COMPRESSION: AN ATHLETE’S BEST FRIEND

Socks, sleeves, tights, shorts–you name it, it’s compression these days. Though it’s not for everyone, compression isn’t just used for medical reasons anymore. Athletes are using it after hard workouts to recover, during long runs to improve circulation, and to move more efficiently.

Runners, read on because we are on our feet for long periods of time and compression might be the answer. It’s not completely understood exactly how soreness can be alleviated, but many runners and athletes swear by their compression gear. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Increases blood flow
  • Limits swelling and inflammation
  • Speeds recovery
  • Reduces vibration
  • Warms up skin
  • Improves efficiency through muscle support

“Keeping oxygenated blood flowing to the muscles is important for performance,” Paragon Running Specialist and avid runner Brian McGregor says. “The more oxygen the cells have, the better they will function.”

During exercise, lactic acid is produced as a waste product, and if it’s not removed it can contribute to soreness and decreased ability to perform, Brian explains.

When is it best to use compression? It really depends on the type of workout. During a long run (I’m looking at you marathoners and ultra marathoners) compression can improve circulation. This keeps the blood from pooling at your feet, and can even help prevent lightheadedness related to blood flow. If you’re taking on the track for a speed workout, you might want to grab your compression gear, too. The tight hold of the compression helps reduce muscle vibration, which improves efficiency and can reduce delayed soreness.

“As a runner, I have so much shock and vibration going through my leg muscles as I pound the pavement with 3-5 times my body weight while running,” says Brian.

At one point, compression was seen as white granny socks that went up to the knee. Now, it’s even in your running shorts. Your quads and hamstrings are large muscle groups that get used every step of your run. If you take about 2,000 steps in a mile, a 7 mile run uses these muscles about 14,000 times! Over time, this use and many vibrations add up and fatigue muscles. 2-in-1 shorts allow you to still wear your favorite running shorts with the benefits of compression on these key muscle groups.

Though compression shorts or tights are common, graduated compression is another option. Compared to constant compression, graduated features the strongest compression near the ankle and decreases up the leg. The idea behind it is to aid in pushing the blood back up the legs and to the heart.

For more detailed accounts of how compression affects performance and recovery, check out this AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) research using 2XU lower body compression.

“I’ve been wearing compression for more than 5 years now,” says Brian. “I’m afraid to know how my body would feel if I didn’t have it.”

If all this compression talk made you curious, try it out yourself with these styles:

Meet Nuun and Feetures! at Tuesday’s Run Club

Paragoners,

Great news!—Nuun hydration and Feetures! socks are sponsoring our Tuesday Run Club! What makes these brands awesome? Paragon Pacer James gave us some insight.

Nuun is delicious enough to hydrate with any day, but it’s ideal for refueling and rehydrating after a run. Pronounced “noon,” the company was the first to separate electrolyte replacement from carbohydrates, so you get the benefits without all the sugar. Just drop the tablet into a bottle of water and enjoy!

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“Nuun hydration isn’t as thick as other drinks like Gatorade and isn’t as sticky,” James says, plus, they are only 8 calories each with zero sugar.

Not only are the flavors tasty, they are an easy way to enhance performance through proper hydration. Many of us are dehydrated on a daily basis, which can cause fatigue, cramps, headaches, dizziness, nausea and more. When water just isn’t enough, Nuun provides three hydration varieties:

  • Active Hydration: specific to high intensity activities and/or higher electrolyte replenishment needs (Running, Cycling, Swimming, etc)
  • U Natural Hydration: all natural variety with a lower electrolyte profile
  • All Day: encourages you to drink more water by providing refreshing flavors, enhanced with all-natural vitamin and mineral blend for daily use

Now we all know hydration’s importance, but so is taking care of your feet during long or frequent runs. Feetures! brand strives to help you perform your best by providing a variety of high-quality socks and eco-friendly packaging to boot!

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“The Merino wool ones are super nice,” says James. “The wool doesn’t take on the smell technical fibers usually do and wears better.”

Already wearing Feetures! when asked about them, he explained the high performance socks have a fabric blend, elastic arch support and good fit unlike any other sock. Each variety keeps your feet dry using fibers like bamboo, Merino wool and Lycra. There’s one for every runner’s need:

  • High Performance: original design featuring Lycra, hugs, wicks, includes ventilation zones
  • Elite: targeted support, blister protection, moisture wicking
  • Elite Merino+: includes Merino wool for natural anti-odor, insulates when wet, warms feet
  • Plantar Fasciitis Sleeve: 6 support zones with graduated compression for circulation
  • Elite Compression: knee-high, 18-22 mmHG of superior graduated compression for faster recovery

Both are amazing products that are beneficial to many runners already. So, make sure to come out and experience Nuun and Feetures! for yourself this Tuesday at 6:30pm.

A Word From Coach Josh:

This week, hopefully the weather will agree and there won’t be any reason to make any adjustments, we’re going for some variable pace work with a nice little interval play. The pick-ups aren’t aggressive, but more of a turn of pace that will work with the potential conditions we’ll be looking at. Sadly, I won’t be there Tuesday, but pacers James, Devang, Vivian, and Brian have got you covered.

The Tuesday Workout

  • Warm-up to the West Side Highway [Roughly 1-mile]
  • Repeat the Sequence Twice
  • 1-min Easy/4-min @ 30-sec faster
  • 2-min Easy/3-min @ 45-sec faster
  • 3-min Easy/2-min @ 60-sec faster
  • 4-min Easy/1-min @ 90-sec faster
  • Cool Down back to the store [Roughly 1-mile]

~ Josh