Why use compression sleeves or socks?

Why use compression sleeves or socks?

Many people have asked, if “compression socks or sleeves really work”?

The short answer is yes and no.

Before the running boom, compression socks were used by diabetics and airplane pilots.  Now, you can’t go to a race without seeing runners of all abilities wearing them (myself included!).Why use compression running

So if “everyone” is wearing them, there must benefits, right?

Most of the benefits in studies have been mental versus fitness gain.  Running is 80% mental anyway. Personally, while wearing compression my legs feel better during and after runs.

So what are some benefits of Compression? 

Recover Faster:

Compression promotes blood flow and in turn accelerates the removal of metabolic waste.  In short, it encourages blood flow with oxygen and nutrients to muscles faster.  As someone who deals a lot of with calve tightness, I’ve found that compression helps to speed up recovery after a hard workout or race. 

Stabilize:

If you’ve ever had issues with needing stabilization (for instance a rolled ankle), compression can help stabilize tendons and ligaments.  A few years ago, when I rolled my ankle, I used the CEP compression ankle sleeve. 

What to Keep in Mind:

There are a few things to keep in mind though, and not every compression sock brand is the same.  Some are just glorified tube socks.  The average quality set of compression sleeves cost about $40, while the average sock is about $60.  I personally have had the most success with CEP compression (they aren’t paying me to tell you that).

Socks or Sleeves?

If you aren’t having foot pain and issues, I highly recommend the sleeves versus socks. It can be tough to get a perfect fit between a calf size and foot size. For instance, my feet don’t match up because my calves are size 3 and my feet are women’s size 10-11!  Plus with the sleeves, you can use your own socks or if you feel like you need a pair of compression socks, purchase the right foot size. 

Look for Medical Grade:

You want to look for a brand that uses “Medical Grade Compression.” Medical Grade Compression is designed to promote and target blood flow. Typically colors are more boring and aren’t on sale every 10 minutes.

Medical grade compression comes in several different levels of compression:

  • Mild (8-15 mmHg)
  • Medium (15-20 mmHg)
  • Firm (20-30 mmHg)
  • X-Firm (30-40 mmHg)

Most runners don’t need anything more than medium or firm.

Get Measured:

The last thing to remember is to get measured. If you need a size 11 and are wearing a size IV, then you probably won’t feel much of the benefit. You want to measure the widest part of your calve.  Keep in mind to measure both, as many people’s calves (and feet) are two different sizes. Compression socks should fit snug. They should be tight enough to leave small impressions from the fabric, but they shouldn’t ever be painful.  The first time you put a pair on, it should challenge you.

Finally, When to Wear Them:

There are no rules about when to wear compression socks. Many runners like myself, wear them while running to increase circulation. Others use compression after a workout or run. If you are having shin and calve issues, wear them during a run or workout, as well as after.  (Don’t wear them 24-7 though, your feet need time to breath). If you’re using them for recovery, use them post run.  The beauty is, you can experiment is figure out when feels the best to you.

underarmour killington 25k

Question for you: Do you wear compression?  Socks or sleeves?

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mercy 3 Miler (18:20)

I thought I had written a race recap, but it turns out…it disappeared into space. Usually, I post race recaps on Tuesdays, but since it opened up my blog yesterday with none, it gets delayed a day.  I know, you’re devastated.

So anyway, on Saturday I raced my first shorter distance race since December.  It was a nice low key rust buster.

The morning itself was a disaster.  I went to get cash from my ATM card, and it was denied.  I’m actually not sure why as I do have money in my account, and my pin number was accurate, and the card was not expired, but that is here nor there.  Then the race wasn’t accepting cards for payment.  Luckily, I had a checkbook but it left me with not much time to warm up.

Other reasons to complain were I hadn’t slept well, it was cold and windy, and my legs were sore.  But I was at the race, and I was going to run.  I warmed up a couple of miles, felt meh and made my way to the start line.  At the start, I saw a lot of friends and local runners I hadn’t seen in a few months.  It was motivating, and by the time I knew it, we were off.

As you can see below, I am always talking…you never have to worry about interrupting my “prerace” 

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mercy

During the first mile, I found myself in fourth place, and I stayed there the entire race.  There was a pack of males whom I knew that led the way.  I never felt as though I was “racing” and more as if I was running a workout alone.  There wasn’t really anyone to run with, and it was just a sprint towards the finish.  I hit the first mile in 6:05, but it was deep underneath a couple of jackets, so I only knew my splits after I finished.

The second mile went to an out and back.  I could see the leaders as they turned around and it motivated me.   As I was coming back, I saw my friends, and it was motivating and kept me engaged in the race.  For a lot of the race, I never felt as though I was “racing.”  I hit the second mile in 6:08 and felt fine.  My legs just felt tired and couldn’t turn over any faster.

I just wanted the last mile to be over.  It felt as though I was running a marathon, not a 5k.  We went over train tracks and near a significant amount of ice.  I just took the turn wider and I felt fine.  As approached the finish line, I heard my watch beep.  Oh, exactly 3 miles.  I crossed in 18:20 and with a 6:07 last mile.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mercy

The race was supposed to be a 5k, however, apparently, it was not. It was nice it was at least exactly 3 miles and I can say I ran 3 miles in 18:20 versus 3.06 in whatever.  If I had continued the pace it would have been about an 18:57 5k, which I’m confident I could have done.

Other than that, not much else to say.  I’m happy with my effort, and I felt good despite everything.  I’m just as glad to be back out there and seeing friends too.

Questions for you:

Have you run a short course?

What is the coldest you’ve raced in?

Why There is No Best Running Shoe

Why There is No Best Running Shoe

The best shoe doesn’t exist. 

It’s not the Nike 4% and it’s not the Brooks Leviviate.

Also, pumpkin spice lattes and unicorn frappucinos are not the best coffee…

But each of those has great marketing.

It’s no secret that every human is different, and thus, we have different feet.  Even your own two feet might be drastically different and that is okay.  Thinking out loud, that is why there are so many different shoes.

Why There is No Best Running Shoe

What works for me, might not work for you, and it certainly won’t work for everyone.  ‘

Some people thrive on minimal shoes, and other’s (like myself) thrive on maximum cushioned shoes.

Some need a lot of stability, and some need none. Stability and pronation is just one factor. A person’s foot shape has a lot to do with shoe selection too.

Each brand and style is cut a little different, and while most brands have both a narrow and wide option (some even double-wide), it’s important to realize you might wear a different size than you think.  I wear anywhere between a 9.5 wide to a size 11 depending on the cut of the actual shoe.

So then: “Why is There No Best Shoe”? 

The best shoe for you, depends on a few factors:

  • Foot shape
  • Personal gait cycle
  • What someone is doing in the shoes and their goals

Every running shoe is the best for someone.  Similarly, every running shoe is the worst for someone. 

A good pair of running shoes will cost you between $100-$120.  The cost isn’t because you are being ripped off, but because companies develop technology that cost that much to create, plus labor costs, etc.  There are plenty of shoes that cost more and even a few shoes that are a little less (for instance the Nike Pegasus).  Costing more does not make them a better shoe.

There are also plenty of ways to find sales on shoes such as older models or discontinued styles.  You might have to sacrifice the shape of the shoe matching your foot or older shoes tend to last less time.

As someone who works in a running store, I also tell people the best way to get a good shoe (for you) is to go get fitted for an appropriate pair.  Most local running stores employ people who run and know running.  The employees also tend to know the local area and can be a great resource.

For instance, on paper, I love a neutral high cushioned shoe.  If I were to shop online, I would think a shoe like the adidas ultra boost or Asics Nimbus would be a great option.  However, with the width of my foot, they never feel that great.  Getting fit for a pair of shoes, the first time I realized just how wide my feet are!

Running shoes are expensive, but it’s the most expensive part of the sport.  Once you find your shoe, you can find out when sales and deals are.  I always recommend signing up for your local running stores emails because they often have the best deals of any place! 

Questions for you:

What is your favorite running shoe?

What are shoes you’ve tried and have not worked?

Saucony Ride 10 Shoe Review

Saucony Ride 10 Shoe Review

I’ve been running in the Saucony Ride 10 for a little while now.  It replaced the Saucony Freedom in my rotation.  A few years ago, I loved the orginal Saucony Triumph ISO.  Personally, it was one of my favorite shoes to come out.  Since then, I haven’t found a Saucony shoe I like as much.  More recent models of the Triumph have been okay but not my favorite.  I am curious to see how the latest model, the Saucony Triumph ISO 4 stacks up though.  I’ve run in several models of Saucony: The Triumph, the Zealot, and the Ride.

Anyway, the Saucony Ride 10 has been a more favorite shoe of mine recently.

Saucony Ride 10 Fit:

The Saucony Ride 10 fits more true to size than previous years.  Typically I wear a size 10-10.5 wide, and I found a 10.5 to be ideal.  The upper is seamless and accommodates those with wider feet or bunions.

saucony ride 10 shoe review.jpg

One thing I’ve noticed about Saucony, which people either love or hate, is that it has a very low back.  It doesn’t fit orthotics/inserts as well as many other neutral shoes.  That has been a deal breaker for many, because they feel like they are slipping.  It’s never bothered me, and I’ve never felt as though I was slipping out, but it does bother a lot of people.

Saucony Ride 10 Ride:

Time to review the ride of the Ride.  It always sounds funny when I say that.  The Saucony Ride 10 is an 8 mm drop and much firmer.  If you are looking for a shoe with firmer forefront cushion, the Ride or most Saucony shoes are an option.

I’ve run anywhere between 5-10 miles in the shoe, and I feel as responsive in the beginning as the end of the shoe.  The cushion is there. One thing I did notice was it slipped more on wet surfaces or in the rain.  It’s a shoe I’m less likely to take out in icy conditions, although I’m more likely to run indoors when it’s icy.

Saucony Ride 10 Conclusions:

The Saucony Ride 10 is one of the most popular shoes in the industry, and I can see why.  It’s a true to size, well-cushioned shoe, that is great for any amount of mileage: from 5ks to marathons.  It holds up well.  Saucony is on model 10 of the shoe, so it’s lasted the test of time for a while now. Personally, I’ve been enjoying the lightweight but still well-cushioned shoe for easy days or regular daily runs.

Current Rotation:

Brooks Glycerin 15 (long runs, easy runs)
Brooks Ghost 10 (easy runs, daily runs)
Saucony Ride 10 (easy runs, daily runs)
Nike Zoom Fly (workouts)
Altra Escalante (workouts)
Saucony Type A/Endorphin (races)

Questions for you:
What is your current favorite shoe?
What is your all-time favorite shoe?

Brooks Levitate Shoe Review

Brooks Levitate Shoe Review

Brooks spent a lot of time promoting the brand new shoe: The Brooks Levitate.  They built the social media hype, grabbed people’s attention, and drew people in.  It has been one of the most highly anticipated shoes of 2017.

Brooks Levitate Shoe review

We brought it into my work, and when we first got them, it didn’t wow me.  I tried it on, and it felt good, but not like the greatest shoe ever.  I knew I wanted to purchase a pair at some point but had to work through a couple of other pairs first.

Fit:

Typically I wear between a size 10-10.5 (wide) in running shoes.  I found the size 10 to fit the best, but I would love to see the Levitate come in wide.  Like the Brooks Launch, the regular width fits comfortably, but the wide would fit better.

The upper is seamless, which I’ve mentioned in several shoe reviews.  It allows for those with a wider foot to fit more comfortably, and less irritation all around.  Many running shoes are now designed to fit more like a slipper.  Brooks Levitate Shoe review

Ride:

When I first tried the Brooks Levivate on, I noticed how heavy it is compared to other models of Brooks shoes.  I was not expecting the firm sole or just the overall weight.  If you are usually Brooks fan, you will notice the difference of cushioning.  The Levitate is much firmer than both the Brooks Ghost and Brooks Glycerin.  It’s also much heavier than the Brooks Launch.  For women, it comes in at a dense 9.7 ounces.

Thinking out loud, A big draw to the Brooks Levitate is that it’s an 8 mm drop.  Most Brooks Running shoes are between 10-12 mm, and they haven’t had a good 8 mm shoe.  It’s similar to the Saucony Ride, albeit much heavier.

For me, it took about 5 runs for me to like the shoe.  I bought the shoe, so at $150 my wallet says: “I’ll like it”, but at first it wasn’t my favorite shoe.  A good shoe?  Yes, but I like both the Brooks Ghost and Glycerin better.  After about 5 runs, I grew to like it much more.  It is much more responsive, and I feel the ground more.  It cushions well.

In all, I do like the Brooks Levitate.  It’s not my favorite, nor least favorite shoe but it’s been a solid trainer so far.  I’ve run about 100 miles on the shoe, with my longest being about 10 and it’s held up well.

My Current Rotation:
Brooks Ghost 10 (easy runs, daily runs)
Saucony Freedom (easy runs, long runs)
Nike Zoom Fly (workouts) Review to come
Saucony Type A/Endorphin (Races)

Questions for you:
Have you tried a brand new shoe recently?
What is your favorite running shoe?

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