/ Running in compression socks/tights

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Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Sep 2012
IS this a good idea for someone who has tight calves? Or is the consensus to run without and wear for recovery?

As winter is approaching I am considering some tights but not sure whether to splash out for compression.

Currently use a rolling stick on the calves which works well (but is very painful on a few spots)
Fultonius - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers: Is there any evidence that they make any difference?

A quick search on google scholar and pubmed didn't show many positive studies...
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Fultonius: Posting on here I was hoping for some honest anecdotal evidence.
The New NickB - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:

I don't think there is a huge amount of science that backs up many of the claims made by the manufacturers, but with hopefully sounding like a follower of Woo, I do think they can help.

As the weather starts to get cooler, they provide a tiny bit of additional warmth to some big muscles, I think this helps.

They can provide a bit of stability, particularly for calves, which I do think help a bit with fatigue.

Does the compression help with recovery, not sure.

I think any benefits are marginal and are possibly even primarily mental, but even that can make a difference.

If you don't mind paying out, they are certainly worth trying.
The New NickB - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to The New NickB:

Without*
Fultonius - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:
> (In reply to Fultonius) Posting on here I was hoping for some honest anecdotal evidence.

Mwahahahahahaa!

Anecdotal evidence.

Well, you may get a lot of people who have paid 70+ on a fancy pair of new tights who will inevitably tell you about how wonderful they are and how much difference they made blah blah blah.

Evidence?

Nah.



Mr Fuller on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers: In my experience they make a massive difference. Since wearing them (I've got some Craft ones) I've been able to do 30 miles runs every couple of months. Before them, I'd be struggling with calf pain and achilles tendon pain after about ten miles. I'm doing a little more stretching (but only about 5 minutes every time I go out) and now make more effort to warm up too, but I do believe the socks have made a big difference.

Academic research struggles to prove/disprove the effects of compression (can't do double-blind tests), but some recent studies show it works. Medical bandages and braces are tight for a reason!
Steff - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:

I wear at least calve compression for anything longer than 2 hours. It makes me feel better afterwards. I suppose it's more to do with avoiding vibration/oscillation than with compression and blood low factors.
In contrast to what is usually reported, I don't notice any improvement wearing compression gear for recovery. In fact, after a long workout I prefer to wear very loose cloth. Massage really works wonders for recovery IMO.
Fultonius - on 13 Sep 2012
Although, as Nick B says - if you have the cash feel free to buy. I'm sure they're worm and comfy for running in and the placebo effect is a very useful tool. Go on, buy them, believe in them and they probably will have a benefit!

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Fultonius: "who will inevitably tell you about how wonderful they are "

that's why I said "honest"

Someone might tell me they bought some and they noticed no benefit. Sounds lie you could be that man...have you tried them?
yorkshireman - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:
> (In reply to Fultonius) Posting on here I was hoping for some honest anecdotal evidence.

I use full length compression tights for recovery after long runs (20 miles+) but never for anything less. I 'believe' they help me a bit but as has been said before, this could be placebo. However they were only about 20.

I recently bought a pair of Skinz compression shorts and I wear them on steep runs. The primary factor is they give some support to my quads, and on downhills they help save them a bit from some of the tiny muscle fibre tears that inevitably happen on the way down. My favourite local run has 800m of downhill over about 3.5km so my legs do take a bit of a pounding and I find the shorts leave me a bit fresher afterwards.

The golden answer in running is - try stuff, and do what works for you. If you ask enough people you'll get an answer to support any theory you want.


Fultonius - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers: Nah, I don't run much and certainly try to avoid shelling out hard cash on things that will have marginal to no difference.
Irk the Purist - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:

I ran the Lakeland 100 last month which is 105 miles with a lot of up and down.

My training involved two long runs on consecutive days. Very early on in the training I was running 20 miles and then 14 miles or so the next day. At the end I was running 30 miles on Sunday and then 20 miles on Monday. This was 3 weeks out of 4.

I did all my training in shorts or standard running tights. I did use compression socks for recovery on occasion but found they made no significant difference. Recovery shakes (or milk) did make a big difference to recovery however. They made an instant difference to my recovery speed and I noticed it if I forgot to take one out with me. I also used recovery shakes during long runs.

On race day, I think I was the only one without any compression tights or shorts/socks. So anecdotely, for ultra distances, they work. But from my point of view, I made it round without any. Having said that, my thighs hurt like billyo and my feet were swollen to twice their size at the end. I think compression wear would have helped, but there's no way of being sure.

For injurys, I think they're useless. Much better to work out what's causing it and get a regular sports massage to control it. I had a sports massage every 3 weeks.

Er, so in conclusion, no idea but you certainly don't need them to do lots of running. Like most things in life, try them and see how they work for you.

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Eric the Red: Thx, interesting point of view
steelbru - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:
If you want to try compression stuff without breaking the bank, then check out redvenom.co.uk

Supposed to be made in the same factories, using same materials, as some of the big names, but at a fraction of the cost. Small uk company started by a couple of triathletes I think.

There's been threads on here in the past discussing the benefits if you do a search.
edinburgh_man on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Fultonius:

worm*
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worm

warm*
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warm

Which is it? I suppose compression socks do look a little worm like. Freudian slip?
edinburgh_man on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Eric the Red:

"On race day, I think I was the only one without any compression tights or shorts/socks. So anecdotely, for ultra distances, they work."

Is this anecdotal evidence that they work, or anecdotal evidence that people think they work? Not sure.
Irk the Purist - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to rosmat:

You got me. Actually I noticed that the winner wore shorts and a t-shirt. So maybe it's all a load of rubbish after all.
mandy - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to Eric the Red: Pointless anecdotal statement but ditto.

In the very small number of races I have done the winners have always been shorts and vest types and all the duffers in the compression suits come huffing and puffing in later.
Andy
stouffer on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to mandy: I get some tightness in my calves even on relatively short runs and I found compression socks help. Nike ones, cost about a tenner or something so hardly a killer blow to the finances.

The killer blow to your street cred on the other hand...
ads.ukclimbing.com
yorkshireman - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to stouffer:
> (In reply to mandy) I get some tightness in my calves even on relatively short runs and I found compression socks help. Nike ones, cost about a tenner or something so hardly a killer blow to the finances.

I think the problem here is that they're just addressing the symptoms (tight calves) and not the cause.

For the last 3 weeks we had a friend staying with us who is retraining as a physio and it was invaluable to get some insight into the various bits of my body that are too tight/imbalanced from running (there are many) - stretching them out and addressing the cause is obviously going to do a lot more in the long term than compression wear.

Steff - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:
> (In reply to stouffer)
> [...]
>
> I think the problem here is that they're just addressing the symptoms (tight calves) and not the cause.
>

Good point. I missed the OPs reference to tight calves, which is not the same as fatigued calves at the end of a long run.
rockchomper on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:
only recommending what worked for me, have no technical breakdown for this method, so i massaged in 'deep heat' cream and did 10-15 min warm up/stretching and same after, mebbe it was just all that rubbing that did the trick....
mrchewy - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers: I ran an ultra this year of 69 miles and only wore compression tights for recovery - this worked for me but I wore those short shorts when I was running/training. Too hot otherwise! I have some calf guards I only wore for the race, yes my calves didn't ache after like they usually did after a training run but my feet swole horrendously. I have no idea if this was down to the calf guards or the distance. I suspect distance but without the calf guards, could I have gone the distance anyway?

I found stretching and recovery shakes to be of far greater benefit but I did notice I had more DOMS if I skipped wearing tights after a run.
SteveRi - on 29 Oct 2012
Sceptic by nature but wear compression tights after a big event - any port in a storm. Sometimes use compression shorts trying to run fast on battered legs, eg doubling up, racing tired, etc.
paul walters - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers: My local Aldi is flogging off Crane running and cycling gear at the moment, including "compression" leggings. They're around 9. Might be worth a punt for less than a tenner... cheaper than replacing your bog-standard Ron Hills anyway ?
mattrm - on 03 Nov 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:

I do IT for a lab which tests medical compression hosiery. Basically they improve blood circulation to your legs (or arms or whereever) which will have a small positive effect.

There's some detail about the testing here:

http://smtl.co.uk/testing-services/34-smtl-services/52-compression-hosiery-testing.html

Caveats - I don't do the testing or know anything much about it all, just the IT guy. So take anything I say with a big pinch o salt.

It's worth pointing out that unless the garments that your wearing have been tested, then there's no guarantee that they're actually working properly. For this reason, it's worth getting your GP to measure you up for a set of the proper medical ones and then buying them (they're quite cheap as well, when compared to skins). I've heard quite a few folk on the FRA forums advise this and it seems sensible to me.

Personally I like running in them as my legs feel warmer in cold conditions. Just have the cheap redvenom ones. Can't be arsed to spend 70 on Skins, seems a bit steep.

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