Most runners who like to take their workouts outdoors tend to favor distance running over short bursts. Whether that includes jogging down city sidewalks, preparing for a marathon, or taking to the trails, you know the importance of endurance and the fight against fatigue. Along with that, you know that what you wear can impact your performance.
One area that has recently grown in popularity is the use of compression garments by athletes. For runners, the focus is on compression socks. But how can compression socks help you perform better during your next run? Here’re just some of the ways.
Circulation and Blood Flow
Compression garments are known to increase the circulation and blood flow in the area on which they are worn. The original medical purpose was to help prevent swelling in the targeted areas and even the ability to reduce blood clots.
While you may not have those concerns specifically, the reduction of swelling can lessen the effects of fatigue. Your muscles many be able to work for longer without experiencing the aching and general heaviness associated with endurance activities.
Greater Body Awareness
One of the biggest factors regarding performance during a run is your form. While wearing compression garments won’t inherently improve your form, the additional pressure can make you more aware of your own body mechanics. This may help you monitor your body positioning more effectively, allowing you to adjust your form throughout your run. By making changes to improve efficiency, you may be able to run longer.
Assistance for Injuries
Wearing compression garments can help keep the muscles in covered areas warm, which may relieve discomfort associated with previous injuries. Additionally, many of these products provide extra stability around joints, which can help with overall performance.
For example, wearing a compression knee wrap can help those who may have suffered from previous knee injuries. The wrap helps keep the various pieces of the joint aligned and reduces the likelihood of unfavorable shifting. The reduction in localized swelling may also alleviate some of the pain related to an old injury.
Some people prefer to wear more fitted clothing when working out. In some cases, loose fitting clothing can get twisted and bunch up. Compression wear fits snugly and won’t get folded over itself. Additionally, it can provide a barrier against friction-related skin irritation.
In most cases, compression wear can feel uncomfortable snug at first. However, it is a feeling that becomes more familiar with regular use. In fact, the feeling of comfort can make it easier to keep the items one once the workout is complete, which may promote a faster recovery than automatically changing into something looser.
How to Begin
One of the easiest garments to start with are compression socks, which is ideal for runners. If you find those become comfortable after a few times out on the trail, then consider adding new pieces one by one.
As you pick pieces of compression wear, make sure you get the correct size based on your current weight and frame. Even though compression wear is meant to be tight, you don’t want to go with a size that is too small. If you do, it will likely be an uncomfortable experience even after multiple wearings, or you might not be able to get them on in the first place.