Crazylegs And The Compression Sock Experiment

This weekend was the Crazylegs Classic, one of the biggest 8K races in the country and definitely one of the premier events in the Madison area.  My goal was to break 31 minutes, but my ultimate goal is to break 30 minutes.  I figured if I hold back at all, I can't break 30 minutes because there's no way I can make up 20 or 30 seconds on the back half of the run.  I'm not fast enough.

So, like last year, I started out at a 6 minute pace.  I realize now how unrealistic that was.  The last time I ran a 6 minute mile was last year at Crazylegs so to think I would string 5 of them together on a hilly course didn't make sense.  But I went for it anyway.  Here are my splits:

I had a good fade going on, but I held on and more or less hit my goal.  I'm happy with my performance and don't regret going or the 30 minute goal.  I finished one minute faster than last year so I'm still making progress.  

For those who run this race, look at the elevation per mile.  You'd expect mile 2 to have the most climbing, but it doesn't.  That's the mile with Observatory hill, but after that the rest of the mile is downhill.  There's a lot of downhill running on this course, and my quads were killing me Sunday morning.

Courtney also ran.  It was her first Crazylegs and her longest race to date.  She beat her goal of 50 minutes by running at 49:03 and she worked her way well into the top 9000.  Strong work, Courtney.

Check out the post-race runners gathering in the stadium....


The Compression Sock Experiment:

After Crazylegs I went for a fairly easy 3-hour ride.  My recovery routine on hard days is to take an ice bath and then wear my compression socks.  They're goofy, but they actually work.  But I decided to take the next step.  I always swore I would never run in my compression socks, but a friend reminded me that I'm such a tri geek that refusing to run in compression socks is a pretty arbitrary line to draw.

Sunday I woke up with very sore quads from the downhill running.  I had an easy long run scheduled.  I figured Crazylegs would take a lot out of me so I was going to do a 2 hour run at 9 minute miles.  Just get in some distance.  

The weather was horrible.  Cold and windy with a light, steady rain.  I figured this might be a good day to test the socks.  They'll help keep my legs warm.  I also decided, if I was going to test the socks, to test my legs a bit as well.  I was tired and sore, and thought this might be a good time to see if I can go at IM goal pace (8:00 minute miles) under less than ideal conditions.  

My splits:

No, there wasn't really that much climbing.  Garmin Forerunners are horrible at elevation.

I don't think the compression socks helped my performance.  Maybe, but if they did it was minimal.  I ran well because I dug deep and pushed hard, not because I wore goofy socks.  However....

....when I got home, my hip flexor muscle that always hurts after a long run didn't hurt.  And my legs didn't feel as bad as I expected.  I'm starting to think there may be a benefit to running in compression socks, even though I really, really don't want that to be the case.  I don't want to run in knee high socks.  But if I'm going to return from long runs feeling better and recover quicker, I'm willing to look goofy for that.  

I'm going to test them a little more to see if there's something to it or if it was just a strange day.

For those curious, I ran in SL3 socks, but just got a pair of CEP socks.  If you're looking to get a pair, get CEP.  They're really, really nice.  So comfy.   


mcu said...

Congrats on getting below 32 minutes!

Patti L. said...
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Mingus Jerry said...


Do the compression socks only help for recovery of your calves or is there some residual effect on the quads? My calves rarely hurt, but my quads and hamstrings do. Would I need the whole compression pants?


Mike said...

Ross - I find the compression socks help your whole legs. I'm in the same boat. My calves rarely hurt, but my quads and hamstrings do. I find the socks help because they help blood circulation throughout your whole leg.

Hope this helps.