems with my calves and tibial muscle and tendons.

2. We know that you almost always wear compression garments during the effort but do you use them in other circumstances ? (Before the effort, after the effort, during plane trip…)

Yes, I’ve used them almost all time. The best way that work for me is: R2 or Full socks V2 plus the Trail Running Short during my trainings, after the training I use the Underwear or the Full Leg to recover well and to make sure that I get fresh legs for my next trainings day. Sometimes I also sleep with the Underwear and the Full Socks V2.

3. Could you give some advices to our readers on how to wear compression garments before the race start?

COMPRESSPORT® gives us many options of products to keep our muscle and tendons saved and rested before a race. The best option that I like to use before a race can be: Full Leg and a Pro Racing Bike or Run V2 socks. Then you know that you can be walking around or just sit down on the sofa reading a book to be ready for the next day.

Cheers, Fernanda.

Recover faster and relieve pain with compression garments! (1/2)

Need to recover fast for subsequent performances of one day long competition or more simply need to relieve pain after a hard sporting weekend… COMPRESSPORT® is for you! This month focuses on repeated efforts of one day long competition

Cycling, fight sports, track and field or swimming: you need to stay strong for the final trials!

One day long competition includes multiples efforts – series and finals – often repeated in a short period of time (less than 1 h). Many disciplines are concerned such as BMX, mountain bike and cycling track but also fight sports, track and field or swimming. Each time, you accumulate blood toxins (lactic acid) and your energy reserves decrease, causing the fatigue to appear earlier for subsequent performances. To stay strong for finals help your body – use Compressport!

Recover faster with COMPRESSPORT® for better subsequent performances!

MN 10_Calf_graph

Calf muscle oxygenation recorded – with and – without Compressport® R2 following a running exercise. *: significant difference.

Recovering with compression garments induces a series of events… Pressing the veins, the muscle blood flow is increased (+15 %) [1], the oxygen supply (necessary to restore the energy reserves) is improved (+15%) [2] and the toxins removal is accelerated (-13% after only 15 min) [3]. In conclusion, the pain and discomfort are reduced and the subsequent performances are improved compared with passive recovery (+7 W for a subsequent 5-min maximal cycling performance) [3]. 

Full leg compression, compression socks, arm and calf sleeves: COMPRESSPORT® offers you many possibilities to recover!

For quickly eliminating the toxins and restoring the energy reserves you have to compress your tired muscles. The best products to recover for short periods (until 1 or 2 h) are the COMPRESSPORT® Full Legs or the combo R2 and ForQuad. For longer periods, you will use the Full Socks: you need to have a compression around the foot to prevent the blood stagnation. Finally, the Compressport Armsleeves will help you for swimming or other efforts involving the arms.

References

  1. Ménétrier A, Mourot L, Degano B et al. Effects of Three Post-exercise Recovery Treatments on Femoral Artery Blood Flow Kinetics. J Sports M Phys Fitness (in press).
  2. Boucourt B, Bouhaddi M, Mourot L et al. Changes in tissue oxygen saturation with calf compression sleeves – before, during and after a cycling exercise. J Sports M Phys Fitness (in press).
  3. Ménétrier A, Pinot J, Mourot L et al.  Effects of recovery using contrast water therapy or compression stockings on subsequent 5-min cycling performance. J Sci Cycling 2014; 2: 49-56.

About the Author

dr-arnaud-1_new

Dr. Arnaud M. comes from Besançon in France. He has a PhD in Life and Health Sciences and works at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon (EA 3920, Exercise Performance Health Innovation Laboratory). Arnaud is also the Scientist Manager for COMPRESSPORT® International. You can contact him at arnaud@compressport.com

Why should I wear COMPRESSPORT® R2 during my triathlon?

Wearing the COMPRESSPORT® R2 during the cycling part in IM triathlon – to improve aerodynamics and accelerate the recovery during the transition periods! Besides preventing injuries (see the JUNE COMPRESSPORT® Monthly News), wearing the COMPRESSPORT® R2 during the cycling part in IM triathlon is mainly based on aerodynamics and venous return improvement! Explanations…

COMPRESSPORT® R2 improves the venous return until ?160 W in cycling !

MN 08_Fig1

Figure 1. Tissue oxygen saturation (increased saturation corresponds to improved blood circulation) with and without COMPRESSPORT® R2.

The COMPRESSPORT® R2, pressing the veins, improves the venous blood return towards the heart and therefore the overall blood circulation – only when the calf muscles are relatively inactive (see Monthly News of April and May). That is the case completely at rest, trampling, walking but also until ?160 W in cycling (figure 1)! When the intensities progress, the calf muscles press sufficiently on the veins to optimize the venous return [1].

 

Practical applications: accelerated recovery during the transition periods!

Increasing the blood circulation until ?160 W: really during the transition periods (downhill for example), the COMPRESSPORT® R2 may be an effective strategy to alleviate symptoms associated with fatigue. Indeed, the R2 are useful to re-oxygenate fatigued muscles (+10 %) and eliminate more quickly the toxins (-10 %), therefore favoring the recovery and preventing the fatigue.

The R2 also improves aerodynamics!

The R2 is also designed (compression, fibre, seamless) to improve the aerodynamics. Wind tunnel tests (see picture: Aero Concept-Engineering) show a gain until 5 W at 4km/h.

This represents a substantial economy of 0.5 sec per km or 1 min 30 sec for the total distance of the IRONMAN cycling part!

Reference

1. Boucourt B, Bouhaddi M, Mourot L, Tordi N and Ménétrier A. Changes in tissue oxygen saturation with calf compression sleeves – before, during and after a cycling exercise. J Sports M Phys Fitness (in press).

 About the Author

dr-arnaud-1_new

Dr. Arnaud M. comes from Besançon in France. He has a PhD in Life and Health Sciences and works at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon (EA 3920, Exercise Performance Health Innovation Laboratory). Arnaud is also the Scientist Manager for COMPRESSPORT® International. You can contact him at  arnaud@compressport.com

How to recover faster and relieve pain after prolonged, unusual or exhausting efforts?

We all need to improve our recovery to relieve pain after a hard sporting weekend! Let’s explain now how COMPRESSPORT® can help you in this Monthly News – Scientific approach article focused on exercises inducing muscle damages.

Unusual hard or prolonged efforts cause muscle damages !

Unusual prolonged or exhausting efforts will often result in muscle damages usually followed by a slow and painful recovery. Why? Because eccentric muscle contractions and the important oxygen consumption will increase muscle damages. Furthermore, the full healing of muscle damages requires inflammatory processes and edema which will induce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) (with a peak after 48 hrs). The DOMS may be extremely uncomfortable and last up to 7 days : walking normally becomes difficult and go down the stairs is almost impossible! The fatigue is installed and you have to wait some days before to restart your sports activities.

mn-11

Help your body improve your recovery and comfort with COMPRESSPORT® Technology !

Pressing on the veins, the COMPRESSPORT® technology used during  your recovery activates the venous return (from +15 % to +25 %) and therefore prevents the inflammation and edema (until -100 %) [1, 2]. Consequently, the extent of muscle damage is reduced and the DOMS are limited (until -50 %) [2,3]. Moreover, the muscular performances which are reduced after prolonged, unusual or exhausting efforts are restored faster ! [2, 3].

MN 11-Graph

Figure 1 [2]. Perceived DOMS and squat jump height (index of muscular performances) relative to baseline (pre) following exercise-induced muscle damage.
: Values recorded when compression tights (ankle to hip) are worn during the recovery.
: Values recorded for passive recovery. Asterisks represent significant different between groups. 1, 24, 48, 72 and 96 indicates hours after the exercise.

Limit your DOMS with COMPRESSPORT® Compression Sleeves and Socks !

To prevent the inflammation, edema and limit the DOMS you have to compress your tired muscles. We suggest you to use the COMPRESSPORT® Full Legs or the combo R2 and ForQuad during the 1 or 2 h which follow a prolonged, unusual or exhausting effort. For longer periods or when you are strictly passive (travel in plane, bus, train or car for example), you may also use the COMPRESSPORT® Full Socks V2. Why do I need to use different products for active and passive recovery? Because you need to have a compression around the foot during your passive recovery to prevent the blood stagnation. Finally, the COMPRESSPORT® Armsleeves will help you for efforts involving the arms.

References

  1. Ménétrier A, Mourot L, Degano B et al. Effects of Three Post-exercise Recovery Treatments on Femoral Artery Blood Flow Kinetics. J Sports M Phys Fitness (in press)
  2. Jakeman J.R, Byrne C, Eston R.G. Lower limb compression garments improves recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in young active females. Eur J Appl Physiol 2010; 109: 1137-1144.
  3. Ménétrier A, Terrillon A, Caverot M, et al. Effects of elastic compression during and after the Trail des Forts of Besançon. Kinesither Rev 2014; 14: 35-41.

About The Author

dr-arnaud-1_new

Dr. Arnaud M. comes from Besançon in France. He has a PhD in Life and Health Sciences and works at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon (EA 3920, Exercise Performance Health Innovation Laboratory). Arnaud is also the Scientist Manager for Compressport International. You can contact him at arnaud@compressport.com

Compressport : Why & When ?

A PRODUCT FOR EACH NEED BEFORE – DURING – AFTER 

Listening to our athletes, we develop our products to respond rigorously to their expectations. Preparation, efort, recovery, well-being around performances: we seek to offer everyone the chance to go further, faster, and for longer.

WHY USE THE COMPRESSPORT® TECHNOLOGY?

  1. Boost your performances (especially endurance)
  2. Recover faster and better
  3. Delay fatigue
  4. More comfort and support during the effort
  5. Avoid muscle tear and injury
  6. Travel in the best conditions

WHEN SHOULD I USE COMPRESSPORT® PRODUCTS?

COMPRESSPORT® products are born out of the collaboration of doctors, athletes and manufacturers specializing in medical and sports compression.

In order to allow sportsmen and women to optimise their performance on all occasions COMPRESSPORT® has developed a wide range of products responding to each specific need. Before, during or after the effort, your body reacts to different types of stimuli.

CS PERFORMANCE BARS

WHO ARE COMPRESSPORT® PRODUCTS AIMED AT?

Quality of fibre, a battery of laboratory tests, comfort, design: it is the quality of professional performance which we make accessible for everyone.

Amateur or professional, beginner or experienced athlete, all those who have chosen COMPRESSPORT® have that idea: maximise and optimise performance.

For amateurs:

    • For those who are full of good intentions about getting back into shape but lack strength and training.
    • For the experienced, eager to push their personal boundaries without injuring themselves but who don’t have the time to recover. COMPRESSPORT® is all the more efficient for all those who are not as fit as the runners of the FDJ team or who don’t have Javier Gomez Noya endurance!

For professionals:

    • Those doing long sessions of high impact muscle working every day.
    • Those who have to win, where there’s no room for injury, cramps or aches.
    • Those with back-to-back training sessions with short recovery periods and lots of travelling.

Amateur or professional, whether your sport is a hobby or you are looking to be seriously supported for your next Ultra-Trail race in the Himalayas… Whoever you are, wherever you are, COMPRESSPORT® supports you.

3 SCIENTIFIC FACTS ABOUT COMPRESSPORT COMPRESSION

Compression Clothing Scientific Facts

1/ MULTIGRADUAL COMPRESSION: WE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EFFORT AND RECOVERY!

Fernanda maciel recovery

Recovery: COMPRESSPORT® for recovery is properly designed to improve the venous return and the muscle oxygenation. For that purpose the COMPRESSPORT® Full Socks apply a degressive gradient from bottom to top. Indeed pressing more at the ankle, the Full Socks force the blood toward the heart (like a pressure applied at the bottom of a tube of toothpaste causing the past to rise outside the tube)! In consequence the oxygenation is improved by 25%!

Compression effort

Effort: Contrary to the competitors COMPRESSPORT® for the effort is not engineered to improve the venous return… Indeed when the calf muscles are contracted they press sufficiently on the veins to optimize the venous return… The real objective for COMPRESSPORT® is to maximize the muscular vibrations reduction! Therefore the COMPRESSPORT®  R2 and Shorts focus on the active muscles mass and reduce the vibrations until 33 %!

2/ COMPRESSION, NOT CONTENTION! 

COMPRESSPORT® is working on compression products and not on medical support stockings (contention). The difference between both is based on the elasticity… This product development based on high elasticity provides an unequal freedom of movement and an excellent comfort! The COMPRESSPORT® R2 fit perfectly the muscle variations especially in up-hill or during efforts involving sprints, jumps or direction changes.

3/ SEAMLESS COMPRESSION: MAKE THE DIFFERENCE WITH THE SWISS QUALITY…

            Contrary to the competitors COMPRESSPORT®  is developed using unique Seamless Technology! The seamless is obtained with a specific machine working at 360° while seam is obtain with a 180° one. COMPRESSPORT® sincerely believes in the seamless and has decided to invest a lot for three main reasons :

  1. Firstly, the Seamless Technology is the only way to perfectly control the compression certifying the incomparable efficiency of the COMPRESSPORT® products (+25 % oxygenation, -33 % vibrations…)!
  2. Secondly, the seamless Technology ensures more comfort compared with the use of uncomfortable seams…
  3. Then, the Seamless Technology prevents fraying and provides durability, a perfect fit and improved performances!

 Compressport Machine

How can compression garments help you improve your sudden movements’ abilities!

Playing team sports or practicing fight sports or other explosive efforts (jump, sprints…), compression garments can help you especially improving postural stability and coordination! (Explosivity is a term frequently used to show the ability of an athlete to make a variety of sudden movements). Research data related to running using compression garments (CGs) has demonstrated reductions in muscular vibrations, damage and fatigue and improvements in prolonged performance and injuries prevention. Recently Michael et al. [1] found improved postural stability while athletes wore CGs… Focus on this amazing results!

A double blind, randomized cross over study to investigate the effect of compression garments on the balance ability of elite athletes

12 participants volunteered to participate in this study. They were required to perform a single leg balance trial across two conditions; including eyes-closed while wearing conventional shorts (control) or CGs (from ankle to waist). Each trial began once the participant was in a ‘ready’ position and gave a verbal cue to indicate he felt comfortable in a quiet stance balancing on their dominant leg. Postural stability was assessed by measuring the overall stabilization time as well as the movement of the center of mass from baseline measures using a camera motion analysis system.

mn-09

Figure 1. Anatomical landmark locations used in the biomechanical analysis of the participants in this study 

Significantly greater postural stability was observed with the compression!

Figure 2_MN_9

Figure 2. Total stabilization time (sec) and range of the center of mass (mm) in the antero-posterior and medio-lateral directions for short MN 9_Short and compression MN 9_Compression condition. Range was calculated as the maximum distance between any two points on the time series path.

During one leg stance, a significantly greater balance time was observed with eyes closed when wearing CGs compared to conventional shorts. The study also revealed a lower variability of movement with CGS. These results indicate that control of posture may benefit from the use of CGs. Indeed, they are thought to produce increased cutaneous and muscular stimulation allowing for improved proprioceptive feedback and joint positional awareness.

Improving postural stability, compression garments may be beneficial for athletic sports involving jumps, sprints…

Enhanced equilibrium may be beneficial for athletic sports involving jumps, sprints and direction changes – including team sports, fight sports and other explosive efforts. For example it has been demonstrated that enhanced repetitive jump performance [2, 3] and an increased vertical jump height [4] resulted with use of CGs. In addition to those mentioned above, possible mechanisms may include enhanced coordination function and facilitated muscle contraction [2, 3, 4].

References

  1. Michael JS et al. What is the effect of compression garments on a balance task in female athletes? Gait Posture. 2014; 39: 804-809.
  2. Kraemer WJ et al. Influence of compression garments on vertical jump performance in NCAA division I volleyball players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 1996; 10: 180–183.
  3. Kraemer WJ et al. Influence of a compressive garment on repetitive power output production before and after different types of muscle fatigue. Sports Medicine, Training and Rehabilitation. 1998; 8: 163–184.
  4. Doan BK et al. Evaluation of a lower-body compression garment. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2003; 21: 601–610.

About the Author

dr-arnaud-1_new

Dr. Arnaud M. comes from Besançon in France. He has a PhD in Life and Health Sciences and works at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon (EA 3920, Exercise Performance Health Innovation Laboratory). Arnaud is also the Scientist Manager for Compressport International.  You can contact him at  arnaud@compressport.com

Compression clothing in sports

This new section is consistent with our determination to improve the visibility of the work done in the R & D department at COMPRESSPORT® International. We will also focus on the scientific literature about the elastic compression or on the work done by other researchers in the field of Sports Science. Each time, the scientific approach will be accompanied by anecdotal reports of amateur and professional athletes.

Mechanisms underlying the application of compression clothing

We start this section with the mechanisms underlying the application of compression clothing. We briefly introduce the effects identified by the recent literature review of Born et al. (2013) and we will come back specifically to that in the next issues.

image0011-618x328 2

Haemodynamic effects

The graduated compression stockings or socks have been firstly used in the treatment of venous diseases. The principle is simple: the application of a pressure around the lower limb is transmitted to the veins, thus decreasing their diameter. By this decrease (such as a tube of toothpaste), the venous return to the heart is improved and the venous stasis is decreased. The application of compression stockings displays other hemodynamics effects, such as increased arterial inflow, and as a consequence, improved muscular oxygenation. In the same way, the increased blood circulation can facilitate the toxins elimination. Finally, the compression stockings also permits to reduce the leg swelling and associated pain that characterize the ‘heavy legs’ syndrome. We will see that these haemodynamic effects play a significant role particularly before the effort in preparation for the competition or the training and after that, to accelerate the recovery.

Other effects – mechanical, neuronal, thermal, etc.

The haemodynamic effects were the first to suggest the use of compression clothing in sports. Since then, many studies have showed other effects which reinforce the use of compression clothing, and especially during the effort. For example, the improved proprioception (by stimulating different receptors) or warm-up (by increasing muscle temperature) with compression sleeves can decreased the risk of injuries. Another key point of the compression during the effort is the decrease of the muscular oscillation, reflecting the vibrations generated by the impact with the ground. By this decrease, the compression limits the muscle damage, thereby reducing fatigue and preventing the delayed onset muscle soreness.

Conclusion

There are many effects which encourage the use of compression clothing in sports to improve performance and recovery or to decrease the risk of injuries. Some of them have a key role before or after the effort, and other during. As already noted, we will come back specifically to each one in the next issues. We will also see the importance of applying adjusted compression clothing: to the limb circumference, to the time moment but also to the sports activities.

Thanks and see you soon in the next issue! 

References

1. Born DP, Sperlich B, and Holmberg HC. Bringing light into the dark: effects of compression clothing on performance and recovery. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 8: 4-18, 2013.

About the Author

dr-arnaud-1_new

Dr Arnaud M.  comes from Besançon in France. He has a PhD in Life and Health Sciences and works at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon (EA 3920, Exercise Performance Health Innovation Laboratory). Arnaud is also the Scientist Manager for COMPRESSPORT® International. You can contact him at arnaud@compressport.com

Testimonial of pro-athlete Frederik Van Lierde

Frederik Van Lierde is a Belgium professional triathlete and the current Ironman triathlon World Champion, in Hawaii – 2013. He finished the race with a 51:02 swim, a 4:25:37 bike and a 2:51:18 marathon to capture the win in total of 8:12:29.

1. Fred, how long have you been using compression clothing?

Since 2009, in fact after a stress fracture on my right calf.

2. How do you feel when you use the COMPRESSPORT® range before, during and after the effort and during your trips?

During trainings and competitions, I can feel for sure they help to absorb the shocks but also keeping the blood circulating. A very nice feeling, never cramping or sore, just perfect to me! And in hot conditions they can even keep my calf muscles cooler because of the protection (white) reflecting the sun. Some water on them, gives you a fresher feeling as well.

After races or on really hard training camps I use them a lot, especially the Full Legs. The best way to recover for me!

For trips, long rides or flights, it’s the best! Before I tend to have swollen legs a lot of times and since I use the COMPRESSPORT® Full Socks, my legs stay exactly the same after the trip compared to my legs before the trip.

3. Do you remember any race or training where the COMPRESSPORT® range has made a crucial difference (in terms of injuries, performance and or recovery)?

For sure in Hawaii Ironman, the hardest endurance race on this planet, in 2012 and 2013. Before 2012, I always wore the compression only on the marathon and the bike part without. Legs were a lot sorer then and muscles were warmer and suffered more because of the sun. In 2012 I decided, because of that, to put them on in T1 (transition swim to bike). So I rode the full 180km with + the marathon! What a difference: 3rd place at Hawaii in 2012 and now in 2013, Ironman World Champion!

Cheers,

Frederik

Fred

How to prepare one of the toughest Ultra Trail on Earth : Marathon des Sables®?

For once and since COMPRESSPORT® is an official partner, the scientific approach does not focus on the compression but on the Sultan Marathon des Sables®  which will run from the 4th till the 14th of April. On this occasion, we have requested the advices of Thibault Lussiana, a specialist in biomechanics of running.

The Sultan Marathon des Sables®, a mythic race that all ultra-distance runners must do at least once

The race takes place in the Moroccan desert and includes 6 stages with food self-sufficiency over a 240-km distance. Each participant must carry his own equipment, containing food, sleeping gear and other materials except water, which is provided by the organization. The equipment weight should be between 6.5 and 15 kg. In addition, the sand and the climatic conditions, with temperature reaching 50°C during the day and 5°C at night, make this multistage ultra-marathon one of the hardest! Therefore, it is necessary for the new participants to have an excellent knowledge of the race and its constraints, including physical preparation, equipment, recovery but also management of food and hydration (discussed in another part of this news).

The ‘shock weekends’ to prepare the race …

Of course, the maximal aerobic power development remains important as in all endurance events. However, the specific work at very low intensities is equally important in ultra-marathon. One of the key to success lies in performing the famous ‘shock weekends’ described by the Pr.Guillaume Millet and corresponding well to multistage events. Equipped with your running bag (by gradually increasing the weight): go for 2-3 days with 5 to 10 hours per day at really low speed (alternating periods of walking and running). Thus, you will train in almost real conditions and prepare your body, your muscles and your digestive system to the stress encounter on the event. Similarly, it will be necessary to run on soft surface (ideally on sand), to accustom your stride to a different biomechanics.

Injury prevention, recovery … Take care of your body!

Feet injuries such as burning and blisters are one of the major causes to stop the race. To prevent them, there are some tricks …

  • You can apply a cream to strengthen the feet and to avoid such inconveniences. More simply, the use of gaiter could impede sand seeping into the shoes and thus increase friction.
  • The choice of running shoes and socks is also important: they must be able to dry quickly and to allow your feet to breathe.
  • Speaking of equipment, compression sleeves will be effective before, during and after the race. By increasing the venous return (that is crucial in warm environment – since vasodilation phenomenon is increased), they may ensure a sensation of light legs before to start. During, they may prevent the muscle damage and postpone the fatigue. Finally, they will accelerate the recovery process after the stages – essential during multistage ultra-marathon! 
  •  Furthermore, the best way to recover will be to sleep properly.
  • Therefore, do not forget warm and isolating garments for the night …

About the Author

Thibault Lussiana comes from Besançon in France. He is a PhD student in Life and Health Sciences and works at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon (EA 4660, Exercise Performance Health Innovation Laboratory). Thibault is also member of the Volodalen Company. You can contact him at thibault@volodalen.com