Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I am about to post something that a number of triathletes might find quite blasphemous.  Compression (tights, socks, funny looking full body suits) has become quite the hot thing in triathlon.  The rationale is that it helps to promote muscle recovery by stimulating circulation.  I started trying compression products in January and I have no doubt that they work – I definitely think my legs are less sore the day after hard efforts.

What I will say that is controversial is that I don’t think you necessarily need fancy, triathlon-specific compression products to achieve the same effect.

I tried a relatively expensive pair of compression tights.  Now, yes, I am a moderately petite person but their XS size was still too large.  There was no compression of anything above my calves.  The tights were too long.  AND the seam that ran the length of the tights rubbed me behind the knees leaving welts.  So.  That didn’t work out so well.

I tried a pair of compression socks from a different company that I also bought at  While I felt these were effective from a compression perspective, the price tag was not negligible.  They were also very thick socks, which was not especially comfortable in warm weather.

Finally, I began and ended my “test period” with plain old cheap compression socks from the drugstore.  I tried several brands and had similar positive results.  At $5 a pop, I don’t feel bad wearing these into oblivion and then buying a new pair. 

So there you have it.  $$$$ bike? Check.  $$ running shoes? Check.  Cheap-ass compression socks? Check.  Apparently, that’s how I roll.

On a different note, I had my annual performance review today.  All went well, no worries there.  I am spoiled with my work flexibility and having such a wonderful boss.  I just had to laugh at one line in her summary on the last page, where she made a reference to triathlon and agility: “I must point out that Molly accomplished all these goals, delivered top notch results while balancing her work with family/personal interests and hobbies…”[and then goes on to discuss my uber-efficient use of time]  I never think of myself as especially efficient with my time – I just do my usual multi-tasking thing – but I hope that this is what will get me through the intense year of training ahead!


Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

GREAT job with the performance review! Awesome!! Oh - and for the compression tights? I've heard that medical-grade stuff works just as good (and is cheaper) than some of the "name brand" stuff out there. I totally agree with what you said!

cat. said...

ditto. the 2xu compression tights i got for christmas are in a drawer. they just didn't feel, as rob would say, "compressiony".

yet my $30 white, full leg medical supply stockings have been worn more days in the past two weeks than i care to admit.

Missy said...

OH good,I have some high dollar compression shiz but I'm glad to know the medical stuff is just as good. Eat it tricompanies! Especially if you plan to wear compression sox for a full or half IM, you'll want to throw them away when you're done. Very 'soiled' and nasty.

Sherry said...

Yay! Nice work on the performance eval! :o)

Compression... love it! However, I think you are totally right about the medical grade vs. triathlon branded. I'm actually starting to feel that way about most triathlon branded stuff... from transition bags to race wear. There are MUCH better deals out there to be found that don't necessarily have "endurance specific" attached to them.

Kelly said...

Thanks for the gear review. I've been thinking about trying some compression socks, but haven't taken the plunge because of the price tag. I'm off to Target tomorrow to buy a pair of cheapies!!

TRI-ROB said...

HEY! Congrats on the good review!

I'm with ya on the compression socks! I visit the old man store frequently and haven't been disappointed yet!


Rainmaker said...

I roll the same way - as those are the exact same ones I got from the Drugstore...and used twice now (on flights). It's the thought that counts, and at $5 I don't feel bad for the neglect.