Grady Anderson is relatively new to the Missoula running scene, but is quickly making his mark. As a former standout runner at North Dakota State (don’t hold that against him), he can be easily spotted at the front of most races in town. Grady is a RErun Ambassador for 2017/18 and we asked him to review the 2XU Compression Socks for us….
For most running addicts there comes a time when life follows this simple pattern of Run. Eat Sleep. Repeat. This slogan is popular, and true in many instances. There’s been stages of my life where the only thing on my mind is the next run, or more frequently…the next sleep. But that makes sense. These basic building blocks of running are the simplest, and honestly the most enjoyable activities for many of us on any given day. But one thing I’d like to add to the slogan is the word…Recovery.
Recovery is a bit harder than simply going out for a run, stuffing our faces full of food, or hitting the snooze alarm 10-20 times in the morning. It takes discipline, and it takes time. To do preventative maintenance on yourself seems like a burden for most people. Foam rolling, ice bathing, and stretching can be strenuous and downright painful! (Whoever invented the art of bathing in ice is an absolute sadist) So we are in this pickle right? We love to run, we love to eat, we definitely love to sleep, yet to keep this lifestyle constantly churning we need to recover, and recover fast! So this month I’ve spent my days and nights testing out the 2XU compression sock, because if I can’t get in a session of stretching, foam rolling, or dip in the ice bath, I’d better do something to recover!
First off I want to give a little precursor, I’ve never really worn compression socks before. Sure, I’ve tried them on, and entertained the thought of buying a pair over the years, but always come to the conclusion of…eh, I can do without. And it’s true. I think most of us can do without them, but wow, what you can do with them is what blew me away.
My first impression of compression socks culminated in two words…too small. The 2XU seems to have a pretty backwards view of sizing. I wear a size 10 and have always thought of my calves as being a umm…healthy size. But somehow, when trying on the socks I was a size Small, which was surprising as I feel like I’m the most average built person in the world. Just a very Medium dude. But then again, maybe it’s like the Sisterhood of Traveling Pants with the pair I’m wearing. (In that case, the answer is no. You still can’t wear them just because they’re going to fit you). Anyhow, the socks miraculously fit after some struggling to get them on (which seems to be a good sign that they’re fitting correctly), and I felt the Power Surge Through My Veins…not quite. Actually, at first, they were a bit uncomfortable. I wasn’t used to something squeezing my calves so tight, and though the compression felt good, I was constantly worried about it being too aggressive and losing circulation. The first night I wore them, I actually had to take them off at some point because it felt like my calf was being squeezed into a raisin. But over time the socks wore in and I could sleep through the night or wear them running without pain.
The thing I like most about the 2XU compression socks is their streamlined fit. They aren’t bulky, or thick like some styles. They’re fairly easy to get on after some practice, and they even have a L and an R so you know which foot to put them on! (This still poses a potential issue for those who are learning the difference between left and right) They’ve got pretty cool color schemes, always vital, and I really enjoy running in them. I think for long runs and easy recovery days they’re perfect. I’m still used to the free-flowing calf muscles in workouts so I don’t think I’d use them on high intensity days.
I think with compression socks the biggest kicker is not what you notice, but what you don’t notice. I didn’t notice what the sock was necessarily doing for me, other than I felt like I had a lot of good training days in a row, without ever feeling really sluggish or drained. Obviously, it’s a mental trigger too. Simply the compression feels wonderful on the legs. You just feel extra stable or something. It’s kind of a nice boost that gives you a bit more “pop” on the days when you need it. For me, the coolest thing about compression socks is just the ability to change things up. Running is wonderful, but the monotony during certain seasons or stages of training can be hard to push through. Slapping on compression socks once in a while is one of those changes that helps a lot in the fight against injury and the fight for recovery. The absolute best part about compression socks is their versatility and time consumption. They take no time to put on, and you can literally wear them whenever you please. Now I can Run. Eat. Sleep. All while Recovering! Which is good, because I wouldn’t want anyone to have to change their t-shirt slogans.