Enerskin is excited to continue our Customer Highlight series, where we talk to customers who use our compression gear. In this post, we interview Veejay Jones, pro obstacle course racing (OCR) athlete. Read on to learn about his journey to winning the North American OCR Championship, his thoughts on Enerskin’s compression shorts, and his advice on training and recovery.
Tell us about yourself - how’s your OCR career been so far?
I’m Veejay Jones. I’m 20 years old, and I’m a professional obstacle course race (OCR) athlete. I started my professional career three years ago with local races. I ended up doing really well at those races and found that I had a knack for the sport. After I graduated high school, I got an offer to join a professional OCR team, the Spartan Pro Team. I traveled the country competing in races that were televised on TV channels like NBC.
As OCR started taking off last year, LeBron James (the NBA superstar) produced a CBS TV show on obstacle course racing called Million Dollar Mile. The show centered around contestants getting a head start on completing an obstacle course while defenders (pro athletes) tried to catch up before the contestants could finish. I was the youngest defender on the show and they nicknamed me “The Prodigy.”
No one else at my age has been doing what I’ve been doing. It’s been an amazing experience breaking ground in a new sport and helping OCR develop.
What aspect of OCR really drew you in?
I’ve been racing a lot of years, starting from a young age. In high school, I transitioned into track & field and I did really well. While I was running, my dad suggested I try out an OCR. I gave it a shot and signed up for a local OCR race. During that race, my shoe fell off a quarter mile in, but despite running half-shoeless, I ended up getting second place. At was a great experience overall, but I wanted redemption for first place. So I signed up for a few more OCRs that year. I ended up winning them by large margins.
What made me really want to get into it - I’ve always been a jack-of-all-trades athlete. In track & field I was good at many events, but I wasn’t the best at any single one. OCR is a sport that balances all the skillsets of being an athlete, so it was perfect for me. It was my calling.
What are some highlights from the past several years?
It’s been a growing experience. The training takes many years to build up, so I’ve got a long way to go to be the best in this sport. Up until now, I’ve been focusing on the shorter courses, but now I’m trying to build up endurance for the longer races.
Over the last three years I’ve been improving consistently, and this is finally the breakthrough year where I’ve been competitive. I put a lot of focus into winning the North American OCR Championship - it’s been so much fun.
What is your recovery regimen?
I usually do two training sessions a day. Recovery includes rest, rolling out (foam rolling), and eating as much as I possibly can. I also wear compression garments during the race, which in turn helps during the recovery phase.
How do you use Enerskin compression, and what do you like about it?
Enerskin compression garments have been awesome. I can feel the quality and performance. When it comes to racing and training, the compression shorts have been huge for me. They’ve been the only shorts I’ve raced in this year, and they’re my go-to training shorts. The compression is nice, regulating blood flow and providing muscle support.
The compression grade is my favorite aspect about it. The level of compression reduces extra muscle oscillation while I run. In my harder runs, the level of compression from Enerskin compression shorts reduced the amount of burning I felt in my quads.
As an OCR racer, I beat up my clothing - they’re in contact with obstacles, the ground, and water. They’ve been super durable. The first pair I got is still in my rotation. I also like how quick the Enerskin compression garments dry. The material dries faster than anything I’m used to wearing. In colder climate races, the faster the clothing dries, the quicker you can get warm again. Another plus is that the material is actually really easy to clean. Dirt usually sticks to compression gear, but for Enerskin you can rinse dirt off easily and they’re good to go.
Any advice for folks training for longer endurance events?
When it comes to endurance events, a lot of people looking to improve end up running hard all the time. Part of this comes from social media - people are always posting and it seems like everyone is working out super hard all the time. But in reality, many elite athletes are running easy (running at a more relaxed pace) most of the week, with some harder runs 2 to 3 days a week where they’re putting in more effort.
You’d be surprised at how many people are overtraining. If you’re running too hard all the time, you’re actually holding yourself back. You get better when you’re recovering, not when you’re working. Smarter training, not harder training is the way to go. Your body takes time to adapt and develop endurance. With running, it’s almost like a genetic adaptation. Patience and consistency are key.
Any advice on how to deal with injuries?
I had some minor injuries early on, when my running mechanics weren’t as developed. I started working with Richard Diaz, a running coach, who helped me improve my form. When your body is moving the way it’s supposed to, you’re much less prone to overuse injuries.
I was overstriding, throwing my legs too far out. It wasn’t a stable way to move. Once I started striking my feet under my body, I actually got faster. My times went down. If you watch the best runners in the world, you’ll notice they’re all moving in a similar way.
E75 Compression Shorts
Enerskin’s E75 Compression Shorts support and protect the key muscles and tendons that make up the lower-body core. These shorts fit from the waist to just above the knees, providing targeted compression and support throughout the area in between.
Whether for running, jumping, ball sports, or weight lifting, the E75 Compression Shorts are an excellent and versatile piece to add to your athletic wear collection. They provide solid compression that enhances recovery and subsequent performance, as well as support that protects key muscle groups and tendons.
Enerskin is excited to offer FDA-approved athletic gear to anyone that wants to up their own sports, training, or recovery regimen. We put our money where our mouth is and have backed up our products with the highest-quality materials and research since day one.