For this week’s Fartlek Friday, I wanted to talk a little about compression socks. Many runners love their compression socks, and for good reason! Especially with all the cute varieties available. Here’s why you should wear compression socks to help recover from hard workouts!
I used to wear compression socks a lot more than I do now. Especially back when I was training for marathons. Mentally, I felt like they would help my legs recover faster from hard efforts. Now I mostly where them when I run during the spring and fall when it’s too cold for just shorts and too warm for tights or capris.
Sometimes after a long run or hard workout I will wear them around the house. Or if I’m actually leaving the house, and wearing boots, I will throw on a pair. I did some research to see how much compression socks actually help with recovery. Here’s what I found.
Research on compression gear
A 2016 review in PubMed suggests that by “wearing compression clothing, runners may improve variables related to endurance performance (i.e., time to exhaustion) slightly, due to improvements in running economy, biomechanical variables, perception, and muscle temperature. They should also benefit from reduced muscle pain, damage, and inflammation.”
A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning looked at whether below-knee compression garments worn for 48 hours following marathon running benefit functional recovery. The data showed that the group wearing compression gear fully recovered from the marathon while the placebo group did not. There was actually an improvement in the treadmill tests of the group wearing the compression gear, while there was a decline in the test of the placebo group.
A 2019 study in PubMed showed that “wearing sports compression socks during high intensity running has a positive impact on subsequent running performance. The underlying mechanism of such performance enhancement remains unclear, but may relate to improved oxygen delivery, reduced muscle oscillation, superior running mechanics and athlete beliefs”.
Wear Compression Socks To Help Recover From Hard Workouts
As with anything else, you need to find what works for you. I’ve always thought of compression gear as something that has the potential to be high-reward and low-risk. If you’re training hard and struggling with recovery, it may be worth trying to wear some compression gear, especially following a hard run!
Do you find that compression gear helps with your recovery?
If you wear compression socks do you wear them while you run, after, or both?