Compression Sleeves

Last week one of my favorite bloggers Catlin (Rose Runner) asked why I wear compression sleeves.  Instead of answering it’s proper running technique or all the cool kids do it I thought I would write an entire post about it. 

First, I have a very awkward and odd running style.  I have always walked extremely far on my toes and when I began running I naturally began running very far on my toes.  I didn’t start running on my toes because Runners world and internet sources told me too. In fact I run further on my toes then most running people suggest.  That is just how I run.  Some people are heel strikers…I am an Ostrich runner.  I get mistaken more for a ballerina then a runner.  I have shoes with 1000+ miles on them that still have full tread on the heels.  If you ever see me at a race you will probably make fun of me like many other spectators.

Though I'm not wearing compression sleeves at this 5k, I think it gives a good example of my toe running.
Though I’m not wearing compression sleeves at this 5k, I think it gives a good example of my toe running.

I wear compression sleeves because no matter what I do my calves are always sore.  I could foam roller, stretch and do everything my deep tissue massager says but I will still always have tight calves.  I wear compression sleeves because they add another level of relief too.  I try and do everything to keep my calves from not being tight but normally don’t have much success.

Though I’m not entirely sure that compression sleeves work they mentally make me feel better.  I have had my best longer races (half marathons) wearing compression sleeves so mentally I’m afraid to not race longer distances in them.   I don’t really wear them a lot to shorter races.  I don’t have a reason why I don’t I just find myself at the starting line of a 5k not wearing them more often.

I have two types of sleeves that I like.

The Ultra Zensah Recovery when I’m sleeping.  They are very hard to get on and I think they provide the most blood flow to my calves (probably because they are so tight).  I will never run a race in them  because they make my legs feel like bricks.  I’ve run in them a few times (because I forgot to take them off and ran within five minutes of waking up in the morning) and I honestly struggled running a 9 minute mile.  Every run I’ve done in them has been miserable.

The CEP sleeves are my favorite “all purpose” compression sleeve.  I just feel faster when I run in them and I find they provide me with enough support without making my legs feel like bricks.

So yes, maybe compression sleeves work, maybe not.  For me I have found them to at least provide support to my always tight calves.  If anything they provide me with a mental crutch.

Questions for you:

If you do wear compression sleeves what kind?