Up until August I had been a nonbeliever when it came to compression socks. For me, the only purpose they served was to protect my shins from grasses which cut up my legs when out on the trails. Trust me when I tell you that I had given them a fair shake.
Over the past two years I tried several brands and used them for their prescribed purpose. I wore them after my tough speed sessions and long runs to help speed recovery and never noticed whether they actually worked or not. I wore them during my long runs and noticed nothing.
I gave up on thinking compression wear actually worked and decided that all of those runners who were jumping on the bandwagon, wearing their knee-highs in marathons, half marathons and 5ks were all just doing so because it was the new trend.
In July I was contacted by Erin Curley, a sales representative for an agency which reps for CEP. She offered to send me some CEP compression socks and leg sleeves to test out. There was something she said in her email which caught my eye.
I’m sure you are aware of compression, however did you know that not all compression socks are created equal?
The nonbeliever that I had become raised an eyebrow. Really? I had pretty much written them off, but I’ll give them a try.
To begin with, CEP socks are fitted by calf size, not foot size. There is also a specific process to putting the socks on. When you first open the package and pull them out they look pretty tiny. You need to first find either the Right sock or the Left sock, then pull them inside out, stick your foot in first, and then gradually pull the sock over your calf in sections. I know that sounds confusing but it really isn’t that hard. There is a nifty video to show you how to do this.
As soon as I put them on my legs felt incredible. The socks hugged my calves tighter than all of the other compression brands I had tried up until this point. I couldn’t wait to give these things a try on a run and for post-run recovery.
The idea behind compression socks is that they help expand the diameter of your arteries, resulting in better blood flow. According to CEP, “approximately 30% while at rest and by approximately 40% under physical strain.” The benefits would be a quicker and easier run, and improved post-run recovery.
Back in July and August my short runs lasted around an hour and my long runs were upwards of 3-5 hours long. I wore the CEP compression socks, as well as the CEP compression leg sleeves, on all of those long runs. After those runs I always felt great. Sure, a four hour run can tire you out and I’m not saying I wasn’t tired, but my legs never felt horrible. I was always ready the next day to head out for more. In fact, there were several times when I would head out for a 2-3 hour run the very next day.
Now, my ability to bounce back could very well have been due to my training, but I am not about to dismiss the idea behind compression wear and say that they had nothing to do with my recovery. They very well could have played a part in my ability to head back out the door the next day feeling good. In fact, I believe that it was a combination of training, nutrition, and recovery using my compression socks that enabled me to sustain such a demanding training schedule.
Have I become a compression sock convert? Absolutely.
Will I continue to use my compression socks to aid in recovery either by wearing them on my long runs or post-run? Indeed, I will.
Do I believe that all compression socks are created equal? Without a doubt, my answer is No!
But I do believe in CEP Compression Socks and Leg Sleeves. The dent it puts on my wallet (mind you, it’s not that bad) is certainly worth it in my mind. In fact, I will admit that the only reason why I never tried them prior to this was because of the cost. The eternal thrifty shopper that I am, all of the compression socks that I had tried previously were under $30. That could be why they never worked, it’s hard to say. However, after putting the CEP brand to the test, the quality and effectiveness of these socks is well worth the cost.