I'm sitting here writing this while wearing McDavid compression socks after a 12 mile run.
I’m obviously not a scientist or doctor but I am a runner who enjoys running very long distances. These are thoughts put into my own words, so they are simply the way I view how it works, not some scientific study I did in my kitchen. It’s real. It’s tangible. It’s a process.
I only support or otherwise talk about products that I truly believe help me perform at my potential while staying as comfortable and injury-free as possible.
During events the core benefits of McDavid compression products are the stabilization of muscles and increased circulation. Repetitive shaking or oscillation of muscles is reduced. With each stride the muscles contract/engage and then relax. Upon foot strike the leg suddenly stops and the muscle keeps moving with inertia then snaps back as it contracts. Repeating this several hundred (thousand) times over the course of a long run puts increased stress on the muscle itself and the connective tissues where the muscle attaches to the bone, resulting in micro tears and waste product in the muscle cells, which we feel as post activity soreness.
Reducing the unnecessary oscillation and vibration movement of the muscle enables it to work more efficiently and provides enhanced comfort and performance over longer periods of time.
The breakdown of running form is an unavoidable component of running long distances. Early in workouts or races the runner has all the energy, efficiency and strength that enables good form and a springy stride where all the main muscles and stabilizing muscles are working effortlessly in unison. Once fatigue sets in form falls apart, hips swing out, knees collapse and twist inward and ankles pronate at increasing angles. Reducing the micro tears and promoting circulation offsets the fatigue, enabling a more comfortable, natural stride for longer periods. Improving economy means better efficiency and using less energy.
Compression benefits don’t end when the run ends. Recovery begins. Regarding nutrition, it’s widely known that recovery must begin as soon as possible after a workout or race. Athletes benefit most by replacing carbohydrates, proteins, and electrolytes within 30 minutes after exertion ends.
This holds true for compression used in recovery as well. Immediately following exercise full length compression pants reduce muscle and joint swelling and increase circulation, which helps flush out waste products from muscle cells and facilitate the healing process. This in turn reduces soreness and speeds recovery, enabling a faster return to activity.
Next up: More detail on how compression is used and aids training AND recovery for me.