If you’re new to triathlon, or anything other than casual athletic activity as I was, then you may not understand the importance of recovery when it comes to workouts, and so something like the Zoot compression socks might strike you as a bit odd. Wait, I wear these when I’m not working out? You might be even more surprised to learn that they work by stimulating blood flow. Wait, how do tight socks stimulate blood flow, wouldn’t they cut it off? Hey, don’t ask me, I don’t know how they work, I just know they work. Heck, they’re “scientifically” proven to work. That is, the compression material stimulates blood flow, shortening the time needed to recover from your last workout. Wait, what’s recovery anyway? Oh yeah, I got side tracked and forgot to talk about that.
When you work out, you strain your muscles. Some people might use the word “tear” but I don’t like to use such words when talking about my muscles. Whatever the term is that you want to use, it equates to damage, in a sense. You workout and you “damage” your muscles, but as they recover they get stronger. Do this over and over again and you end up with larger and/or stronger muscles.
Most of us focus on the exercise or activity part of building muscle, but we often don’t focus on the recovery aspect, which is just as important. Those of us who are trying to get out of the rut of being lazy, out of shape, and eating ice cream every day don’t feel comfortable with the idea of “rest” once we start an exercise program, and so we often ignore recovery, end up burned out or injured, and quit. Recovery is critical to long-term success, especially for triathletes who compete in endurance events, and the Zoot compression socks aid with recovery. That is, if you wear them, your muscles recover faster, which means you end up in better shape in the same given amount of time as you otherwise would if you weren’t using the socks.
My coach told me to wear them as my normal socks all the time, so I do. I wear the socks all day long, every day, and at night while sleeping I wear compression tights (without socks). Have the socks made a noticeable difference? It’s hard to say. I’m still so new to triathlon and there are so many variables I’m dealing with that it’s hard for me to tell if they’re making a difference or not. My running is improving dramatically these days, far beyond anything in the last two years, but a lot of that has to do with techniques I’ve been learning, like running on my toes. Part of me wants to say my legs do feel better than they used to, but I can’t make that claim definitively. But my coach swears by them, so I’m trusting his judgment on the matter, and hey, it can’t hurt, right? Except that they are a bit spendy at $60 a pair. Oh, and man, they are really hard to get on. I wonder if there’s some trick to it.