Josh Lynott reviews NormaTec ‘Magic Pants’ after his incredible 748 km throughout the month of April!
I’ve come to learn as a runner that I spend more time on my recovery than I do actually running. Recovery comes in all different forms such as sleep, nutrition and in this instance, NormaTec Recovery Boots.
Throughout the month of April in 2020, I undertook and completed the “Calendar Club” challenge. The Calendar Club challenge requires the participant to run the corresponding miles to the day of the month. At first, it doesn’t sound that crazy until you give it a second thought. If you’re like me, you quickly realise that the challenge grows exponentially across the last two weeks. Physically it is a huge undertaking, but it also requires a lot of time out of your day, mental resilience and ‘fast’ recovery.
I was fortunate enough to be loaned a pair of NormaTec ‘boots’ for the entirety of the challenge. Amongst my support group for the challenge, they quickly became known as the ‘magic pants’.
Before diving in any further, I’d like to address that this is not a technical review. Instead, it my objective opinion on how the pants worked for me and how I chose to use them.
Brief Overview of the product:
The ‘NormaTec Boots’ are a recovery/prehab product aimed to enhance blood flow. Made of high quality material, the device utilises patented compression technology with the goal of assisting athletes in their recovery phase of training. The compression targets everything from your ankles up to your hips. The science behind the compression is not in my domain, so I will skip that part of the review. If you’d like to learn more about the pneumatic compression that NormaTec uses, a quick google will deliver everything you’re after.
How I used the boots:
Wearing the NormaTec boots became a part of my daily routine throughout the Calendar Club challenge. I was advised by my physio to only wear the boots once all my training for the day was complete. I was often training 2-3 times a day, so it wasn’t till the afternoon or evening that I would use the boots. Additionally, my physio suggested that I use the boots for “AT LEAST” 30 minutes. From my first use, I was sitting in the boots for 1 hour at a time and anywhere up to 2.5 hours by the end of the month. It was a necessity for me to wear the boots before going to bed each night.
Trying to describe the feeling of the pneumatic compression is a difficult challenge. The flexible nylon material conforms quickly to the body and isn’t irritable on the skin. When the system inflates around the legs, it felt similar to getting your blood pressure tested. Pressure is applied to a certain part of the leg, deflates, and then moves to the next point. I enjoyed this sensation and found it quite relaxing, especially the ‘release of blood flow’ upon deflation.
Did they help?
I truly believed the NormaTec Boots helped me with my recovery throughout the Calendar Club Challenge. Before the challenge, I had only ever run 110km in one week. In the final seven days of the challenge I ran 305km. This was on the back of a 200+km week. I was surprised with how good my legs would feel each morning and my ability to push out big miles day in day out. Immediately after a session with the Normatecs, I would feel lighter and ‘bouncier’ than what I did entering the boots.
Other factors to consider:
Making the normatecs part of my daily routine, I felt it gave me time to fully sit still and put my legs up. Although this isn’t related to the normatecs, it is a by-product of using them that I believe also assist in recovery. I would often read or do work on my laptop whilst letting my legs recovery which allowed me to switch of mentally at the end of the day. This also speaks to the quietness of the system; they were non-disruptive and didn’t impact the environments that I used them in.
Furthermore, I made sure that I was eating and sleeping well throughout the challenge. I didn’t solely rely on the NormaTec boots to keep me feeling fresh, but I believe they were an integral part of the recovery puzzle.
I also enjoyed the portability of the machine and the boots. Depending on where I was running and finishing up each day, I would bring the boots with me if deemed necessary. Being able to pack the boots up and bring them along in my car so I could use them at friends or families houses straight after my sessions also made the ‘ease of recovery’ a lot better. For example, finding an ice-bath or going to the ocean isn’t always a viable recovery option. However, the NormaTec boots are always a viable recovery options due to the easy setup and pack-down process.
Is it worth investing in NormaTec?
Yes, plain and simple. The boots definitely helped my recovery and are something I would recommend looking into if you want to take your recovery seriously.
www.normatecrecovery.com – Global
www.normatecrecovery.com.au – Australia