Running Review: Compression Socks

Foot Striking Position

I have thoroughly hated enjoyed the last seven years running and touch wood, have been pretty injury free. This is largely due to my weird but correct running form (I land on my toes). Forefoot running is more efficient produces fewer injuries and greater speed. Be careful not to overstride though. You should aim for your foot to land directly under your front knee. If your foot lands in front of your knee then you are overstriding. This means that your foot lands far in front of your centre of gravity, producing a ‘braking effect’ and an increased risk of injury. Try to land lightly and spend as little time in contact with the ground as possible – this will reduce the risk of injury and increase your speed. Tip: try to imagine yourself running on hot coal, you need to land lightly and move quickly so you don’t get burnt. You can try skipping with alternate feet to help increase your efficiency and energy return of your landings.

Arms

Perfecting your leg movement is important, but don’t forget your arms. Efficient arm movement can improve your rhythm, aid balance and increase your speed. Relax your shoulders and keep your arms at a 90 degree angle by your sides (they should not cross your body or flap around anywhere else)

Breathing

This is an important aspect of training all round, whether running or weight training. You should try and keep your breathing as regulated as possible and refrain from panting. If you need to go slower so you can take long deep breaths through your nose and exhale deeply through your mouth, then so be it. Tip: try and run in time with your foot strikes. I breathe in deeply for 4 foot strikes and exhale slowly for 4 foot strikes.

The aim of this post is actually about having the right training gear. I have always had the correct gear to train in because; a) I love nike (cue for Nike to sponsor or give me some shares in their company) and b) if you have nice gear, it makes you want to wear it and do a workout (win, win). From lycra leggings, sports bra, compression leggings, capris, vests, t-shirts, thermal hoodies, waterproof jackets to headbands. The one item I would recommend you invest in, even if you are not a serious runner is running compression socks.

A runners dream

A runners dream

I ordered these for a tenner courtesy of Wiggle and you can’t go wrong for that price. A great addition to any runners training gear. I know what you’re thinking…”I will look silly and they probably wont help”. These socks are not a fad and became popular in clinical use to prevent such things as deep vein thrombosis. They were initially used for people who were bed ridden or had forced inactivity, and then branched out to being prescribed for people who had to sit for long periods of time (airplanes or long car rides).

The Science

  • Blood Flow – The Blood flow hypothesis basically says that the compression of the lower leg increases the blood flow. Partially due to gravity, blood can tend to pool in the lower legs. This can occur both during exercise or when at rest. In terms of improving performance during a race, the idea is that if increased venous blood flow can occur, more by-products that are transported by the blood can be flushed out and cleared better. If these products that can cause fatigue are gotten rid of quicker, then performance improves. In terms of recovery after a race, the idea is similar. If you can increase venous blood return, you’re going to get back to feeling normal much quicker.
  • Muscle Vibration – When you run, and strike the ground, those impact forces cause the muscle/tendon/lower leg to vibrate. It’s thought that this vibration could be one cause of the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that you experience the day after running.
No leggings running

No leggings running

They are really comfortable, keep you warm and my calves definitely felt better the day after running.

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