10 Things that a highland games professional has with him training and competing
1) Various shoes
In highland games you do not wear just one pair of shoes, most people know about hammer boots with the big spikes. But there are also shoes for weight over bar, weight for distance, caber, stone, and shoes can also be changed based on where in the world you are throwing, remember we throw on grass (most times). In Scotland, chances are you are throwing on long grass and mud, at the Seattle games you throw on turf. Outside of the hammer boots, I use indoor soccer spikes for rotational events like weight for distance and stone. In the caber I use baseball cleats with deep spikes in the heel to prevent slipping when you plant. In the weight over bar I have experimented with olympic weightlifting shoes like most but never liked them, I felt like it always put the weight in front of the bar, so I stuck with the indoor soccer spikes.
2) Aero press
I love coffee and good coffee on the road is very expensive 3-4$ per cup. It can also be time consuming trying to find the good coffee shop. Which leads most people to have terrible coffee either at the hotel or gas station etc. Thank god for the Aeropress, thing is indestructible, weights half a pound and is slightly larger than a coffee cup, clean up takes 10 secs. Bring your own great ground coffee, boil hot water and done. Saves me 15-20$ everytime I travel to a competition.
Justin Rodhe introduced me to collagen a while back, after using it for a year I love it, I just feel better, healthier. Out of all the supplements I have used collagen would be the thing I would spend money on first. I know that Earth Fed Supplements(EarthFedMuscle) makes a terrific product, however in Canada I use Enhanced Collagen from Organika. I put a table spoon in a cup of coffee twice a day.
4) Throw away towels
Always bring extra towels that you are not scared to throw away, this could be to wipe mud off, to wipe tacky off, I have used towels to protect my hands from the rain during the caber. Placing a towel on the ground to prevent the bottom of the caber from getting wet. and Extra towel is never a bad thing.
5) Chalk, Tacky, WD-40, Hand Cleaner,
In the games you hands are the most important thing, grip is difficult because you never know the weather, you must prepare for everything. Not bringing enough chalk to a games in California, Arizona, anywhere in the midwest and your gonna be in trouble. Tacky in my opinion is far better for grip and clean up than spray tacky, the problem is that it is not easy to get. When you find someone who makes good tacky buy as much as you can. Mine came from an official in Scotland, I got 7 jars of it. Should last quite a few years. WD40 and Hand Cleaner, something gritty are the best in my opinion to get the tacky off. Its cheap and it works.
Knee sleeves and to a certain extent elbows sleeves are pretty much the best thing ever. It keeps your knee warm and stable, what is not to like. I bought the Rehband 7MM sleeves from Jackals Gym. They are 5 years old, used them for hundreds if not thousands of hours, washed many times and still look brand new. Don`t cheap out on sleeves, buy the best one time, and be done with it.
7) Compression socks
This was something I learned from Dr. Bondarchuk and Dylan Armstrong years ago. Compression socks when you travel. I thought it was all in the mind until I coughed up the 80$ and tried it. It is night and day difference. I flew to Norway in 2015. Total travel was somewhere in the 24 hour range one way. When I woke up the next day, my legs felt fresh and ready to throw. I could not imagine traveling without them. My socks are from CEP.
8) Tool box
Why I didn`t know about this when I was a track athlete is beyond me. A tool box is a no brainer. You have space for everything, its on wheels and you always have a place to sit. Get a tool box and thank me later.
9) New Skin
Again your hands are the most important thing in throwing. Your hands will be cut up in highland games. Somehow some way, there is a high chance you or someone you are competing against are going to be bleeding buy the end of the day. Bandaids don`t hold and tape doesn`t work that well. New Skin is the best product to keep the cut closed and kill the bacteria. I always have new skin around me during a games.
10) Anti Inflammatories
The season is a grind, pro guys will compete in 15 -20 events over a summer easily. Generally without warm ups your getting 24 or more max effort throws a games. It takes a toll even on fit athletes. Add in travel, training, drinking (it is the Scottish games after all), eating restaurant food and general life stress, you are going to be inflammed and in pain. The best product to help ease the pain that are not prescription strength is CBD (Cannabidiol) massage oil, Yes cannabis, CBD is an active ingredient in cannabis, the more research that is done, the more it seems you should be using it. It is my first choice for an anti-inflammatory. You have to search around to find good quality. I found mine at a hemp store in Victoria, BC. Do not confuse this with THC oil. I understand that CBD is on the banded substance list. But I am talking to highland games athletes and older athletes who have no reason to get drug tested. I train quite a few older athletes who swear by CBD for pain, after using it myself I see why. If you are going to be getting drug tested Volteran is always a good bet. You can get it anywhere, its cheap and it works.