Recovering after a run is important. You need to rest and eat well to ensure your muscles get the chance to repair any damage and your energy stores have the opportunity to replenish.
One aid used by many runners is compression socks.
But are the benefits real or imagined? Scientists from the Australian Institute of Sport did a compression sock study to find out.
The study, titled Physiological, Perceptual And Performance-based Effects Of Compression Socks – Are They Just A Placebo?, studied twelve well-trained male runners who recorded their perceived benefit of wearing compression socks for recovery prior to completion of two experimental 5 km time trials on a treadmill, with a one hour period between each run.
There was no significant decrement in running performance between the two time trials and no significant differences were apparent between conditions for oxygen consumption, heart rate or perceived exertion at submaximal running speeds.
However, the most interesting finding was that athletes who expected the compression socks to offer a benefit recorded a slight benefit.
So, while there might not be a measurable physiological benefit to wearing compression socks, there may be a psychological benefit that is rejected in improved athletic performance.