Last night, I saw a news on TV. A guy is running from Baltimore to San Francisco. He promotes healthy living style to each hosting family along his way. He said that at night he wears some kind of pants for quicker recovery. I didn't quite catch what he said actually, so wonder what kinds of pants for example can help in recovery? Thanks!
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There are a couple of different types of pants that aid recovery, but neither of them are really "pants" in the traditional sense. Most of them are compression tights, or you can also get compression socks or compression sleeves that cover from just below the knee to the top of the foot.
There are several brands of compression hose available on the market, a couple of brands are 2XU, Zoot and Beaker Concepts. You can also get the medical version CEP or TED hose, and it's basically the same effect. You can get these anywhere from $20 - $200 depending on brand and size.
There are also large inflatable boots/pants made by a couple of manufacturers (NormaTec and Recovery Pump) that encapsulate the entire leg or just a boot, and they work by inflating and deflating chambers in the pants to massage, improve circulation and reduce swelling and fatigue. There are quite a few elite endurance athletes that use these, Chrissie Wellington (3x IM world champ), Meb Keflizighi (Oly silver in the marathon), and others of that level that can justify the cost. They run $1000-2000 for a set.
The compression in them runs from 10-30mm Hg (For comparison, a blood pressure cuff will generally be pumped up to 140-180 mm Hg at its highest), depending on the style, manufacturer and where on the leg it is.
My n=1 is that I am wearing Zoot compression sleeves on my right calf to control swelling while I am rehabbing a ruptured Achilles, and they work amazing for that. Since this is my first experience with them, I can't speak to how well they recover for long endurance events, although some of my sponsored triathlon friends swear by them.
This was covered in a recent article in the British Medical Journal, Mythbusting sports and exercise products. Their summary was:
That article is a very useful summary of the evidence on other myths as well.
For anything to be useful in recovery, and not snake-oil or a placebo, it would depend on whether you have a circulatory condition. If you're completely healthy, wearing special pants will just cost you extra money. If you're not healthy, then the types of leggings you might wear to sleep would benefit you regardless of whether you run.