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?
I wear Zensah compression sleeves (occasionally during a run but usually after) and love love love them. I'm really susceptible to the placebo effect, so I have no clue if they actually work, but I feel like they do, which is good enough for me.ReplyDelete
I don't own any compression shorts (I like my shorts loose) but I do have some pants that are supposedly compression pants. They don't feel much different from my other pairs of running tights, thought. I just like them because they keep me warm.*
Ah, I've never tried the Zensah brand but I have heard good things about them. And I am all about the placebo effect - given how tough running can be, I am all about taking advantage of ANYTHING that works for you! Compression pants, wow... judging how long it took for me to put on compression shorts, I can only imagine how long it might take for me to put on compression pants, LOL.Delete
I never wear compression shorts while running because i just get too dang hot! Butt-sweat is never cool. They are nice to slip into after though :)ReplyDelete
I can definitely imagine that compression gear in general is just too dang hot, period. Butt sweat is the worst (and I've seen way too much of it at the gym, especially for folks on the bikes. Yikes!)Delete
I've worn compression sleeves on my calves during long runs/races. I wore them during the marathon and my calves were not sore afterward (but other body parts were sore), so I'll take that as a good sign. However, I think they provide more relief post-run.ReplyDelete
Also, I have some compression shorts (different brand) and I find them to be very uncomfortable in the groin area. So maybe CEP shorts would be better for me.
Ah yes, I noticed that you've always worn compression sleeves during long races (loved the turquoise ones you wore at the Chicago Marathon, btw). Glad to hear that your calves were not sore afterwards because I remember that my entire body was in pain afterwards!!!Delete
I would definitely give the CEP shorts a try for the groin design! (I know that sounds weird, LOL)
Although I'm not sure if I fully believe the full hype surrounding compression gear, I will admit that when I was training for my half I ran in compression socks every single time. I also wore them post-run and even slept in them many nights. I'm not sure if they truly made a difference but I was struggling with shin splits and was willing to try anything! I do like the idea of compression shorts though and would be willing to try them. They just sound so intense and...tight haha.ReplyDelete
I've heard several success stories with wearing compression for shin splints! And you bring up an interesting question regarding sleeping in compression socks. I've heard some folks swear by doing so, but others get worried about blood circulation issues when wearing them for such extended periods of time. I've worn them only once overnight and at the very least, I think they made me feel better mentally. =)Delete
Awesome job! I like to read this type of post and have wondered with your ability. I appreciate sports bra and compression sleeve for fitness.ReplyDelete
Good to know about these compression leggings. Last month, I ordered compression leggings for my yoga and workout sessions from one of best stores on internet. They provided great discount as well as quick delivery.ReplyDelete