Protein before bed and compression socks
by on Thursday, July 2, 2015  (5 comments)

I'm leaning heavily on one of my favorite blogs this week. Alex Hutchinson's Sweat Science blog is always a good one. This week, two of my favorite reads came from there.

Protein before bed

We've known for some time that it's best to spread your protein intake out across the day. Your body can only process around 20-25 grams at one time. If you take more, it doesn't really do anything for you.

So, would getting an extra dose of protein right before bed be beneficial or do things change as we go to sleep?

We now have the answer.

More generally, think in terms of getting four to six distinct doses of protein throughout the day and evening.



To me, that's the key. Is the timing of that before bed dose of protein significant? Probably not. The key is that it was an extra dose of protein spaced out from the others throughout the day. Whether it comes at bedtime, when you first wake up or some other time during the day probably doesn't matter. What matters is that it does come.

Compression socks

Do you believe compression socks will help you recover? If so, good news. If not, bad news.

That's what a recent study tells us.

So for the believers, there was a tiny (and non-significant) speed-up in the second trial, while the skeptics had a significant (and unsurprising) slow-down. The error bars here are +/- ~20 seconds, but the difference is still striking.



This was a test of two 5K time trials with an hour between the two. The question was whether wearing the compression socks between the trials would affect the second. As it turns out, those who believed the compression socks would help them ran about 3 seconds faster on the second time trial. Those who didn't believe ran about 17-18 seconds slower on the second time trial.

While this result is within the margin of error so we can't say this result is conclusive, that's a pretty amazing spread.

That's the likely power of the placebo. Our minds are amazing things.

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5 comments
cesar

I have never worn compression socks, but I think that it would help my shins problems, although I would look ridiculous with those, LOL.

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Ryan

I hope we all know the risks of anecdotal evidence. However, I have heard anecdotal evidence of very good results using compression socks to deal with shin splints.

As for how you would look, I guess if they work, who cares? Of course, that's just my personal opinion.

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Diane

I see both men and women wearing compression socks at races all the time. No one cares! If you feel good wearing them, just do it. In the end you will be an encouragement to others contemplating the same thing. :)

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Paul (Guest)

If you are using your compression socks according to your leg's size then I think they will surely work.

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Ryan

Paul, I'm becoming less certain of that. I also was listening to an episode of the Run Faster Podcast just yesterday where the guest discussed compression socks. He was a big fan of walking in water instead. I'm recalling these numbers off the top of my head but, as I recall, he stated that athletic compression socks apply around 20-25 millibars of pressure. Medical compression socks applied something like 50-55 millibars of pressure. 3.5 feet of water applies something like 75 millibars of pressure. I might be a little off on these numbers but the basic point was that athletic compression socks don't really apply all that much compression. So his argument was that the water applies more compression and you get the therapeutic effects of moving through water with less weight.

Of course, if you don't have a pool available and medical compression socks aren't an option, maybe athletic compression socks are a better alternative than nothing.

In the end, if it works for you, I'm all for doing it. I'm just seeing some results that make me second guess what we considered to be a certain thing just a few years ago.

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