Kelly the Culinarian: Why I Wear Compression for Travel

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why I Wear Compression for Travel

I'm not a doctor. I don't even play one on TV. These are my opinions based solely on my experiences and opinions, of course.

Last week I wrote a post about what I was packing in preparation for my marathon in Vermont with #CabotFit. I received a ton of feedback about what I was missing and should include, as well as several questions about my compression gear.

Compression gear is a bit of a flashpoint in the running community. Some people swear by it; others proclaim it's voodoo magic. Whether it aids athletic performance, I have no idea. I don't actually wear compression sleeves, socks, shorts, tights or tops for races. I do use compression gear after particularly trying runs and races, as well as for traveling.

Here's my reasoning: after long runs, everything feels a little out of whack. I don't know if it's just me, but my hips and legs particularly feel like they're slack. Sleeping/working in compression sucks everything in and gives my a bit of support as my muscles struggle to repair.
Fresh to death baby

As far as traveling, endurance athletes are predisposed to blood clots because of the dehydration caused by the event, coupled with sitting for a long time on a pressurized plane. Because I'm sore to being with, I feel like compression gear allows me to double dip: it aids my recovery and potentially staves off blood clots on a plane or long car ride.
Compression: The Mom Jeans
of running gear

That said, I make it a point to get up and moving while traveling after a race. I'm typically hydrating like it's my job after races and taking full advantage of my preferred aisle seat while traveling. Even so, on long flights or trips, I set a timer and make it a priority to get up every 30 minutes to stretch and walk. On a plane, I'll do heel raises and do circles with my feet to stretch out my ankles. On long car rides, I'll stop to go to the bathroom, fill up the car or get a drink regularly.

Also, I have no shame in admitting my post-race apparel is determined by what accommodates my compression gear. I usually wear compression shorts and socks because they're easier to get into than compression tights (and I'm cheap and compression tights are like $60). During the winter, it's easy to hide this gear with a dress, leggings and boots. Summertime, I just don't car, I'll be the fashion faux paux sport compression socks and Toms. There's no room for shame in a marathon PR.


Kiersten said...

I am working on running a marathon on all 7 continents, so I have done a lot of long flights both before and after races and I absolutely swear by compression gear. If I don't wear compression socks my feet and lower legs swell up like balloons to the point where I can't get my shoes on. I also rock my compression socks if I am staying at my destination for a few days after the race and want to be able to sightsee.

Unknown said...

I had some serious swelling after my marathon. Like massive scary feet two days post race. It probably didn't help that I sit at a desk most of the day. I always wear it after races now.

I can't usually sleep in it though because I wake up and my legs itch and feel really hot. it's weird.