Running miles and miles can be tough on your body. Chances are you will feel sore the next day.
That’s why it’s good to invest in running gear that will make this experience all the more easier.
Compression leggings are types of running leggings that have become popular over the years.
Along with a good pair of running shoes, comfortable and supportive running tights are at the top of the list when it comes to essential running gear.
After all, there’s nothing worse than a pair of running leggings that either too loose and start bunching up at your ankles, or too tight and start pinching your waist.
So what are compression leggings and how can they benefit your running?
In this guide we’ll explore:
- What are compression leggings?
- What do compression leggings do?
- What are the best compression leggings?
- 5 compression leggings benefits + reasons to wear them
- Putting compression tights to the test: My experience
What are compression leggings?
Compression leggings are types of running leggings that support and stabilise your muscles while you run by absorbing some of the strain.
There are many types of compression garments on the market, including socks, shorts, arm sleeves and tops.
Many compression garments are medically-prescribed to help ease a number of conditions relating to poor blood flow.
Why do compression leggings do?
Compression leggings essentially squeeze your legs in all the right places whilst you run.
The definition of compress is literally to squeeze and apply pressure, so that can only mean the tights are going to be tighter than normal. Think skin tight!
Compression technology is designed to improve your circulation and reduce muscle vibrations. This is important because running is considered a high impact sport.
Over time your muscles can become weary and fatigued, especially if you don’t follow a proper recovery and injury prevention strategy.
So by wearing compression tights, you can help the recovery process.
What are the best compression leggings?
As with any piece of equipment or gear, it’s always wise to do your research before investing in a pair of compression leggings.
Some compression leggings can be particularly pricey because they are using compression technology, so shop around before buying.
Here are the best compression leggings:
Under Armour have a wide range of compression tights and running leggings to choose from.
Their HeatGear range of leggings is particularly popular with runners as it uses a lightweight fabric that doesn’t weigh you down when you run.
The high rise, no slip support is also great for those long runs when you need your leggings to stay put.
Nike are known for their compression tights, and offer a wide range of leggings with compression technology.
The Nike Pro Tight range offer many benefits, including sweat-wicking fabric and soft and stretchy material that moves with you and not against you.
Even better, Nike’s Pro Tight range is made from at least 50% recycled polyester fabrics.
Adidas’s compression tights are some of the most comfortable on the market.
Their Believe This compression tights use ‘aeroready’ technology to absorb moisture and make you feel dry.
They also have built-in ventilation to keep you cool on your runs.
5 compression leggings benefits + reasons to wear them
Here are the 5 benefits of wearing compression leggings:
#1 Help reduce muscle soreness
One of the key benefits of compression leggings is that they help to reduce muscle soreness after a run.
After a run, you may experience inflammation and a build up of lactic acid in your muscles.
Compression leggings can help reduce inflammation and assist the lymphatic system to drain lactic acid build up, meaning your muscles may feel less sore the next day.
#2 Improve blood flow
Compression leggings can help to improve blood flow by increasing the amount of blood that is sent back to the heart from the legs during a run.
Better blood flow means less of the heavy legs feeling when running, as well as less cramping and fatigue towards the end of your run.
#3 Help with balance
There are some studies that show that compression leggings can help to increase your awareness on a run.
This is because compression helps to stimulate the sensory receptors in your legs, helping you keep upright.
#4 Improve athletic performance
According to a 2016 study, runners wearing compression leggings might have a slightly better endurance performance and less muscle pain/inflammation than runners in regular tights.
Other research has shown that compression can improve runners’ experience when performing high-intensity workouts.
#5 Help with certain circulation conditions
Compression garments like compression leggings are often medically prescribed for people who suffer from swollen ankles, nerve pain or blood circulation issues.
So if you suffer with any of the above ailments, compression leggings could help somewhat.
If in doubt, speak to your healthcare professional.
Putting compression leggings to the test: My experience
Having bought my first pair of compression leggings, to give them a proper test, I headed out for a 7 mile run on a Saturday morning.
For the first three miles I went at a 9 minute per mile pace (mainly due to the muddy trails along the river).
For the last four miles, I ran between 7.30-8.30 minutes per mile as I ran on straight pavements and roads.
My legs throughout the run felt subtly different.
The biggest difference I noticed was that my muscles felt a lot more steady and ‘sucked in’ and so were not vibrating as much as I ran.
The best way I can describe it is a feeling of lightness in your legs as you run. I remember getting to mile 6 and thinking how light my legs felt.
The day after my run I didn’t see much of a difference in the soreness in my muscles.
I don’t tend to get much soreness after a run in the days afterwards, unless I really hit it hard, but I can see how these tights would help with that.
I’m pleased I found these running tights. My first test of them was very positive, and I look forward to testing them out on longer distances.
All in all, I think compression tight technology has its merits, and anything that gives you that extra confidence boost on your runs is a win in my book.