I cannot open a single running, multi sport or triathlon magazine without seeing some “review” spewing the virtues of compression gear. With all this hype I would expect that I would only see lycra from head to toe on the trails. However there are only a few who are sporting the new attire.
So after some conversations with my friend Adrian I investigated compression socks further. I contacted Wim de Klerck from CSock to ask him for advice and info and finally I purchased a pair for myself and a pair for Mel. Seb Coe and Haile beware, here we come!
Or so I thought!
Here is some other interesting info I have found on my journey with compression:
• There is a whole bunch of hype and very little info available on the subject. All the “reviews” we read are basically copy off the manufacturers promotional splurb. There is some interesting info on the web which I found here from Joe Friel and here.
• I chose socks over just a sleeve because I am told that you need most of the compression around the ankle.
• Compression socks are bloody hard to get on. I have on more than one occasion had to suppress laughter as both my thumbs got stuck in the socks painful vice grip.
• Only after I purchased a pair did I realise this but I have not been able to find a sock manufacturer that caters for anybody that is out of the norm. This is mad! As if all people who wear a size 9 shoe also wear a size 32 jeans and a standard inseam! I know I am tall (at 196 cm) but I certainly am not freak!
• CSock can make me a custom pair of R 800,00 but that is just too dear in my book!
You need the most compression for running, less for walking and the least for recovery.
So here are my Positives and Negatives so far:
+ When wearing the compression socks from recovery my legs definitely felt better the next day than expected.
+ It was not only my claves that felt better but my quads too! They work!
+ Compression gear and lycra is sexy only in that it leaves nothing to the imagination. This may be good is some cases 😉 However I can not shake the gymp imagery associated with it.
– I wore my compression socks for one run and once under jeans for recovery and they slipped down very quickly! I contacted MedSport and CSock and discussed this with them at length. It seems like unless you fall into one size for all parameters then compression socks will have serious limitations. (unless you have a size M foot, size M calf circumference, size M length lower leg you will either have a too short or too loose sock!!
– I can see the benefits for a running only race. If I was doing Triathlon I would not want to hassle with putting these on while the clock ticks away. If this is the case for you then why train with something that you will not race with? You will feel naked on race day.
– My (unshaven legs) feel seriously itchy when I take the socks off.
So all in all it has been an interesting journey so far. I am by no means satisfied but I am glad that I have embarked on it.
If you are intrigued I would suggest that you go to somebody who knows something about compression.
So what are your comments and experiences?