Friday, March 11, 2016

Recovery Tip #4: Wear Compression

“Anyone can train hard.  Do you have the discipline to recover?”
~Lauren Fleshman

Faster recovery and less muscle cramps?  Yes, please. 

I’ve been using compression socks and calf sleeves for a number of years now and have tried a variety of brands.  As a toe runner, I’ve always had trouble with my calves being super sore after hard efforts and sometimes even cramping during races.  I started wearing compression socks and then switched over to calf sleeves so I was able to wear the sock of my choice—and also I loved being able to slip on flip flips after my run while still wearing the sleeves!

I was recently introduced to the 2XU brand as a BibRave Pro ambassador and have been impressed.  In fact, practically lived in their HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights during my Houston Marathon training this winter!  While I’ve found that some brands seem to focus a little more on colors and fashion, 2XU compression gear is designed with the right amount of compression in the areas that you need it most, like your shins and calf muscles through their graduated, panel zones and unique technology.

When do I wear compression?

I wear compression on BEFORE races, on travel days, at the airport, on the plane and walking around the expo.

I wear compression DURING races, speed work and long runs—and sometimes even trail running in the summer to keep ticks off and prevent scratches from nasty bushes and branches.

I also wear compression immediately AFTER races, speed work, long run, and sometimes even under my work pants on the days following a hard effort.

What are the benefits of compression?

·      Increased blood flow to muscles
·      Decrease lactic acid build up
·      Decrease muscle fatigue
·      Reduce muscle soreness
·      Prevent cramps

How does compression work?

So it’s a known fact that blood tends to pool in your lower legs, mainly due to gravity.  Essentially the idea behind compression socks or sleeves is that it applies pressure bringing more oxygen to the muscles and increasing blood flow.  It’s also said to squeeze out all the bad, toxic waste (like lactic acid).  Another theory suggests that compression socks and sleeves also decreases the vibration from impact—which could be a major cause of delayed onset muscle soreness.

Is it really all in your head?

There is an ongoing debate about compression gear because there is really no scientific evidence to support that compression gear enhances performance.  However, the perceived benefits are huge.  I personally don’t feel that wearing compression gear will make me run faster times but I do believe that all the little things adds up.  Faster recovery and less cramping may truly be all in my head but as long as they feel good and I believe in their recovery powers, I will continue to wear them!

Give compression a try!  I’d love to know what you think.


  1. I like what you did with your picture! Nice post Jen!

  2. More and more people are wearing compression gear to experience it’s wonderful effects. Thanks for the post.