There was quite an uproar online after I elected to postpone part 5 of my ‘Standards for Runners’ series for a couple of days — but never fear faithful fitness fans, I am back on the case today discussing ‘compression’ and ‘hotspots’.
Standard #9: Compression
Compression boosts blood circulation. The medical community knows this well and uses it for both healing and prevention. But how helpful is it for runners? I have seen some debate regarding this online but a quick look on pubmed supports Kelly Starret’s recommendation.
This research from 2017 reports that “wearing compression socks between repeated running bouts can aid recovery and subsequent performance…reducing muscle pain, damage, and inflammation.”
I find that compression socks do relieve tired ankles and calves but this improved recovery comes at a cost — a fashion cost —they look ridiculous (see photo). Especially as part of a beach shorts/singlet/sandals ensemble. For around the house though they great and highly recommended. In winter (which never really arrives in HK) you’d be good to go all day under trousers.
Standard 10: No hotspots
This standard develops a zero-tolerance attitude towards running with pain. Pain is a reflection of non-functional movement which tends to worsen over time. Problems need to be addressed as soon as they arise and the purpose of this standard is to get runners tuning in to the signals of the body and responding appropriately.
Starrett recommends a range of methods for dealing with hotspots but his preference is ‘voodoo floss’ band compression.
‘Voodoo floss’ is a thin band of latex runner — called voodoo for its miraculous (anecdotal) healing capabilities.
I have some. I can’t say whether I used it correctly though and it is a strange sensation to get used to. If I had a serious issue I would investigate this much more as Starrett is a big advocate and devotes detailed instructions on different ‘voodoo floss’ application in the book.
‘Voodoo floss’ can benefit runners by:
- Restoring sliding surfaces between joints
- Restoring range of motion
- Increasing blood flow after release
- Reducing inflammation and swelling
Take it easy with this one. Know where the end of the tape or have scissors handy in case you can’t find it. Good luck!