Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Run Like Gogo Yubari

Newbie runners say the darndest things—well, okay fine, let's not involve everyone, it's probably just me. Last Saturday, while warming up for the Bronx Half, I eyed a bunch or runners in knee-high socks quizically.

Me: Why do they run in knee-high socks? Is that, like, a look?
Mike: They're compression socks, Cel.
Me: Oh ...
Mike: You thought they were doing that for style?
Me: Um, yeah ... ?

You'll have to excuse me. My background is in fashion and I would be the type of person who'd wear knee high socks as a style decision, so I thought this was either a throwback to the 70s or a nod to Gogo Yubari. If you don't know who I am talking about, she's my favorite Kill Bill character, who I intend to dress up as for Halloween (see image on the right).

Because I actually think running in knee-highs looks cute and would willingly do so for no reason other than that, I thought I might as well look into the actual benefits of wearing knee-high compression socks. It seems there are quite a few! According to this article, compression socks "encourage increased blood flow, allowing legs to recover quicker by removing excess post-run lactic acid. By encasing and supporting the muscles, the socks reduce risk of injury. They are intended to be worn post-run as well, to continue aiding in muscle recovery." The author claims they made her long run feel much better and kept her legs ache free until after the run. A seductive thought after spending the hours succeeding the Bronx half limping and whimpering.

A lot of elite runners swear by compression socks, including my personal hero, Paula Radcliffe. Here she is at the 2007 New York marathon wearing flesh toned compression socks, trailed by another runner also wearing a pair.
The jury's still out on whether there's any real benefit to wearing them during a run, though it seems unanimous that wearing compression socks (or tights) after a run aids recovery significantly. I'll probably get a couple of pairs for the coming long runs and slowly sinking temperatures. If they don't work, at least I'll have one part of my Halloween costume all ready!


  1. zoot's Rock Cel.....I got the shorts and the full leg...add 3 or 4 miles to my distance and knocks days off recovery!!

  2. Nice! I will definitely look into that! Adding mileage and knocking days off recovery -- the thought makes me drool!

  3. I don't like the look but I can understand how some people do. I would feel strange going out running in knee highs. I had a pair when I was younger and they were really cute. However, as I grew older there was less of a trend towards wearing them.


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