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Inside Triathlon: Extreme Recovery

  • By Matt Fitzgerald
  • Published Dec 28, 2012
Photo: Aaron Hersh

5. Compression Socks

Last year, Tollakson started wearing compression socks during all of his hard runs, for the sake of his recovery following those workouts.

“I always thought of them as something for post-run recovery,” he said, “but I really started to notice the benefits of using them during the run.”

According to Rountree, “There are three questions with compression socks: Does wearing them during workouts improve performance during workouts? Does wearing them during workouts improve recovery? And does wearing them after workouts improve recovery? The answer on the first question is probably no, and on the other two, probably so.”

In fact, a recent study provided strong evidence that wearing compression socks during a hard run does not improve performance but does reduce the strain of hard running. Researchers at Massey University in Australia recruited 12 runners and had them run four 10K time trials on a track on separate occasions while wearing three varieties of compression socks (one at a time, naturally) and also without compression socks. The researchers found that the compression socks had no effect on their 10K times.

However, the runners did experience a smaller decline in jumping performance after the time trials when they wore the compression socks. This indicates that the time trial took less out of the runners’ legs when they wore compression socks. In essence, the socks improved post-run recovery by reducing the need for recovery.

RELATED: Does Compression Apparel Work?

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