Yes, I wear compression sleeves.  But interestingly enough, only for a marathon or on 20 mile training runs.

Why do I wear them?

There is a lot of information and discussion out there about compression sleeves and their purpose.  And if you  hear something is going to make you a better runner, you try it (heck, I am still juicing a full head of beets on the morning of my races.  Gag!).  Here is what I have found for myself:

Why I Wear Compression Sleeves:

1.  LESS LEG PAIN:  

My calf’s and shin’s don’t hurt!  Have you run the Delaware Marathon?  Well, let me tell you – HELLO HILLS!  Going up and down that many hills has shin pain written all over it.  I find when I wear the compression sleeves my lower legs don’t hurt as much as if I didn’t wear them.

2. RECOVERY:  

The night of my race and the following day I am married to ice and my foam roller.  I hurt everywhere!  Everywhere except my lower legs!  They just don’t hurt!

There is a lot of speculation about compression sleeves improving your running performance.

Do they make you go faster?  Out for debate.

Do they make you feel less tired as you go?  Possibly.

I don’t know if the sleeves do anything for my running performance.  On any given race day I face the same new dilemmas – the weather, my hydration levels, am I tired, did I drink my beet juice (are those darn beets messing with my belly).  Some days all the forces align and I am ready to kick butt.  Some days I have to use so much more will power to maintain standard running performance.  I can just throw the sleeves in my list of water, weather, beets…

I do not wear the sleeves for distances less than 20 miles.  Why?

I guess I should think about this one.  The sleeves aren’t awful to wear.  The compression socks were – just too tight on my feet (which are prone to swell from running long distances).  But the sleeves are fine.  I just like the feeling of not wearing them I guess for short distances.  If I ever get shin splints after a shorter race then you will see pictures of me in compression sleeves a lot more, for sure!

How about you?  Do you wear compression sleeves?  What do they do for you?  Let me know!

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