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May 1, 2012

Socks…Again

Socks…Again

One can never have enough socks, said Dumbledore. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a pair. People will insist on giving me books.

~ JK Rowling, Philosopher’s Stone

Who would have know that I would develop a sock fetish when I took up running?

To read about where it all started, you can take a peek here at this entry wherein I write about my wonderful discovery of Balega socks. I love Balega socks.

So some number of months ago I had started to notice that after travel, running was harder for a few days. Sometimes, especially after long flights, mt legs would feel sore, heavy and they would ache when I would run. I asked a few runner about this and one – also a business traveler – dubbed this “jet lag legs”.

Great, a new symptom of jet lag. Some people really don’t suffer much from jet lag. I, on the other had can suffer for days – a week sometimes – which occasionally means I am never sure what time zone I am in and I feel like I am constantly adjusting. Now I learn my legs have to go through the same thing.

I Googled jet lag legs.

And low and behold, I found socks.

It appears that the intersection between long-haul travelers and runners is a real liking for compression socks.

Legs feeling like they had been filled with cement, I took a drive to my local running store to see what they might have to say about it. How had I previously missed that they have a whole section of compression socks, leg sleeves and related items? OK…So I ask the always-helpful sales team about my legs.

Me: Do these things really work?

Salesgirl: Oh, yes, they will make a huge difference.

Me: How do I use them?

Salesgirl: Well, you can wear them while you fly, or after you fly. You can also wear them while you run, or after you run. They are great for recovery. But if your biggest problem is after flying I’d suggest you wear them on the plan and then maybe for part of the next day.

Trying to imagine what it would take to toss aside all vanity and go out in my running skirt and knee-high socks, I look at the price and gasp. THAT…for socks?? But since I have a 90 day no ask return policy with my membership at the store, and my legs are throbbing a little, I toss down my credit card and walk out with a pair or reasonably cute pink compression socks.

I put them on immediately when I get home and I simply spend a couple of hours in my house walking around doing post-travel stuff: laundry, bills, last bits of unpacking. And all the time I am conscious of my legs. They feel sort of…well…compressed. Or maybe squeezed is a better word? It’s feels a bit odd, but in a good way, and I sort of notice that climbing my stairs feels better and, ok, this seems to work.

Some really smart makers of compression garments must have figured out that they could make a good living moving out of the world of the elderly and the injured and going to consumers who like gear. Business travelers and runners are both gear heads as far as I can tell. The companies selling to travelers, make some reasonable claims about helping with prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis (dangerous clots that can form in the legs when you are stationary for too long (especially at altitude). They also make some pretty suspect claims about decreasing jet lag and improving energy and such. Companies marketing to runners likewise make some likely reasonable claims about improving recovery by improving blood flow (especially venous return). Some also seem to want you to believe that you will improve performance. I’ll leave this to the experts. (This is a good blog on the topic form Science of Running)

So, since I bought the socks, I have now flown in them, run in them and recovered in them (both from running and flying). Here are my early thoughts.

  1. Worn when flying compression socks definitely reduce the amount of leg discomfort I have both during and after a flight. My shoes were not even a little tight after an 8 hour flight from Barcelona back to the US.
  2. After travel, the socks felt very nice, but I can’t say they decreased my jet lag or did anything more for my legs – maybe this would be different if I did not wear them on the plane?
  3. Running in them was nice in a way that is hard to describe. I find I sort of liked the feeling of compression – especially in my feet for some reason.
  4. I wore them after running without wearing them during running and they really did seem to make my legs feel good. I chose to do this after a longer run and definitely noticed decreased leg fatigue the next day.

Conclusions? I am sold.

Bad side effect? I guess I need a sock fund for my growing obsession.

Happy May Day.

Jacqueline

4 Comments

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  1. Dawn
    May 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I LUUURRRVE my compression socks, I also have some compression calf sleeves which have pockets front and back for ice pack things to slide in! Absolute heaven when your legs are aching. 🙂
    hope you have revered from your trip…?
    Dawn 🙂

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      May 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      Hey Dawn…I suddenly have gear envy! Ice pack holders sound so very nice! I might have to have some of those. Eventually along with a budget for this, I am definitely going to need a dedicated drawer. And thanks so much for all the fun comments and support! I suspect that one of these days in the future you and I will meet someplace, go for a run, have a glass of wine, and find all the other fun things we have in common.
      Jacqueline

      • Dawn
        May 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

        ooooh, that sounds such fun!!! ( I never say no to a glass of vino! ;-))

        The compression calf sleeves are made my 110%…

  2. Dawn
    May 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Recovered even!!!