Compression gear has gotten so popular in the running community these days. Supposedly compression improves blood flow through the muscles, and that better oxygenation of muscles improves performance and flushes out lactic acid more quickly. Compression gear is touted for beneficial use before, during, and after workouts.
|I guess these full-body Zentai suits could technically be considered full-body compression gear.|
I gave into the hype and bought one pair of compression sleeves and one pair of compression socks. I've tried them both while running and to be honest, I don't think they help very much. They actually make my calves feel uncomfortably tight to the point of near-cramping.
Post-run, I do think that they make a difference, though. I've found that my muscle soreness dissipates more quickly. Case in point - when wearing compression, my calves have felt as good as new within 24 hours after a long run. But my hips and thighs, where I haven't worn compression, have taken two or three days to fully recover.
At the very least, I do think compression gear makes you look hard-core, though. Case in point:
OK, bad example.
Here's a better one:
(I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the woman leading the pack is the only one that isn't wearing compression socks.)
Fast forward back to the present. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about trying compression shorts. They are sized based on mid-thigh circumference, and my thighs tend to be a little disproportionate. I was worried about having sausage legs. Also, when I am wearing the wrong waistbands, my muffin top will make quite the unwelcome appearance. I was bracing myself for the bakery that I'd be able to open while wearing compression shorts.
Not surprisingly, the shorts were tough to put on. It took me several minutes of wriggling and shimmying and twisting and adjusting before I finally got them in place. Lesson learned: make sure you've visited the bathroom before you try to put these shorts on because it'll take you a while to get them off. (I had contemplated being able to race in these shorts, but they would take too much time to deal with in a portapotty situation.)
After the shorts were on, though, they were surprisingly comfortable. They have a nice back pocket and the groin area is designed with a bit more forgiveness. I could definitely feel the compression, but I had no trouble breathing or sitting in them. Despite my qualms, the design was such that I actually had minimal muffin top and also minimal sausage leg.
(Speaking of sausages, this is tangential but I just have to share with you this hilarious news-video clip.)
Based on my discomfort from wearing compression socks or sleeves during running, I don't anticipate wearing these shorts while running, either (although I'll certainly give it at least one try). The true test for these compression shorts will be AFTER a vigorous run. My quads are usually my sorest and most stubbornly sore area after tough runs, so I am very excited to have something to combat that. But so far I am pleasantly surprised with how these shorts feel and I am excited to add them to my gear.
What are everyone else's experiences with compression in general? Am I the only one that finds them borderline-cramping uncomfortable when worn during runs?