Runner’s Zen: Compression Love

When I think about compression socks, I picture an older woman with the tops of her tights hanging lower than her skirt. Or maybe she’s wearing them with sandals. Either way, I don’t think of young, hip, trendy people wearing them.

Then I started hearing people talk about them for running purposes. People who were training for half-marathons, full marathons and ultra-marathons, but I still wasn’t completely sold. What was the point of these things?

When I ran my first half-marathon I ended the race in some serious pain and it was a very slow, wobbly walk home after the race. My shins were sore, and I ended up with shin splints. My calves were tight which lead to ankle pain, I was in desperate need of something to help me.

I didn’t run for a few months after my race, I focused on stretching out my muscles, gaining some muscle mass and healing my injuries. I’ve started running again and it seems to be harder the second time than it was the first time. My calves have quickly become stiff and I have to be careful with my shins so I don’t develop splints. My IT band has become so tight it has resulted in hip pain, so I’ve been focusing on foam rolling a lot more than ever. Then I was reminded of the dreaded compression socks. Could these be the answer to my lower leg, running pain? I figured if I want to run a half-marathon again, I needed to give them a shot.

I found a pair made by Adidas for a reasonable price and the day after I bought them I headed out for a 10 kilometer run totally excited to test them out. The result was that I ran my slowest 10 kilometers I’ve ever ran. There likely could be a few variables that factored into me run so slowly, such as having completed hundreds of squats and lunges the day before. As a result my legs felt like they were made of concrete and that I was running against the wind.

I was taking note of how my lower legs felt after my run the next day and surprisingly, the only thing that was causing pain was my ankle and my hip. The muscle pain I usually had in my calves after my run wasn’t there. Clearly the ankle pain needs to be dealt with on a more serious level than just compression socks.

Here are some of the advantages of compression socks:

Compression socks while exercising

–        Because they’re made of high-tech fibers and materials, they allow for a faster recovery after a long workout by promoting blood flow to the lower leg.

–        When wearing them during exercise, they help you stay comfortable due to increased circulation and blood flow to the muscles and tendons.

Compression socks while travelling

–        The increased blood flow to the lower legs helps decrease the chances of “Economy Class Syndrome” where blood clots are more likely to happen from sitting on a plane in a tight, crammed space for an extended period of time.

–        Because of increased blood flow, it helps combat jet leg and tiredness after a long flight!

Compression socks while working

–        For workers who stand and walk all day, the graduated pressure from the compression socks help alleviate aches and pains from the legs!

All in all, I guess I will have to get over the fact that these aren’t just for the elderly anymore. Not only that, but they come in almost every color and at varying ranges of price too. For those reasons you should do some research before purchasing a pair.

They can definitely be of some help to athletes too. If you aren’t sure if they are for you, please consult your doctor before investing in a pair.

Until next time – stay healthy!

Sarah xo

Happy Lifting!

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