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Socks for Running

Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:50 am UTC
by Jorpho
I've been doing some long-distance running lately, and by far the most painful part of my body afterwards is below the calves. I'm tempted to say it's my Achilles tendons, but I have no real idea.

My first thought is that it might go away with further training; my second thought is that I do wear some rather tight socks, and I do notice that marathon runners seem to wear much longer socks.

What's the deal here? Are socks particularly important? Should I invest in more loosely-fitting socks?

Re: Socks for Running

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:20 pm UTC
by ivnja
The tall socks you see some runners wear are compression socks, which are supposed to help promote blood circulation, etc, which is supposed to boost performance during the run and quicken recovery after the run. If you're just starting out with the longer distances, my guess is that your soreness will fade as your calves get used to the work, but I do know that some of the tall sock runners wear them because (whether true or not) they feel the compression socks help with that soreness.

Re: Socks for Running

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:16 pm UTC
by Jorpho
How exactly does that work, anyway? I would have thought compression would make circulation worse.

I guess ordinary soccer socks won't do the job. Are these things that can be used only once or twice before they lose their elasticity and have to be tossed?

Re: Socks for Running

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:58 pm UTC
by ivnja
The basic idea as athletic wear is that by putting pressure on the legs, the socks are meant to squeeze and slightly reduce the diameter of the veins, causing blood velocity to increase and helping flush out lactic acid more quickly, as well as providing stabilization for the muscles (they won't bounce and jiggle as much). They're tighter than your average dress sock or anything like that, but not so tight that they cut off circulation - it's like a firm hug, not a tourniquet. From what I've read (I've linked a couple articles at the bottom of the post), there's not strong evidence that they increase performance (race times, etc), but it seems that they do help with recovery and with reducing soreness. I've not used them myself, so I can't give any first-hand thoughts.

As far as how long they last before losing their elasticity, the only source I found said 8-12 months.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compression_stockings (article about the medical devices the athletic socks are based on)
http://www.scienceofrunning.com/2010/07 ... socks.html
http://running.competitor.com/2012/12/s ... work_62611