I finished my first race of 2015, traveling out of state for it. I realized I forgot my compression socks at home and for the first race in years, ran without them. I’m quite sore and discovered this new study today that makes me even more upset I left my socks at home.
In this month’s peer-reviewed publication, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers found wearing compression socks for 48 hours after running a marathon improved performance on a treadmill test two weeks later.
Research participants ran on a treadmill until they reached exhaustion two weeks before running a marathon and again two weeks after the race. A total of 33 runners finished the study. (The study started with 49, but those 16 dropped out it is assumed because they didn’t want to run that hard before a race when they were in tapering mode.)
Two groups were used: 1. The test group wore a well-known company’s compression sock. 2. The control group wore compression socks that were tight enough to not fall down.
Comparing everyone’s pre- and post-marathon test, the runners who wore compression socks for 48 hours after the race improved by 52.4 seconds +/- 103.3 seconds (that shows a 2.6 percent improvement). The control group’s time decreased by 61.7 seconds +/- 129.6 seconds (a 3.4 percent decline).
According to the study, “Researchers concluded that this indicated that members of the compression sock group had fully recovered from their marathons while members of the control group had not.”
One potential downfall of the study is that the control group may have known they were in the control group based on the feel of the compression socks. This may have affected how hard they ran during the treadmill study.