Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Try it Tues: Recovery Socks

We’ve all seen them. You can buy them in running stores, at race expos, and even in the diabetic isle at Wal-Mart**. Compression socks.


Since I’ve always had calves wound tighter than a meth addict with a Starbucks problem, I’ve always wanted to try them. So, about 6 months ago I bought a pair of black Recovery Socks at the Twin Cities Marathon expo when I was having issues with a stress fracture. Here I am wearing them while stretching out after the RnR Mardi Gras Marathon (the poka-dot purse is not mine...i'm more of a leather kind of guy):

The scientific premise behind the socks is that they use graduated pressure that is heavier at the foot and lessens as it works up toward the knee, aiding in blood flow back to the heart and lungs. Thus, freshly oxygenated blood can return more quickly to the legs. Also, while actually running, the socks are touted as helping to compress muscles, reducing unnecessary vibration and thus reducing fatigue and discomfort. Translation: basically it squeezes all of the bad blood out of your legs like toothpaste out of a tube.

Since I was tired of washing my black Recovery Socks so often, a few weeks ago I bought a pair that were a wee bit more obnoxiously colored***.



I normally wear the socks after each long run. I’ll usually stretch, foam roll, shower, and then put them on for as long as my wife will let me (until I leave the house for the day). They feel snug while you have them on, however not so tight that they are restricting. I assume it is what having pantyhose on feels like. I’ve found that they help to reduce swelling and discomfort in the short term and help speed soreness and recovery in the long term. Here is what I think overall:

Pros:
  • If compression is good for the gout, it has to be good for runner’s legs
  • There are plenty of internet stories that sing the high praises of compression technology.
  • Even if the above links are wrong and it is only a perceived benefit, isn’t 80% of running mental anyway?
  • Elites use them, so that is good, right?
Cons:
  • They make you feel like a bit of a human sausage
  • I sweat. Knee high socks = sweating even more
  • If you try to put them on with sweaty sore legs after a hard race you'll end up looking like a fool - guaranteed
  • At ~$30 for each pair, they are not cheap

The verdict? I think they work. I’m not sure why or how but I feel like the extra circulation that they provide has to be helping something. After all, isn’t increased circulation what Viagra was all about****? While I can’t speak to Viagra’s recovery properties, I CAN say that after I wear these socks I am ready for action sooner rather than later.

So, Recovery Socks get the official Boring Runner Seal of Approval.


**Right next to the full sized cut outs of Wilford Brimley
***I like my socks like I like my women, loud green
****I’m asking because I honestly have no idea

26 comments:

Ace said...

Did someone mention the Beetis?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pod4jIKT_kA

RunningLaur said...

anything that's obnoxiously green has to be wonderful

Emz said...

Ya - love the "I assume it is what having pantyhose on feels like".
what colors of PH you own? ;)

I think your road ID should be that same crazy green color.

Chad said...

Pro: Your legs look like a couple of highlighters with those socks on.

You ran RnR Mardi Gras?? I'm jealous. I grew up in NO, and I would love to go back for a race.

EricaH said...

great review!! 2nd compression sock review I have read today that had green socks in it. I must have missed the memo. Now i feel like an impulse shopper at Walmart who can only walk past the peanut M&Ms so many times before I just have to have 'em, I see lime green socks in my future.

Also I think you should rock the socks and the polka dot purse during your next marathon. :)

MCM Mama said...

I just got some of the green ones as well. So far I like them. Beer Geek just rolled his eyes when I wore them with shorts and sandals...

Jill said...

I'd like to see you run in the full body suit wrap :).

GeorgiaSnail said...

I'd like to respond to Emz's question by asking, "What colors DOESN'T he own?"

ShutUpandRun said...

Scariest thing I've seen all week is your white legs in those green socks. But if they work, I'm all over them!! (talking about the socks, not your legs).

Jamoosh said...

Great. First Angie B and now you. I didn't know the lime green recovery sock was the "it" color.

Rad Runner said...

Do they come in HOT pink? I will wear em! I'm havin' some tightness in my Left calve, I think its time to buy a pair... I have heard they are good for aero plane rides to!

Whitney said...

I'll have to find me some... maybe they'll help with pregnancy swelling too? I can only hope.

Barefoot AngieB said...

Lime green is where its at! I like your review better. Can I just cut and paste and say "yeah, what he said".....

Colin Hayes said...

Do you wear these WHILE you run, or only after? I think I've seen them during races (not the green ones, though). Might have to think about getting some. Then I could embarrass my kids even more!

Teamarcia said...

I'm becoming green with envy with all these lime socks being thrust in my face. I only have pink and white. But I love them all the same.
Wow you can actually bend over that far post marathon? That should count for a qualification of some sort!

Dr. TriRunner said...

Holllld up a gosh darn minute there SeƱor... you came and ran TCM?!? You planning on another trip back to the lovely Miniapple any time soon?

Jameson said...

I could leave a serious comment, but I first thought the title was "recovery sucks" and I was so intrigued because I agreed, then I saw pictures of socks.

kilax said...

I really want to try these, especially since I am having calf issues.

inspiREDtorun13 said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0H2fH3K044

I actually didn't know that guy's name and had to YouTube him. The Price is Right commercial segments wouldn't have been the same without him. LOL. Diabetes section at Wally World.

...Barbie... said...

ohhh i really want these in pink but have been slow on pulling the trigger. but i just may get a pair since you recommend them. i love the green!!!

aron said...

i have recovery socks and i like them, but i have two pairs i like better :)

Her Name is Rio said...

I wore my recovery socks to the community pool this weekend with my swimsuit coverup. Yes, I thoroughly embarrassed my kids, but my legs were happy.

Cynthia O'H said...

I got my feet into a pair of compression socks in March and also like them after long runs.
Another thing to consider: the socks are not putting anything unnatural or chemicalish into our body, and they don't have steroids. So, they really can't hurt us, can they?

Julie said...

Hi Adam,
I think green is your color! I really do need to get a pair or two of those babies. There have been so many times where I could of used them. I will have to go online and check them out:)

wendy_kresha@charter.net said...

Your wife is an alien???????

Glenn Jones said...

A lot of people in my running club extol the value of comression socks. Eventually I should get a pair. But I think I'll pass on lime green...