Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Training Essentials: The Jury's Still Out on KT Tape

Note: As we get closer to Boston (only 13 days to go), I'm going to highlight some of the things that have been "essential" to me during training. Now, for all you literalists out there, by essential I simply mean things I wouldn't want to train without.

One of my favorite part about big races is the goodie bag. I know there's tons of crap in the bag that no one will ever use and countless trees are killed in the process, but I still love dumping the contents out on my bed or the hotel room floor. Sifting through them, you find things like energy bar samples, coupons, race flyers, and sometimes something useful. A year or so ago--I don't remember which race it was now--I received a sample of KT tape in a race bag. I had no use for it, but I decided to hold onto it. Now I'm glad I did.

A few days after I started having Achilles pain I saw someone running in Central Park wearing KT tape. I remembered my sample and decided to try it out. Well, that was 2+ weeks ago and I'm hooked on the stuff. Now, big disclaimer, I have no idea if this stuff works. As I explained earlier, following the initial onset of pain, I immediately took several days off of running, iced my Achilles twice a day, and took ibuprofen. It was only after doing all these things that I tried the tape and tried running again. In fact, there are a number of studies that suggest the tape may not be all that effective.

Now that I've called the stuff sufficiently into question, if you're still interested in trying the stuff, here's my two cents. KT Tape is widely available at sporting goods stores and running shops but I don't think it's as good as the original Kinesio Tex Gold tape. In my experience, KT doesn't stick quite as well and so you don't get as long of a use out it. Kinesio Tex tape seems to last longer. 

Also, although KT makes uncut rolls, most of their tape comes in pre-cut strips. The problem with pre-cut strips is that they don't fit every use. If you're going to buy tape from either brand, I recommend buying the uncut rolls and cutting them yourself. You'll get more bang for your buck and have a wider range of options.
Today's Run: 4.2 miles at 8:00 pace. 

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