Saturday, May 9, 2009

Not Just for Grandma Anymore!

The sports world has latched onto something seniors the world over have known for a long time—support hose or "Granny Stockings" are a good thing. Grandma used them to help with tired, aching and swollen legs—often the result of poor circulation. The blood flow from the lower legs often slows causing congestion as people age.

CEP Compression Sportsocks has taken the premise of the support stocking to a whole new level that will benefit athletes of all kinds, especially runners. The CEP Compression Sportsocks support the arteries and the supply of oxygen to the musculature. The special and patented compression of the CEP compression sportsocks increases the ambient pressure. As a result the musculature in the arterial wall relaxes and a relaxed musculature increases the arterial diameter and consequently the blood flow through the arteries.

So what does all of this mean? An increase in performance. CEP reports that when wearing the socks, it's possible to reduce the running time by about 5% (i.e., about 12 minutes from a 4hr marathon). They also report that the socks help to provide an easier run because exertion is reduced by about 6% for the same running time since the muscles have to work less. And best of all (in my opinion), they provide for a quicker recovery.

I tested the CEP Running 02 Sportsocks. The socks come in three sizes (III, IV, V) based on your calf circumference. I wore the size IV for calves that measure 15.5"- 17.5" (39-44cm). I'm not an elite runner, so I wasn't as interested in the cutting-time aspects of the socks as I was the speeding-up-recovery-time benefits of the socks. My testing of the socks consisted of wearing them for the recovery benefits after a 5-miler (sprinkled with some fartleks), a speed workout (repeats), and an 11-miler.
After the 5-miler, I wore the socks for about an hour. They're definitely compression socks and have a very tight fit, but they were not binding. Surprisingly they were very comfortable. After removing the socks, my legs did feel pretty good. Refreshed.

A few days later, I wore the socks after completing a speed workout. Even though my total distance was only about 3 miles, the workout was fairly intense. I'm usually wiped out after a speed workout. This workout was no different. So, afterward I slipped on my CEP socks. This time I wore them around the house for about 2 hours. Typically the following day after a speed workout, my legs feel tight, especially when first waking up the next morning. This time however, they felt pretty limber.

My final test before writing this review was to wear them after a longer run (an 11-miler). This run was rather hard because of the heat and humidity. It's only May, but today it got close to 90°F and the humidity was terrible. I'm a profuse sweater and I have to be careful to hydrate well on days like this. Even when I do, I still often end up a bit dehydrated. When this happens, the place I feel it the most is in my calves. They tend to stiffen up and sometimes cramp when I get dehydrated. Today was a hot one and as usual, my calves felt really tight after the run. Once I got home I slipped on the socks. Kept them on for about 4 hours. They really felt great. The stiffness began to subside. But the best surprise was when I took off the socks. My legs felt like normal, not like I had hours earlier run an 11-miler in 90° heat.

Conslusion? I love these socks!

I may just take the socks for a run soon. I have a marathon coming up in the fall and I'm trying to qualify for Boston. Shaving off some time would be awesome. Until then, I definitely plan on wearing my CEP Sportsocks as a part of my recovery regimen. I highly recommend you give CEP Sportsocks a try. Plus they have a 30-day money back guarantee!

The only recommendation I'd give CEP is to include some information regarding how long to wear the socks for recovery purposes. I suppose this would vary from person to person as well as on the distance run, but I felt like I was guessing as to how long I should wear them. Also, I just assumed I should put them on pretty soon after my runs, but I wasn't really sure. All worked out well, but some guidance on this on the packaging or on an insert inside the box would be helpful.

CEP socks are great for all types of sports—walking, cycling, running, trekking, skiing, soccer, basketball, and more. CEP Socks is offering the readers of RunnerDude's Blog a special 10% discount. The company has a great 30-day money back guarantee, which is great so you can test them out and see what you think with really nothing to lose. If you'd like to take advantage of the discount, just click on the special RunnerDude CEP Sock button on the right-hand side under the "Runners Market." While you're at the Runners Market area, also check out PaceTat, The Stick, and RoadID for some other really cool and useful running products.


JenZen said...

How interesting!! I'll have to check those out. I like to run in tights (full length or capris). I swear they help my running time and recovery too. Maybe there's something with the compression there. Great post!

RunnerDude said...

Hey JenZen! Yep, give em a try. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Let me know if you do and how they work for you.

X-Country2 said...

Great review. I wear Recovery Socks, and I love them as well. Mine say to put them on right after working out and wear them up to 24 hours. I generally leave mine on overnight.

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RunnerDude said...

Hey X-Country2! Thanks for the feedback. I'll have to try wearing mine longer.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Rose! I'm definitely interested! I contact you to disucss topic ideas. Thanks!!

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Is it recommended to actually run IN the socks? I like the way I feel after running in tights too, but I'm afraid that the compression aspect isn' It seems a bit weird to tighten the blood flow to your legs when you are trying to get oxygen down there?... I don't know how all of that works but I like your review and I think I'll pick up a pair to try for the recovery. I always feel like an old lady, anyway after a big run so I guess I might as well LOOK the part heeheehee!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Laura! Yep, you can run in the socks as well. Does seem like compressing the legs would cut off circulation, but the socks actually do the opposite. The design of CEP socks maximizes muscle oxygenation and boosts energy. So the socks actually help you run with less effort, increase your speed, decrease recovery time, reduce fatigue and optimize your performance. I've only used my fore the recovery benefits so far, but I plan to run in them this week. (If it stops raining!!)
PS: You a little old lady? No way!

Unknown said...

Love my Compression Socks. I'll always wear mine during trail races.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Nick! I've heard that from several people. I need to hit the trails and try them out! Thanks

Anonymous said...

I've been using calf sleeves after reading about a German study in which male runners had increased speed and endurance while wearing them (this is the article I found:

I wear mine under my tights, but only for a few hours after a run - not to bed because my doc said not to.