Because of the mental aspect, I'll take any advantage I can get to give myself an edge. If the title of this post makes it sound like I'm against racing flats and compression socks, that couldn't be further from the truth. I do all my road racing in my Newton Distance shoes, and for anything with a distance of 1/2 Marathon or longer, I don't feel quite right unless I have my compression calf sleeves on. When I show up at the starting line in my bright yellow Newtons, I know it's time to go fast, and when I have the calf sleeves on, I have a nice bit of assurance that my calves won't cramp on me.
Whether or not that's the case, I don't care. Perhaps I could run my next marathon just as fast in my plain looking Altras, and perhaps my calves wouldn't cramp at all if I just wore my ankle socks and left my calves bare, but why should I try? If what I'm doing now works for me, why change? Maybe my bright yellow shoes and my calf compression sleeves are of no more use than Dumbo's magic feather, but you can be sure when I toe the starting line of my next marathon, I'll have both of them on.