Friday, January 21, 2011

Compression Garments

Occasionally, I am asked what I think about compression garments. Particularly socks and calf sleeves. Many runners are interested in whether there is any performance advantage to wearing them.

I use compression garments. Particularly tights, shorts, and calf sleeves. I like the way they feel after a hard running workout. My impression is that I don't get as sore and recovery more quickly when I wear them the remainder of the day after a long or hard run. I also wear them during these runs, if I am not feeling 100% at the start, or if I want a little extra warmth, in some cases.

Do I wear them because they help with performance? No, not with speed/pacing anyway.  I don't think they make me run faster or farther, in general. I do think it's possible they may help me run more frequently and train more consistently, and perhaps even avoid some injuries that might cause me to otherwise cut some runs short. By helping with recovery, my sense is that compression garments do help me carry a heavier training load more comfortably, which is great.

I have some question about whether it's the compression or the added warmth, or both, which confers the perceived benefits, but the jury is still out on that.

So, there you have it. Not very scientific, although consistent with what little science there is on compression and recovery.

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