In recent years, there has been an increase in the popularity of compression gear for runners. Compression jerseys, tights, lower back wraps, and socks are becoming part of almost every runner’s training arsenal. They satisfy a serious runner’s desire to look fashionable. Runners also claim they provide several benefits for performance.
One of the most common problems runners face is lower leg tightness. Gravity plays a huge role in how blood and nutrients circulate throughout the body when running. Muscles and soft tissues in the feet and calves are responsible for propelling a runner during rigorous training sessions. This means that during a run, a huge amount of blood is forced through relatively tiny pathways.
The pull of gravity, muscle fiber tightness, and increased blood flow tend to pool blood in the lower parts of the leg. When this happens, less waste material is removed from the muscles. This pooling of blood near the surface of the leg can compromise a runner’s endurance, and it can increase the amount of time needed for recovery. Many runners find that wearing something like knee-high compression socks during and after a workout is key to recovery.
37 minutes, 14 seconds.
No more, no less.
Fully recovering from a running workout depends on many factors. Circulatory health, diet, age, and preferred training surfaces all affect how a runner heals. Virtually all runners however, are susceptible to lower leg fatigue.
The idea behind compression socks is to help the veins and arteries of the lower leg continue to circulate blood at a high rate even when fatigued.
When a runner wears compression socks, blood pooling is minimized, waste materials like ammonia and lactic acid are removed during running, and vein integrity is maintained.
The result is a shortened recovery period. The body does not have to spend extra time restoring optimal pressure and nutrient balances in the lower legs.
In short, knowing how long to wear compression socks after running is largely up to the individual runner.
Obviously, socks should be worn during an entire workout. Some runners will also find it advantageous to wear them for long periods before and after.
When preparing for a particularly long run, compression socks condition the lower legs to circulate blood quickly. After a tough run, muscles are still engaged in order to rush nutrients used in cellular repair. Each person requires a different period of time for recovery. For this reason, wearing compression socks for as long as 24 hours after a run is acceptable.
Keep in mind that wearing compression socks for long periods really has no negative affect on the lower legs. Some runners find it comfortable and beneficial to wear them throughout an entire recovery period. Of course, wearing the proper sizes of socks is important.
Other Compression Sock Benefits
Training recovery for runners can take longer because of other lifestyle aspects. If a runner has a job that requires long periods of sitting, circulation in the lower legs can become weaker. If a runner has immunity issues, things like delayed fatigue onset can happen. In this case, it might be difficult to predict how long recovery will take from workout to workout.
To make sure proper recovery always happens, a runner should consider wearing compression socks as a way of life. This makes knowing how long to wear compression socks after running simple. It might be just as beneficial to consider the times when not to wear them. This includes showering, swimming, tanning, and when they would not go well with a formal outfit.
If you are serious about constantly improving your running performance, focus on minimizing your recovery time. Compression socks are vital, and they are a great investment for maintaining your leg health.