Friday, May 27, 2011

Speed and Vitalsox Review

First, don’t forget to enter my sweet Saucony $100 giveaway hosted by Online Shoes. Too good to miss. Ends on Wednesday.

Yesterday I did something I have not done since October. Speed. More specifically, tempo. This was my first attempt at speed since getting injured with a hip stress fracture. My doctor advised against speed while training for Boston. One of the major culprits contributing to injuries is speed work, or doing too much of it before you are ready.  Now that I am “healed” I’ve been playing around with my training, trying to decide how much running to incorporate with triathlon training.

Coming off of the injury, I really want to learn how to be a more well rounded athlete. Multi sport training teaches you that. You don’t favor any particular sport in your training unless you suck at something more than something else and then you need to spend more time on it. I am running much less than usual, but my endurance and aerobic abilities have remained strong with all the other stuff thrown in.

Is it okay to admit I was terrified of the tempo? Could I do it after having been absent for so long? The plan was simple. Warm up one mile, do four miles at 8:30 or so, and cool down one mile. 8:30 is slower than my previous tempo pace, but I wanted to cut myself some slack.

I was sent these handy and styling compression socks from Vitalsox, and decided to give them a whirl on the run. Here I am getting ready to audition for a play.


The result:

Mile 1 (warm up): 9:00
Mile 2: 8:31 (kind of tired, can I do this?)
Mile 3: 8:15  (almost half way done, speeding up)
Mile 4: 8:06 (feeling great, these socks work)
Mile 5: 7:51 (blazin’!)
Mile 6 (cool down mile): 9:00

I think I just got my confidence back!

About the Vitalsox:


Another admission. I really never understood these socks. I see people wear them all the time, but I thought they just wanted to look cool or they had calf problems. I’m glad I got to try these because now I get the benefits.

  • Stimulates blood circulation
  • Improves oxygen delivery to muscles
  • Lactic acid production is reduced
  • Cramp relief
  • Wicking to keep you dry and cool

My socks are size small and go for $35.00.


I loved how they felt during the run. Maybe it was a placebo effect, but they made me feel faster, sleeker, stronger. I don’t tend to have any leg aches/pains when I run, so I can’t speak to whether they helped in those areas. I do know that I set out on this run tired as crap, but felt really energetic by mile two. Could the socks be part of that? Perhaps. I’d like to keep using them on and off throughout training and keep track of how I feel during runs to see if there is a connection between the socks and my performance.

I have to admit that even though these are light and wicking, I don’t see myself wearing them in the dead heat of summer. They will be perfect for those cool early morning runs and races, especially for the ones I do at elevation where it’s still freezing in the summer.

From the research I have read on compression socks, the jury seems to be out on whether they actually boost performance while running. Most testers agree, however, that they help tremendously with recovery if you wear them post-run.

Do you wear compression socks during or after runs/races? If so, what benefits have you noticed?

Does speed work intimidate or invigorate you?

Off to the pool. Hope no one shits in my shoes,


Fine print: Vitalsox provided the socks for this review. SUAR paid nothing for them. I like to talk about myself in the third person.


  1. I wore compression socks on ALL my long runs ... so I can't say they "worked". I won the socks, and then decided to train for a 1/2 marathon during the winter. They definitely kept my legs warm, and I didn't have any soreness issues transitioning from 3-4 mi runs to 10-12 mi runs.

  2. YEAH! Way to tackle that tempo and you NAILED it!

    I often wear compression socks after a long run, hard workout or a race. They definitely seem to make my legs recover faster and feel more "normal" the next day.

    Glad you've discovered the benefits of compression! Looking cool is just a side benefit.

  3. Wahoooo! You are so awesome! I used some compression socks back when I first started BF running..(without the sock part lol) Can't say I loved them.. I'm undecided.

  4. Don't wear the socks to the pool.

    I haven't tried them. It is just to hot here to even imagine.

    Great job on the fast runnin'!

  5. I wear them when I run ... because of my achilles issues now.

    Typically I just wore them for recovery... hoenstly did not see much benefit (before my injury) to wear them during workouts.

    Recovery wise, legs felt 90% the next morning every time.

  6. Looking stylin' in those socks. I've only worn the compression socks for a run once, and although they felt good they were too hot for me. Love them for recovery after an ice bath however.

    You kinda crushed that tempo run. The most impressive part for me is that you ran the same pace for the warmup and cool-down. I have a terribly time slowing my pace back down for the last mile. When I slow down to where I should be I feel like my form is a disaster. I imagine it looks like a baby horse/deer taking its first steps. So not pretty.

  7. Since my accident, I wear them all the time!!!!

  8. I tried to wear mine during a race several times. Each time I hated it. My legs felt cramped and it was TOO HOT! Yes, the muscles weren't tired so I could use them more (or something) but in general I felt "off" almost like a blood clot was gonna be sent to me heart! Now, I wear them after a work out and they are MAGIC. I can walk, I can get up and down steps, it's amazing. So for me it's recovery all the way.

  9. I have compression tights that i absolutely love. I am *positive* i can run faster and further with them on (placebo effect? probably) So maybe if i get some compression socks i'll run even better! After that, i might look into compression sleeves, underwear, and a compression ski mask...

    In all seriousness, i like compression. It holds in the jiggling.

  10. I've never worn compression socks, but speed work definitely scares the garbage out of me. However, I take it one interval, one mile, or one lap at a time and feel better after tackling these workouts than I do after any other. Who's an endorphin junky? THIS girl!

  11. I love to wear them after long runs they feel so good on my legs. I've also been known to sleep in them before and after long runs. I did wear them for a marathon and they didn't bother me, but don't know that they helped much.

    I love speed workouts... actually I hate them but love the way I feel after them. Great job on yours!!

  12. I want to try compression socks after the summer. Where I live, it's AFRICA HOT. So there is a small window of opportunity to wear them in the winter months. I'd like to give them a try in a few months because I've heard such good things about them.

    I like speedwork because I REALLY notice how it helps you improve your pace. But, I feel like I'm so injury prone (hip flexor issues), that it does intimidate me.

  13. I just love compression - plain and simple. Plus they helped with my shin splints when I started doing *ahem* speed work last year.

  14. Nicely done tempo girl! I dare say you are back!
    I wear them after only because I'm such a blister hound and hate to think what ground beef my feet would be if I didn't wear my favorite socks.
    Compression was the bomb on the plane after Boston last year cuz I had to fly out that same afternoon.
    Have a great weekend!

  15. Great tempo! Talk to me about your adorable top...

    I wear CEPs and Zoot compression socks during half marathons. I'm never really sore after, so there's an endorsement from me, I guess! Problem is they're so expensive. I may check into these when I need a new pair. Thanks for the review.

  16. I'd like to try compression sleeves/socks as I have no end of calf/achilles problems, but it's just too damn hot here in FL!

    My speedwork sucks, as in everybody else's "easy" run pace is my speedwork. Your tempo pace sounds awesome.

  17. I've only worn compression socks after a run. And, I'll admit, they felt cool.

    I keep meaning to wear them ON a run, but I'm pretty lazy.

  18. I've never tried compression socks (except during surgery!), but I might just have to try them out. Everyone boasts about them so much. Thanks for the review

  19. I love them during and after a run--looking good! I have a white pair of VitalSox from The Recovery Sock line!

    GREAT tempo Beth! I have a feeling this HM training is what your body likes!

  20. I have not tried compression socks. I want too but definitely think they would look redonkulous with my running tights and because I still have thunder thighs and sport some major skin hang (thank you -70lbs of weight loss) I cannot bring myself to wear shorts for running. Hubby wears compression socks and swears by them but of course he doesn't have chub rub like me. ;)

  21. I live in my compression after runs. My legs feel much fresher after a hard workout if I wear them over night but I won't be wearing them while running during the heat. I did wear my compression shorts at my last races and I believe they helped. If it's all in my head thats okay with me!

    Okay today I was vote # 1801. Maybe send your extra voters down the list to me (I'm at #27 now) since you have a giant vote cushion! ;-)

  22. I wore CEP compression socks on all my long runs (on Sat), plus the whole day after and didn't stop wearing them until I had to go to church on Sunday afternoon. I would have worn them to church too had it been socially acceptable. I also race in them, but due to reading some recent articles, I have tried to scale back on wearing them while running just to see MORE benefit from them when actually racing. (I have 2 pairs to alternate them, but have been know to wear them still funky)

    I just tried out wearing my calf sleeves in the pool today. Totally sucked. I won't wear them for a tri now unless I can wear a wetsuit. They created drag, and I am already such a sucky slow swimmer that I can't have anything slow me down in that area.

  23. Compression and I are like PB&J.....ooohhhh PB&J it's snack time....oh where was I.

    Oh yeah, compression and I are friends. The day after a bike/run training I wear my 3/4 compression pants and either calf sleeves or the full sock.

    I think it works wonders but I don't wear them during training/racing only during recovery.

    And the hell yes on the speed work. Love it, but I hate it. I am a fan/hater of the mile repeats but when you nail each of those miles under 7 minutes there is no better feeling in the world.

    Rock the pool sister.

  24. Whoop! Your speed was quick to return - negative splits and ending Strong :) Go, you!

    I have to admit, aside from the "leg warmer" effect on these cool CO summer mornings (brilliant idea, btw), I still don't see how effective those socks could really be. Call me skeptical, but they seem to boast quite a few benefits and I'm just never convinced. ;)

  25. Nice job SUAR. I do a tempo run every week. I used to be kinda intimidated and I recently realized that I pretty much have been successful on every single tempo run so I just stopped worrying about them.

    You know what's weird, what I find the least enjoyable is the "cool down" at the end. It almost feels harder than the tempo interval.

    Again, great job. That is so amazing you can run at those paces considering where you where last Fall.

  26. Look at you in your sweet, sexy sox ;-)

    I think that was a pretty awesome tempo run... I'd love to be able to throw down numbers like that. Maybe if I had some magic sox....

  27. Welcome back, Speed!!! I can't even tell you how much I feel inspiration from your injury comeback - totally gives me hope!!

  28. I love speed work. It's the session that leaves me with the biggest endorphin high. There's nothing like really pushing yourself to the edge and hoping that you don't fall off.

  29. I've heard good things, but I think your review just convinced me that I need to give them a try.

  30. Futuro granny compression socks are only $9, and then everyone is all impressed like, "What? She's 89 years old and still running!"

  31. I got my first pair of compression (toe) socks this month and wore them after a short notice half marathon - LOVE THEM! I have tried wearing them during a run, but might not be a bad idea!

  32. Yay for doing a tempo run again!!
    I have some compression socks and compression tights and LOVE them! I honestly believe they work!

  33. My sis-in-law loves her compression socks. I'm anxious to try them.

  34. I have those same ones! I really love the pink.
    I wear them after long runs to help with recovery. My ankles swell after anything over 15 miles. Together with stretching, ice, ibuprofen and a couple rest days, these socks have me back on the road after my 20 miler on Sunday.

  35. I use these adjustable Compression sleeves. They are a bit thick for summer though.I need some of these socks..STAT!

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