Why Compression Gear?
Four words. Delayed onset muscle soreness. We’ve all been there, felt the intense ache that, at times, reached deep down towards the bone. The kind of ache that no amount of Ibuprofen 800 can help. While you can’t always avoid it, compression gear can help relieve a good amount of these aches, making it possible to keep on going.
I’ve always thought of compression socks as boob-wrapping for your legs, trying to squeeze 5 piglets into a teeny-tiny opening.
My long runs were hitting 20 miles, leaving my calves screaming for relief. I battled tight calves for a good two months. It had gotten to the point that they felt so incredibly tight that I feared, like a rubber band, they would break. I had to find a solution. New shoes helped, but it didn’t take away all of it, which is when I finally researched compression socks.
My research consistently led me to claims that compression gear increases blood flow to muscles, helps remove lactic acid buildup, which in turn, improves circulation in order to speed up the recovery process. Sounds good, but is it real or hype?
There’s several well-known compression brands to choose from, one of which is Pro Compression. What’s awesome about Pro Compression, besides their awesome socks and customer service, is that you’ll never be a wallflower in their gear! With bright colors galore and a monthly “trendy” sock, the choices are endless!
So I grabbed a pair, promising to put them through the wringer…and I did. From pavement to trail through blistering heat and mud, I took them from one side to the other. Here’s the gist of what I found.
Pavement: The first thing I noticed was the tightness/compression. Once on, they are not overly tight. They definitely hug your legs, kind of like a girdle for your calves! The second thing that caught my attention was how thin they were versus bulky socks. The stitching was solid too and looked well-made. After my first semi-long run (15 miles), I was a believer! Pro Compression marathon socks + pavement = a match made in heaven. These socks are made for the road, easily handling shorter 10k distances on up to 20 miles (that’s as far as I took them.). Those tight calves? Gone! Blisters? Nope. Hot spots? Nope.
Trail: Trails are bit more tricky. With trail running, you don’t keep the same gait throughout the run. You’re constantly changing directions. At times, pushing uphill, and then, sliding downhill. On shorter trail runs of half marathon distance or less, the socks did their job. I decided to push the envelope, wearing them to a trail race, the Troop Trot 39k. Time to see how these puppets held up on a 24 mile run, which ahem, turned out to be 24.6. …I must add the .6, as any runner can empathize.
My calves felt great through those 24.6 miles…now if I could only say the same for my quads. There was one issue, although I now believe it to be user error. I know…how hard can it be to put on a sock, right? I have a tendency to pull my socks up tight…think grandma style. The end result? 2 bruised piglets and a big ole’ fat hole showcasing a toe in desperate need of a pedicure. On the bright side, the good thing about socks is you can always switch them to another foot. Next time, I’ll be sure not to stretch them so much. There really isn’t a need to stretch them either, as they will definitely go up to your knees and stay there. It’s just a habit of mine.
Recovery: This is where these babies really shine. I can honestly say that I truly feel a difference in my legs after wearing the socks versus sans socks. They are less achy, less swollen, and I don’t have that lead feeling. While I don’t really do speed-work, I do a lot of hill repeats, and I pop these bad boys on for each of those runs and another pair for after the run. I’ve worn these on planes as well and my calves feel great each time!
I’ve become such a believer in compression gear now that in less than two months, I went from owning ZERO compression socks to christening three pairs with a fourth on the way! My latest pair came just in time to celebrate Ole’ Red, White, and Blue on July 4th.
Looking to give compression socks a try? In support of runners everywhere, Pro Compression is currently offering 40% off of ALL merchandise on their website! A steal of a deal! Just enter code JULY when you checkout! Grab yourself a pair, and take your running to the next level!
Want more? Be the lookout for my next giveaway for a FREE pair of Pro Compression marathon socks coming towards the end of July! Don’t worry. I’ll be sure to give you a heads up on Facebook.
Happy Tootsies = Run Happy!