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Thoughts about compression tights

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:00 pm
by Ombah
I'm thinking about upgrading my running clothes this fall and as I was reading about different kind of tights on various webshops I discovered that they have tons of different functions. As a "minimalist runner" it got me thinking about all the super function running shoes have that does less good than harm. So if these supportive shoes makes your feet lazy and could it be the same effect on compression tights that support the leg muscles? And if I train with high-tech tights all fall and winter and go back to shorts when it gets warmer - how would the legs react?

Right now I have some cheap tights that don't have much to brag about. They don't fit so well and I guess more expensive tights have better fit. At least they should have...

Re: Thoughts about compression tights

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:46 pm
by skoptic
Personally I think compression tights are just a way to market (and mark up) something pretty uninteresting.

From what I know its all about helping recovery and is not - so I doubt there is a negative impact when you revert to "non compression gear". Having said that, I really doubt it makes a huge difference - there are other ways to flush lactic acid etc after a session which don't involve £40 calf guards.

But if you need a good excuse to drop some cash on good looking lycra (and there's nothing wrong with looking good while you run ;)) go for it! :)

Re: Thoughts about compression tights

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:32 pm
by andyO
For me, running tights or leggings are to keep me warm when it's freeezing outside. I choose them based on comfort and function which isn't always correlated to price, quite like ron-hill trackster type of things as they are good for keeping you warm.

Recently I have started wearing some capri style (come down to mid calf length) leggings, as I do a lot of fell running over wet/boggy ground. In this ground traditional leggings get very wet/heavy around the bottom of the legs which can tend to pull the leggings down. The capri style have the advantage of avoiding this awkward problem, so I like them for that.

Never bothered with "compression garments" as they all seem a bit faddy to me and whatever performance benefit they give (if indeed it is any benefit) will be pretty minimal I reckon.

That said I have read articles which reckon compression socks are good to help prevent problems with varicose veins etc, but apparently for them to be any good they have to be made to a proper medical standard, not just be expensive and branded... lots of chat and links here:
http://forum.fellrunner.org.uk/showthre ... Mag/page15

Just a thought - if compression garments do give a great performance benefit - why weren't all the runners at the olympics wearing them?

Re: Thoughts about compression tights

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:07 pm
by baldy
[quote="andyO"]why weren't all the runners at the olympics wearing them?

Paula Radcliffe wore a pair when she smashed the woman's marathon record.
Image

Re: Thoughts about compression tights

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:35 pm
by andyO
Fair point - I thought of Paula just after I hit send. Couple of things though:
1) When everyone in an elite race is doing something you know it's good - but if it is only some people then either they are a leading light ahead of the curve, or it's not a definite performance enhancer (that's a quote I read and can see the sense of not something I thought of).
2) I didn't say that compression socks were completely useless - I have read articles by people I generally trust who enthuse about them, specifically regarding their use in preventing lower leg vein problems.
3) From what I've read it is generally excepted that compression socks can help to aid recovery but performance benefits while running is unclear.

There is a good article discussing the benefits and quoting scientific studies here:
http://www.scienceofrunning.com/2010/07 ... socks.html

It's long so here is an extract of the conclusions:
[quote]There is a place for compression socks I think. Are they the cure all, guaranteed to improve performance? Doubtful. But there is no magic cure all, so you shouldn’t be looking for one. But they might be able to help increase recovery/decrease soreness. I’d look at them as a tool to use that is similar to ice baths. They don’t need to be used every day, but pull them out when you need them after that killer workout, or before that important race. Remember that while reducing muscle damage is generally a good thing, sometimes we need that damage to be the trigger for adaptation. It’s only when we break down stuff that it gets built up.


Back to the OP, if you're really interested in getting the benefits of compression garments - perhaps it is better to get a pair of socks for after training/racing recovery and a nice pair of tights to keep you warm while training?

I still think there is a lot of hot air written about sports products and their supposed benefits to get people to part with their hard earned though. :)

Re: Thoughts about compression tights

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:52 pm
by skoptic
[quote="baldy"]
Paula Radcliffe wore a pair when she smashed the woman's marathon record.


That's just cause she suffers from a rare hereditary flappy calf syndrome... or so I heard down the pub the other day.