Now far be it from me to admit I am starting to feel my age…not that it’s a sensitive subject but I must admit I do shudder every time I have to fill out a race entry and they ask the “age question”. They say 50 is the new 40…well I don’t know who “they” are…but there are some days ( usually after a marathon ) that I could swear that 50 is the new 80. Going up and down stairs, sore limbs, pain …there are days when everything hurts below the eyelids…
Over the past year I have had to endure painful cramps in my calfs. I have tried everything from adjusting my diet to include more potassium, to extra hydration… all with little improvement. A friend suggested I try Compression Socks…they said they had experienced good post-race recovery as a result of wearing them. Now, understand that being a bit sensitive about the whole “age thing”, and knowing that the last time I had heard anything about compression socks was the time my Grandmother asked me to pick up a pair for her at the drug store. This was only the first of many hurdles I had to overcome. In addition to being for the “elderly” compression socks where also very expensive…and as one gets older one tends to also watch the outflow of money… (one has to think of one’s retirement years ).
So, I decided to do some research, and learned that the science behind these socks when used for recovery is pretty sound when it comes to controlling swelling, improving blood flow, and preventing “pooling” ( although the jury is still out when it comes to claims of performance enhancement ). To make a long story short, I did it, I spent $70.00 on a pair of compression socks at a running store…they even said running on the package… ( probably to take away the stigma of what I thought these really were…clever marketing folks…bravo).
After being properly measured and fitted with these “performance enhancing knee socks” I took them home and tried them on…I felt silly…and the socks felt tight…something to do with the whole concept of “compression” I guess… but after a very short while something weird happened…they felt really comfortable…I could get use to wearing these …to the point where I didn’t want to take them off.
Well, 6 months have passed, and me and my “new fangled knee socks” are the best of friends. After using them consistently as part of a post race recovery regime I can honestly say that my calfs have never felt better…maybe it’s got something to do with the socks…maybe 50 is the new 40 after all…and maybe compression socks are the best thing since the advent of the shoelace.