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The Best Running Compression Shorts Reviewed

last updated Oct 08, 2018
This is our analysis of the best running compression shorts available on the market today for runners of all experience levels. Check out our selection as well as our list of recommended criteria to help you find the perfect pair to compliment your workout.

Compression shorts have been around for years, but they have recently gained steam among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Studies have shown that compression gear has a positive effect on blood flow, heart rate, oxygen distribution, and aerobic threshold. Since compression shorts are designed to reduce muscle vibration during physical activity, they can also contribute to faster recovery and reduce soreness after a hard workout.

A good pair of running compression shorts offers support, comfort, improves the mobility of oxygen to your muscles, keeps your legs warm, and protects your skin. Another bonus is that compression shorts are often designed to wick away sweat, so you can focus less on how uncomfortable you feel and more on the activity you love.

An ill-fitting pair can hang too loosely on your legs or cinch up around your waist, causing friction. If your compression shorts are too small, your movements will feel restricted within a few strides.
Researched Sources
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Researched Sources
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Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
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Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
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Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Max Knapp:

This update brings the Tommie Copper Recovery Expedite compression shorts. While they are a little on the pricier side, they are the perfect option for versatile athletes. They aid in muscle recovery and minimize overall soreness post workouts. Check them out to see if they are the perfect fit for you. 07/10/2018 A more in-depth breakdown of why we chose our selection of shorts for the best running compression shorts will help our readers make a more informed decision that fits who they are as runners, so we added expanded information on each product that explains why we think they belong on our list. 10/08/18 This update we've fitted our selection with a new and improved format. This new look is part of a site-wide makeover that will give more detailed insight into products that we hope will help you use our buying guides to their fullest.

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The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99
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99%
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99%
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$26.99
$29.99
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$38.49
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The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.3
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99%
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98%
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98%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.18)
$24.95
Best Deal
$27.99
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97.7
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98%
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Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.18)
$44.00
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$79.95
$79.95
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The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.3
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97%
Comfort
96%
Price
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.18)
$29.99
Best Deal
$32.94
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The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
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94%
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95%
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$17.00
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The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
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95%
Comfort
94%
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94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.18)
$49.50
Best Deal
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The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
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94%
Comfort
94%
Price
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.18)
$39.97
Best Deal
$79.99
Best Deal
$80.00
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The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Support
92%
Comfort
92%
Price
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.18)
$17.00
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The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Support
92%
Comfort
91%
Price
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.18)
$80.00
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The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
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89%
Comfort
91%
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Price Comparison Last Updated (13.11.18)
$11.87
$21.99
Best Deal
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Under Armour HeatGear Sonic
  • Nike Pro 3
  • 2XU Men's Compression Shorts
  • Nike Pro 5
  • Mava Men’s Compression Short
  • Tommie Copper Recovery Expedite
  • CW-X Men's Endurance Pro Shorts
  • Adidas Men's Training Techfit Base Short Tights
  • Skins A200
  • Champion Powerflex
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top Ten Compression Shorts

1. Under Armour HeatGear Sonic

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99
1. Under Armour HeatGear Sonic
Support
99
Comfort
99
Price
99
best offer for today
more shops
$26.99
$29.99
Best deal
$38.49
Best deal
Pros:
  • Strong composition, double reinforced seams
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Good price-to-value ratio
  • 4-way stretch fabrication keeps shape
  • Comes in multiple primary colors
Cons:
  • A bit constrictive for some

With the Sonics, Under Armour lives up to its bold and diehard image. These are compression shorts that will keep you warm, offer firm support, and have your back every step of the way.

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Support
Comfortable but not compromising, the compression on these shorts is steadfast. You’ll be more than satisfied with the level of support.

Comfort
These are compression shorts, but some find the waistband is a little snugger than is comfortable. Other than that the reinforced seams sit flat and comfortably while the 4-way stretch fabric provides great flexibility.

Price
Compared to some others on our list, these are probably in the mid-range. The quality combination of compression and comfort you’ll be getting is more than worth it.

2. Nike Pro 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.3
2. Nike Pro 3
Support
99
Comfort
98
Price
98
best offer for today
more shops
$24.95
Best deal
$27.99
Best deal
Pros:

Flat waistband

Close fit

Ergonomic seams

Polyester and spandex blend

Lightweight and breathable

Cons:

May get a little pricey

Men's sizes available with longer inseam

Nike has hit it out of the park with these. Simple yet effectively designed, these women's compression shorts are great for a casual jog or to find your zen at yoga practice. Versatile and affordable, overall a great choice.

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Support
These shorts provide great compression and firm support that is fitting for all kinds of athletes.

Comfort
Nike’s Dri-FIT fabric provides great moisture wicking and will help you stay dry even when you’re working up a sweat. The flat waistband is soft but offers a close fit and the triangular gusset design and ergonomic seams give you a full range of motion with zero discomforts.

Price
These shorts might rise up to the high end of the price range on our list, but they are definitely worth it. With pro performance and the reliability of the Nike name, experienced runners and beginners alike are sure to love them.

3. 2XU Men's Compression Shorts

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.7
3. 2XU Men's Compression Shorts
Support
98
Comfort
98
Price
97
best offer for today
more shops
$79.95
$44.00
Best deal
$79.95
Best deal
Pros:
  • Constructed for consistent yet subtle pressure
  • Extra hamstring support
  • Antibacterial material
  • UV protection
  • Smart drawstring closure
Cons:
  • More pricey

A top of the line model, you can expect superior quality from the 2XU compression shorts to elevate your game. Graduated pressure is engineered into these shorts to ensure that you have a bit of support where you need it and flexibility where you need it. Can’t go wrong.

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Support
If you’re looking for a little something more, these 2XU compression shorts are exactly what you need. Their knit construction and LYCRA blend fabric offer strong support and reliable hold.

Comfort
Even though these shorts have a hardcore level of compression going on, they are still comfortable and breathable enough for all runners no matter the workout. They are lightweight and flexible, on top of having UV protection.

Price
Although we’re definitely moving into a higher price range, the 2XU shorts are meant to offer the next level in compression for those willing to invest.

4. Nike Pro 5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.3
4. Nike Pro 5
Support
97
Comfort
96
Price
96
best offer for today
more shops
$32.94
$29.99
Best deal
Pros:
  • Dri-FIT fabric for moisture control
  • Flexible waistband for custom fit
  • Flat seams ensure comfort
Cons:
  • Some colors are more transparent

A great alternative for those who like Nike compression gear but want a little more coverage.

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Support
These Nike Pro compression shorts offer a good amount of compression for runners looking for a reliable pair of shorts to compliment their routines. The compression they offer is mild but supportive and will appeal to runners of all experience levels.

Comfort
All Nike compression gear is made with Dri-FIT fabric that wicks moisture like a pro and will keep you dry and comfortable no matter how intense your run gets. Flat seams and an ultra-flexible waistband will help keep the fit close and prevent uncomfortable friction.

Price
These shorts range from low to mid cost but are great for a variety of athletes and include a lot of fantastic features.

5. Mava Men’s Compression Short

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
5. Mava Men’s Compression Short
Support
94
Comfort
95
Price
96
best offer for today
$17.00
Pros:

UVA/UVB protection

Antibacterial fabric

Moisture wicking and quick dry

Lightweight and breathable

Overwhelmingly positive reviews

Cons:

Some people complained about a small fit for more varied body types

The Mava Men’s compression shorts are beneficial across the board for runners, cyclists, and athletes of all kinds. They’re an affordable option for those looking for a reliable pair of workout shorts.

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Support
These shorts have a mild amount of compression that is meant to concentrate on the thighs and upper legs. They are a great choice for runners and cater to most athletes as well, no matter the sport.

Comfort
The Mava compression shorts are made with moisture-wicking fabric so you’ll be dry no matter the weather while also retaining warmth in the winter and keeping cool in the summer. They are lightweight and flexible while still providing support and have great extra features like UV and bacterial protection.

Price
With tons of great benefits at such a low price, these shorts have great value. They are a good go-to for runners of all background and preference. The reviews on this pair of shorts are overwhelmingly positive and are definitely popular for a reason.

6. Tommie Copper Recovery Expedite

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
6. Tommie Copper Recovery Expedite
Support
95
Comfort
94
Price
94
best offer for today
more shops
$49.50
Best deal
Pros:

Comfortable

Fabric blended with copper and zinc

Durable

Multi-functional

CopperZnergy fabric to shield odors

Cons:

High cost

The Tommie Copper Recovery Expedite compression shorts are an excellent option for runners and athletes who participate in demanding activities, or runs, that continuously puts strains on their muscles.

Read more

Support
These offer a mild amount of compression that is comfortable for those with previous injuries or joint pain.

Comfort
These compression shorts are specifically designed to aid your body's recovery and muscle repairs. They are comfortable and durable and will boost your blood circulation and provide you with the perfect amount of support during your workouts. These shorts also utilize CopperZnergy fabric to prevent your shorts from acquiring any permanent odors.

Price
One of the most expensive pairs of running compression shorts on our list, these are for those looking for relief and use even when they aren’t working out.

7. CW-X Men's Endurance Pro Shorts

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
7. CW-X Men's Endurance Pro Shorts
Support
94
Comfort
94
Price
92
best offer for today
more shops
$80.00
$39.97
Best deal
$79.99
Best deal
Pros:

Exo-web provides muscle support and stabilization

Thick, comfortable fabric

Moisture-wicking and breathable

Cons:

The seam, located in the center of the shorts, can cause chafing after a longer run

One of the more pricey pairs

These shorts not only support your muscles but offer extra support in your lower back and hips. The standout feature of this product is the focus on providing excellent compression.

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Support
The draw of these shorts is extra compression on the back and hips and firm support throughout with Support Web Tech. The extra stability is great for runners who need more support on trails and cross-country runs.

Comfort
The Support Web fabric that helps to provide durable support allows a full range of movement and specifically helps knee joints. The fabric is also moisture wicking and offers UV protection.

Price
These shorts are more expensive but do offer lots of great features and extra compression stability.

8. Adidas Men's Training Techfit Base Short Tights

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
8. Adidas Men's Training Techfit Base Short Tights
Support
92
Comfort
92
Price
93
best offer for today
$17.00
Pros:
  • Climalite fabric designed for moisture control
  • Ergonomic waistband for increased comfort
  • Flat seams
  • UV protection
  • Longer inseam for more compression and coverage
Cons:

Some customers noted that the material is thinner than other brands

Perfect for any workout or routine, these tights have great breathability. They offer a snug fit without restricting movement.

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Support
The Techfit shorts have a decent amount of compression with a close fit. They’re a great default short for whatever workout you have planned.

Comfort
Adidas’ signature Climalite fabric is meant to expertly wick moisture and keep you dry. It’s also lightweight and soft with seams that lay flat and won’t rub in the wrong places.

Price
For all of the great benefits, these shorts offer the price is fantastic. They’re in the low range of the choices on our list but they are definitely not lacking in quality.

9. Skins A200

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
9. Skins A200
Support
92
Comfort
91
Price
90
best offer for today
$80.00
Pros:
  • Quality moisture-wicking fabric
  • Ergonomically designed for a snug fit
  • 50 + UV protection
  • Engineered gradient compression for maximized comfort
Cons:

Difficult to size properly

Price runs a bit high

May be more revealing than other compression shorts of the same intensity

Highly technical, the A200 shorts do a splendid job of fighting lactic acid buildup and promoting fluid muscle oscillation while in motion. They are the number one choice for those who want the most compression they can get out of a pair of shorts.

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Support
Many people who wear the 2XU compression shorts say that the Skins A200 half tights are extremely similar and have all the benefits of 2XU with even more compression. These are built for a close fit with their high performance knit construction.

Comfort
With built-in UV protection, these shorts are made for the long haul, a favorite among endurance athletes and ultramarathoners alike. The moisture-wicking fabric is also a huge plus and the build of the fabric offers consistent compression and coverage.

Price
A mid-range choice, these running compression shorts have great compression and durable build. They are definitely worth the initial investment but may be a more pricey option for those looking for a starter pair of compression shorts.

10. Champion Powerflex

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
10. Champion Powerflex
Support
89
Comfort
91
Price
90
best offer for today
more shops
$11.87
$21.99
Best deal
Pros:
  • Champion Vapor technology evaporates sweat quickly
  • Highly affordable
  • Anti-chafing seams
  • High quality elastic waist
Cons:
  • A bit tight in the waist
  • May not last as long as higher priced brands

A great pair of shorts for someone who wants to test drive running in compression shorts. You don’t risk the price of paying for a top of the line product but you get to experience much of the functionality on offer.

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Support
The polyester and spandex blend offers a mild amount of compression that is perfect for beginners who are getting a feel for running compression shorts.

Comfort
These shorts support but don’t constrict and are moisture wicking as well as quick drying to keep you comfortable when you’re really pushing your workout. Flat seams help to keep the fit close and prevent chafing.

Price
These rest in the low to mid-range in cost and are perfect for those looking for a decent alternative to more expensive shorts. They are definitely a great option for beginners but can also be a good choice for more experienced runners looking for an extra pair of compression shorts for basic routines and workouts.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Support

Specialized sports clothing companies claim that compression gear can benefit the performance of your body.

compression clothing can help you to increase the maximum volume of oxygen that you can use while running (VO2 max), enhancing your body to create more energy from that oxygen, delaying your body to use other resources that make you accumulate lactic acid in your muscles faster than it can be cleared away (aerobic threshold). The more efficient clearance of lactic acid, the enhancement of aerobic threshold, and the increase VO2 max are the three factors that might make you think about buying your new compression running gear soon.

The way that graduated compression can help you is when it increases the speed of the blood flowing through your body, constricting just enough the walls of your veins and arteries. It means that your blood gets pressurized, making it flow faster from and to your heart, carrying nutrients and oxygen back to your muscles, not allowing lactic acid to accumulate, and increasing the recovery time of your muscles.

After all, compression shorts are no more than shorts that are manufactured to have a series of strategically angled elastics to produce anatomically correct compression. Studies conducted have reported that runners who wear compression gear, can experience a reduction of nearly 26 percent in their VO2max. The studies have not been that conclusive about the roles of compression gear on directly improve your lactate clearance.

While different brands will claim that using compression shorts will allow you to run harder longer, science does not totally back that up. There are definitely great advantages from wearing compression shorts, like a faster and more complete recovery but do not think that those are magical shorts that will make you run faster and longer, that ability is a combination of technology (such as compression shorts) and your personal training.

Specific compression levels are required for specific groups of muscles as well as the type of exercise you plan to do while using them. Compression shorts are not just trying to squeeze you in a tighter pair of short, they have different gradient compression elements that can provide the right amount of surface pressure to enhance circulation to your muscles. To get the best compression shorts for you, make sure to get personal advice from the brand you are looking for to buy. Compression shorts can only benefit you in a great way if you get the right ones for you and your specific training/run.

Comfort

Your comfort is just as important as the amount of compression whatever pair you pick will have. Make sure to choose shorts that will have features that add function to their design to make you more comfortable.

Specific compression levels are required for specific groups of muscles as well as the type of exercise you plan to do while using them. Compression shorts are not just trying to squeeze you in a tighter pair of short, they have different gradient compression elements that can provide the right amount of surface pressure to enhance circulation to your muscles. To get the best compression shorts for you, make sure to get personal advice from the brand you are looking for to buy. Compression shorts can only benefit you in a great way if you get the right ones for you and your specific training/run.

Compression shorts will often have a good blend of materials that allow for both stretch and compression, like thin spandex and lycra combined with nylon or polyester. They also often incorporate mesh vents or ultra breathable fabric blends, and fabrics that wick moisture well. The amount of coverage you can get from a pair of shorts like these will vary, so you can take your pick on inseam length. You can get compression shorts in a wide variety of colors and shapes that can make you feel amazing, not only for their technology but also for the way they look on you. Different brands have multiple colors and different styles.

Compression shorts also commonly come in sizing that is gendered because of the close fit they try to provide. This type of sizing, however, is just code for different body types and design cuts and not necessarily standard or best for everyone. Don't be afraid to buy whatever size will fit you best, whether you need something with more coverage, something that is more narrow in the legs, something that has more room in the hips, etc. etc. Pick what will fit you best because it's important that you are comfortable while wearing your compression shorts.

Value

It really doesn't matter how perfect a pair of compression shorts is if it isn't affordable or accessible to buyers. We looked for a good cost-to-value ratio when composing our list.

Although some of our options come from big brands, we did try to vary our selection to include a wide range of prices. If you are shopping with a budget, don't be afraid to stick to it because there are plenty of compression shorts that are affordable or that have an affordable counterpart. You don't have to shop expensive or brand name to get quality. Also, keep an eye out for deals and discounts that can take a pricey pair of compression shorts and knock them down a price range.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Do compression shorts can help me if I get swollen and/or sore after I run?
a:

Compression technology on shorts can limit the swelling of your legs during and after your run. As mentioned before, that technology allows your body to recover faster from your short and long runs. Compression shorts will help your muscles recover faster from their activity.

q: I wear plus sizes, can I use compression shorts for my runs?
a:

Everyone can use compression shorts for their run. However, you need to get the right size of shorts if you want them to help you with your run. Different brands can go up to extra large sizes. It is worth it to go to the store and ask for assistance if you wear plus sizes or need a specific fit.

q: I am starting to run, will compression shorts make me improve my performance?
a:

Compression shorts will only improve your run if you have the right pair. To know that you need to learn how to run and your specific needs when you run. This kind of shorts can get very expensive, so we suggest to know more about your unique style of running, your specific needs and then you can start looking for your pair of compression shorts.

q: Can I wear the same pair of compression shorts during different seasons?
a:

Some shorts may work for you during different seasons depending on your sport or your running routine, however, we do suggest stocking up on a variety of shorts that are meant to help you deal with different types of weather. Having a multitude of shorts will also help lengthen their lifespan over time. You may even want to consider getting compression leggings or tights for the colder months; they can really help you keep the heat in while you’re getting your run on.

q: How do I wear compression shorts?
a:

If you’re trying to get into a pair of compression shorts, we suggest you scrunch them up from the waist down to the knee or tight. Then gradually pull each leg up. Compression can make those simple steps a bit harder than usual. Do one leg at the time, we recommend. Try them for a while before your first run with them, that way you get used to them. If it feels uncomfortable after your first run, it would be possible you chose the wrong size. They are meant to feel like a second skin.

Sources

  1. Fitness Magazine, How to Recover from a Tough Workout, Online fitness publication,
  2. US National Library of Medicine, Aerobic energy cost and sensation responses during submaximal running exercise--positive effects of wearing compression tights., Government research publication, May 27, 2006
  3. US National Library of Medicine, Effects of compression stockings during exercise and recovery on blood lactate kinetics., Government research publication, May 30, 2010
  4. Springer Link, Physiological effects of wearing graduated compression stockings during running, Research publication, May 31, 2010