Updated running goals and race plans for 2017

At the beginning of the year I set myself some challenging but achievable running goals for 2017. I felt so confident I shared my goals and signed up to Trail Running’s #RUN1000MILES challenge.

Unfortunately, I picked up a running injury towards the middle of January and found myself sitting on the injury bench.

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The injury was so persistent most of the first six months of 2017 were a complete write-off. I stopped running, started stretching, sulked, put on a lot of weight and sulked some more.

My house was spotless.

I forgot about the majority of my running goals.

Now that we are almost half way through the year and *touch wood* my foot injury is under control, I decided to update some of my running goals and race plans.

Run 700 miles Run 400 miles – I’ve just checked my training log on Fetch and discovered I’ve run the not so impressive total of 29 miles in 2017. 29 miles!!! If my maths is correct, I’ve set myself the target of running another 371 miles in six months.  I’d like to think I’ll be able to run approximately 60 miles a month.

Complete 10 parkruns and 10 races Complete 5 parkruns and 5 races – After writing ‘DNS’ next to several races this year, my race calendar is starting to look slightly more respectable. I’ll summarise my race plans later on in this post.

A sub 8 minute mile – I’d like to think that this goal is still achievable.

A sub 25 minute 5k A sub 26 minute 5k – I set my current 5k PB of 26:49 last February. If my foot continues to behave, I’d like to think that at some stage this year I’ll manage to run a sub 26 minute 5k.

A sub 55 minute 10k A sub 60 minute 10k – My original goal was to run a sub 55 minute 10k during the Vitality London 10,000. Now I’d be over the moon with a sub 60 minute 10k!

A sub 2:20 half marathon – The original aim was to run a sub 2:20 half marathon during the Cambridge Half in March. Although Cambridge was a DNS, I’ve decided to keep this goal the same.

Listen to my niggles – At one stage my foot was so painful I had little option but to listen to my niggles. As an injury-prone runner I now realise that listening to my niggles is not enough. I also need to improve my diet and make a lot more effort to follow my strength and conditioning ‘personal action plan’.

Join a new running club – Although I resigned from my last running club at the end of March, my lack of running fitness has made me slightly reluctant to join a new running club. I suspect that I’ll continue as an ‘unattached’ runner for the rest of 2017.

Be slightly more sociable – I still tend to run on my own and I’m still a running recluse. To be honest I enjoy running on my own so much, I can’t see this changing. Although I am a bit of a loner, I have really enjoyed volunteering at a range of local events.

Don’t buy any unessential running gear – My foot injury has definitely helped me curb my obsession with buying unessential running gear. Hopefully I will actually achieve this running goal 🙂

My race plans

As I’m the type of person who needs a target race, I’ve entered the Great Birmingham Run in October.

gbr-large2x

If my dodgy foot doesn’t cope with the half marathon training plan I’ve put together, I’ve entered the Lichfield 10k as a sort of Plan B race.

LichfieldLogo

If my foot doesn’t cope with training for a 10k – the way it is feeling right now this is a definite possibility – I’ll have to look at dropping down to even shorter distances.PrintFingers crossed my foot lets me achieve at least a couple of my running goals.

Do you have any target races planned for the second half of 2017?

Did you sign up to Trail Running Magazine’s 1000 mile challenge? If you did and you didn’t receive a Ruff headband let me know and I’ll post you mine.

Book Review: Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success by Renee McGregor

I hope that everyone had a great weekend. The weather was amazing. Although I don’t want my blog to become a series of product reviews, I decided that as my Running Science book review was quite well received, I would review some of the books I’ve found particularly useful.

I decided to start with a quick(ish) review of Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success written by Renee McGregor. Renee is a registered dietician and is one of the UK’s top sports nutritionists, advising athletes from amateur to Olympic levels. As a result, Renee ensures that all the advice she shares is evidence based i.e. there has been reliable research around the subject, to make claims both accurate and credible.

Front cover

Back cover

Fast Fuel: Food for Running is for runners of all levels who want to:

  • Achieve their performance goals whether that’s improving their weekly parkrun time, bettering their personal best in the marathon, or venturing into ultra-marathons.
  • Stick to a training plan while also trying to earn a living and juggle other commitments.
  • Improve their knowledge of nutrition because it debunks some of the most common myths.
  • Increase their confidence by knowing that they are eating the correct foods to fuel their body and to maximise their training, without over-reaching and potentially risking illness or injury.

The book is divided into two main sections. The first is broken down into three chapters; (1) Fuelling basics, (2) Training – the road to victory and (3) Fine-tuning your body, and provides a practical, easy-to-follow, step-by-step, scientific introduction to sports nutrition. The second contains an extensive selection of simple but mouth-watering recipes and is broken down into recipes for; healthy breakfasts, light meals, main meals, snacks and portables, and finally, desserts.

Once again, rather than attempting to review the entire book, I decided to highlight the sections I found particularly interesting in the first three chapters. I’ve included photographs with this review to illustrate how easy to follow and well laid out the book is.

Chapter 1: Fuelling Basics

“Chapter 1 is a practical guide to what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. We also look at how your body metabolizes food into fuel, and how it can adapt to provide fuel for different levels of training intensity”

I found that in order to take in all the information, I had to read through Chapter 1 a couple of times. Although I found the sections on carbohydrates, protein and fat really informative, the section of supplements was particularly enlightening.

Supplements

The book provides a selection of ‘real food’ alternatives to sports drinks, energy gels, protein shakes and sports bars. After my next run I’ll definitely attempt to create my own, much cheaper sports drink. Chapter 1 also looks at special dietary considerations, recovery nutrition, metabolism and racing weight.

Chapter 2: Training – The Road to Victory

“Chapter 2 shows the different fuelling requirements for different distances and training intensities and how making the right nutritional choices will benefit you. This section also includes sample menus plans, using the recipes from this book to demonstrate practically how to choose appropriate food”

As a runner in urgent need of a refresher in what actually comprises a sensible training plan, I found the ‘Planning your training week’ section really useful.

Planning training

Looking back, I suspect that last year I was inadvertently completing all of my training sessions at a moderate to high level of intensity. I got my pre- and post-run fuelling totally wrong and was eating far too much carbohydrate. After ‘digesting’ the contents of Chapter 2, I’m now impressed that I (a) didn’t put on more weight and (b) didn’t get injured while I was training for the Great Birmingham Run.

Chapter 3: Fine-Tuning your Body

“Chapter 3 highlights the importance of maintaining the well-oiled machine we call our body; it looks at issues relating the injury, illness and over-reaching and demonstrates how the right nutrition can combat these potential problems”

When I bought Fast Fuel, I headed straight to the sections on injury prevention and nutrition for sore, tired or injured bodies.

Injury prevention

The author points out that although being injured is very frustrating – this is an understatement – it is also a good time to reflect and to work out how you can reduce your risk of the same injury occurring again. Reading the book has made me realise just how much I need to improve my diet. I now suspect that my poor diet contributed to my foot injury. The third chapter also includes a thought-provoking section; ‘Have you lost your running mojo?’

As I believe that at some stage, nearly every runner experiences a loss of running mojo, I’ll dedicate a blog post to the subject.

Food, glorious food – Examples of light and main meals

Although my nut allergy unfortunately meant that I had to discount several recipes in Fast Fuel, I was still left with a decent number of light and main meals to choose from. While I obviously can’t share the exact recipes, I decided to list the meals I’ll be attempting to create over the next few weeks. If you’re really unlucky, I might share my thoughts in a future post.

  • Half and Half Chilli con Carne I’m a fan of ‘normal’ Chilli con Carne so thought this recipe looked intriguing. The recipe halves the amount of beef and replaces it with lentils.
  • Punjabi-Style Aloo Sabsi I picked this recipe simply because I want to try some completely new (to me!) food.
  • Roasted Vegetable and Mozzarella Bruschetta I tend to opt for bruschetta as a starter when I eat out, so I thought I’d see if I could make my own. With a preparation time of only five minutes, nothing can possibly go wrong…
  • Sausage Casserole I love sausages. I also enjoy making casseroles so, when the weather cools down, a sausage casserole sounds like a win-win.
  • Tangy Chicken Stir-Fry I’ve got a culinary confession; I’ve never made a stir-fry from scratch. Fingers crossed I manage to cook the chicken to perfection and don’t burn the vegetables.

If I disappear from twitter for a prolonged period of time, then it is highly likely one of these recipes didn’t quite go to plan.

The Verdict

I found Fast Fuel easy-to-read and I thought that the book was laid out in a logical way, with each chapter building on the previous chapter. If you are a runner who is interested in finding out more about how nutrition can aid your running performance, then this is quite possibly the perfect book for you. If you are a runner with a more advanced understanding of sports nutrition, then I suspect that Fast Fuel may be slightly too basic for you.

Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success is published by Nourish Books and has a RRP of £9.99 and is available from all major bookstores.

**Full disclosure: I bought Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success myself. I was not asked to review the book, but decided to share my honest thoughts on a book I found useful as a runner**

Rants and raves #15

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this latest random selection of rants and raves while watching the England versus Australia cricket match at Edgbaston. England aren’t playing very well at the moment. I can guarantee that because they are playing cricket in Edgbaston, it will rain in Four Oaks later (Update: It did eventually rain and England won). As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

Happy Monday! It will soon be Friday again… I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I’m looking forward to reading loads of race reports

Rave: Running

I’m pleased to report that I’m (just about) still running. My heel is still a little bit troublesome, but thanks to the combination of being sensible and not running too much, and stretching on a regular basis, I’m hopeful that I’ve got my injuries under control. My 16 week half marathon training plan starts on June 26th, and although I’m not 100 per cent confident my heel will cope with a half marathon, I’ve reached the stage I need some structure with my running. The first four weeks of the training plan are relatively easy, with runs lasting between 10 and 30 minutes, so *fingers crossed* I’ll at least make it to this stage of the plan. If I don’t, then it’s back to the drawing board.

Rant: The weather

Last time I raved about the weather. This time I’m going to have a short rant about our so-called ‘summer’. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has had enough of the cycle of sun-rain-sun-rain. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve set out on a walk or run in bright sunshine and have ended up getting drenched.RainFor once I was happy to be travelling on a train!

The weather has played havoc with the cricket – yes I know I now sound really middle-aged, and has left my house smelling of damp running gear and soggy trainers. Why are trainers so such a pain in the arse to dry? Don’t get me started on the midges and over evil biting insets that thrive in damp, warm conditions…

Rave: Avon Skin So Soft

I must apologise in advance for what is probably the most random rave ever; Avon Skin So Soft. If, like me, you seem to attract every single midge and random biting insect for miles, then invest in a couple of bottles of Avon Skin So Soft. It really does work.

Rant: Overly protective swans

Last week, as I was early for the train, I decided to take the scenic route to the local train station. My relaxing stroll (in the rain!) was great until I came face to face with Mr and Mrs Swan and their latest clutch of cygnets.SwansCute cygnets, evil parents!

As I power-walked ran through the swan danger zone, I was reminded of just how protective swans are of their young. The hissing was pretty impressive. I wouldn’t have minded, but the adult swans both know me because I’ve been feeding them fresh bread on a weekly basis since January. I guess that everything and everyone is seen as a potential predator. I just hope that this year the cygnets manage to avoid being taken by foxes.

Rave: Nike tights

I’ve decided to continue with my slightly fickle tradition of raving on about a random pair of running tights. Anyway, my latest discovery are these Nike Pro training capris.Nike tightsWorth breaking my running gear buying ban?

If my heel allows me to complete three runs for the next two weeks, I’ll probably break my ban on buying new running gear and treat myself. I’ve shifted so much of my unwanted running gear on eBay recently; I think I deserve a treat.

Rant: Mysterious announcements at train stations

Although I feel reasonable safe when I’m at London Euston, for some reason I feel anything but safe when I’m at Birmingham New Street train station. Probably because I rarely see any police and because the platforms are underground, are dark and cover a huge area. Last week, I was waiting for my train back to Four Oaks when this random announcement started playing on repeat:

 “Attention please, Staff Call 100” 

It’s amazing what you can find on YouTube!

I couldn’t see any station staff or police to talk to, and no one else was moving, so I decided to remain on the platform. The slightly scary announcement stopped playing after five minutes, so I guess it was some sort of false alarm.

Rave: Relive

I’ve now got a bonus rave for you lucky people.Relive

I’ve just registered on Relive and can’t wait to create and share some 3D videos of my more interesting training runs.

Once again if you’ve reached the end of my latest selection of moans and groans, then thank-you!

Have you ever been chased by animals or birds? I can now add angry swans to my list of horses, geese, cows, sheep and pigs.

Do you like to have running goals or are you more a ‘go with the flow’ type of runner? I like to set myself goals, and writing this has reminded me that thanks to my heel injury, I need to update my running goals.

Rants and raves #14

**Disclaimer: I’m sharing my latest random selection of rants and raves after drinking slightly too much Malibu. I’ve been told that I’m far too honest when I’ve had a couple of drinks. As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

Happy Tuesday! I hope that everyone had a great Bank Holiday weekend. I can’t believe it’s almost June, whatever happened to May?

Rave: Running

As I’ve spent months complaining about my inability to run, I thought I should probably start my latest selection of rants and raves with a rave. My right heel is feeling so much better *touch wood* I can run again. Although I’m still completing the majority of my runs without my Garmin, I’m now able to run three times a week.

Following on from my last rants and raves post I had to fork out £35 to enter the Great Birmingham Run In order to get my £55 Birmingham International Marathon entry fee refunded. I’m quietly confident I’ll be able to complete the half marathon in October. If I’m injured again then at least I’ve ‘only’ wasted £35 on race entry fees and not £55…

Hopefully the local trains will be running slightly earlier on the morning of the race this year.

Rant: Trains

While on the subject of trains, anyone who follows me on twitter will be aware that I tweet about my train related woes on a regular basis. My personal train travel ‘highlights’ so far this year have included being stuck just outside Birmingham International station for two hours without any information, delays and cancellations due to unexploded bombs and overhead line damage, witnessing fights and drug dealing, phone calls lasting two hours and my least favourite; people vomiting all over the place.Train DelayJust a slightly delayed journey back to Birmingham.

At least Virgin trains have really, really effective air conditioning. It’s just a shame their trains make me feel really travel sick because they smell like a sewage treatment works on wheels.

Rave: The weather

As I’m writing this it’s a typical wet and gloomy Bank Holiday Monday morning. I’m hoping that summer 2017 hasn’t already been and gone, but how awesome was the summery weather we had last week? I’ve just checked out the weather forecast for Four Oaks and it looks like we will get to enjoy a combination of light rain and heavy thundery showers.

Bank Holiday weatherTypical Bank Holiday Monday weather!

Fortunately, the weather for the remainder of the week looks slightly more positive.

Rant: My inability to drink in moderation

On Thursday I travelled down to London to meet up with someone I hadn’t seen for ages for “a quick drink” and a bite to eat. Four hours, several pints, half a bottle of red wine an Italian meal (I can’t remember what I ate…) and a shot of Limoncello(?) later I was feeling slightly inebriated. For some reason I decided to take several photos of the local architecture, so much for drunken selfies.

Drunken photosI have zero interest in architecture so have no idea why I took these photos.

My “I’m never drinking again” vow on Friday morning clearly didn’t last very long as I spent Sunday evening working my way through the bottle of Malibu my brother bought me for my birthday. Cheers Paul!

Rave: My bargain MPG leggings

Whenever I’m in Sutton Coldfield, I always end up calling into TK Maxx to check out the Activewear. Although I tend to leave empty-handed, I got my friend to treat me to a pair of these  Mondetta tights for my birthday.

Mondetta tightsUnfortunately it was too wet to get a photo of me posing in my new running tights. 

They are easily the most comfortable pair of running tights I’ve worn.

Rant: My diet

After keeping a detailed food diary for a few weeks, it’s clear that I urgently need to improve my diet. I rarely eat enough portions of fruit and vegetables and I eat far too much junk food. I treated myself to a couple of Renee McGregor’s books last year; it’s about time I actually read them!

Rave: Nuun mixology

I was going to have a rant about the BBQ my new neighbours had on Saturday – smelling the BBQ food was torture – but I decided to include a short bonus rave. My mobile has been playing up so much recently; I’ve transferred all of the photos from my phone onto my computer. In among all the random photos I found this article on Nuun mixology.Nuun Mixology

Apologies for the rubbish quality of the article, I found more information here and here.

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, then thank-you.

Did you have an enjoyable Bank Holiday weekend? Hopefully the weather was better than it was here in Sutton Coldfield.

Do you ever run without your GPS? Hopefully I’m not the only ‘naked’ runner out there!

My top 10 websites for injured runners

Back in March I spent far too much time researching Plantar Fasciitis online and shared my top 10 websites for runners. As I’m feeling generous, I’ve decided to share my top 10 websites for injured runners. If you don’t have a running injury then lucky you, this post probably isn’t for you. If, like me, you are injury-prone, I hope you find at least one of these websites useful.

I think it’s worth emphasising that although we all do it, self-diagnosing running injuries usually only ends in tears and frustration. Nothing irritates me more than a runner posting a photo of an undiagnosed injury online and asking for help from complete strangers. Please, please, please visit your GP or a physiotherapist before surfing the net.

So here are my top 10 websites (in no particular order) for injured runners:

Rehab4Runners

1. Rehab4Runners Rehab4Runners is a UK site which describes itself as a site providing injury advice for runners of all standards from serious, competing athletes to those who jog for fun or fitness. The focus of the site is the treatment and rehabilitation of common running injuries, from a runner’s point of view, with a therapist’s knowledge. Rehab4Runners is written by Graduate Sports Rehabilitator Heidi Dawson. Heidi spotted a gap in the market back in 2012; the result is this comprehensive online resource. My favourite area of the site is obviously the Plantar fasciitis page.

Useful features and articles include:

2. RunningPhysio RunningPhysio is another UK site run by Tom, a keen runner and a physiotherapist with over 10 years experience. The site aims to offer expert advice in preventing and managing running injuries, and includes useful ‘Injuries’ and ‘Training Advice’ sections. If you’ve got an injury you are pretty much guaranteed to find a fully illustrated article or guest post that will help.

Popular articles include:

Sportsinjuryclinic

3. Sportsinjuryclinic.net Sportsinjuryclinic.net describes itself as the sports injury clinic on the net. Sounds good! The site contains information on hundreds of sports injuries and conditions with treatment, rehabilitation, exercises and more. The site is easy to navigate and regularly updated. Once I’d spent far too long reading about plantar fasciitis, I found the section on foam roller exercises really useful with loads of diagrams and links to videos.

Useful features and articles include:

4. Kinetic Revolution Huge thanks to Anna and Maria for reminding me about another UK site – Kinetic Revolution. I’ve no idea how I managed to miss such a useful site off my initial list! Kinetic Revolution aims to build better runners, and includes a wealth of injury prevention tips and exercises. I’ve just spent some time looking around the site, and suspect that the running injury and rehab resources will be particularly useful. There’s a page dedicated to plantar fasciitis which includes some easy to follow dedicated plantar fasciitis stretches and also the option of downloading a free PDF of some plantar fasciitis rehab exercises.

Recent videos and articles have included:

5. NHS Choices The NHS Choices site now has a dedicated Sports Injuries page. This page covers basics such as the cause of sports injuries, what to do if you have an injury and the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. Although the information is quite basic, the site provides links to other useful sites and resources.

Useful features and resources include:

6. PhysioRoom.com PhysioRoom.com describes itself as the ultimate sports injury website, and has been one the UK’s leading sports injury websites for a number of years. I think I first found the site when I was struggling with a groin injury back in 2008. Although the focus of the site is very much on selling you the products it recommends for your injury – in my case plantar fasciitis – it does provide useful information on the symptoms, treatment and prevention of your injury. It’s just a shame the site is quite hard to navigate.

Articles I found informative include:

Totally unrelated to running, but I find the English Premier League injury table  fascinating. Professional footballers do appear to be rather injury prone!

injured-runner

7. Runner’s World Since the recent improvements(?) to the Runner’s World UK site earlier this year, I’ve switched my attention to Runner’s World USA.  The kind people at Runner’s World have organised their injury prevention and treatment articles into categories based on what part hurts, this makes navigating the site simple. I found some of the real-life case studies reassuring, particularly those about runners who have made a full recovery from plantar fasciitis.

Popular articles include:

8. Running Competitor Running Competitor was founded in 1987 and describes itself as the authentic voice of running in America. The site has evolved over the years, and now has a useful section dedicated to injury prevention.

Articles I found useful include:

9. Jasyoga Jasyoga describes itself as yoga by athletes, for athletes and was launched 2010 with the mission of supporting athletes to get the most out of doing the things they love, and also to achieve their goals in both life and sport. I’ve been subscribing to the Jasyoga site for over a year and for $9.99/month get unlimited access to numerous yoga for athletes videos that aim to help me recover, prevent injuries and perform. I love Jasyoga so much it’s had the rather dubious honour of being featured as a rave last June .

Useful Jasyoga videos available on YouTube include:

10. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The final site to make it into my ‘Top 10’ is the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Some might think this is a strange site to include, but I found the ‘Physio2u’ find a physiotherapist search feature really useful. I’m not going to say too much on here, but from personal experience it’s probably worth checking that person you’ve been handing £50/hour for sports physiotherapy, is actually a qualified physiotherapist…

Once again, I hope that some of the websites and resources I’ve summarised will be useful to someone with a running injury. Hopefully you’ll never need to Google ‘running injury’ but if you do, you’ll find a wealth of information online. As always, I apologise if my rambling post has bored you to tears.

Have I missed out any websites injured runners may find useful? If I have then please let me know and I’ll add them to my list.

Are you an injury prone runner? Unfortunately, my dodgy right foot means that I’ll probably struggle with injuries for the rest of my running career.

CEP Ortho Plantar Fasciitis Sleeve review

One advantage of being injured is getting the opportunity to test out a number of innovative running products. Regular readers of my blog will be aware that I have been experiencing pain in my right heel since the beginning of the year. I was devastated when a physiotherapist told me I had the injury all runners dread – Plantar Fasciitis.

I have tried all sorts to alleviate the pain in my right heel: rolling my foot on a frozen bottle, physio sessions, stretching, taping, rolling my foot over a tennis ball and wearing supportive shoes the whole time. Although I started to find walking more bearable, the pain in my right heel stubbornly refused to go away and running felt like a distant dream.

So as you can imagine, I was thrilled when CEP very kindly agreed to send me a pair of their Ortho Plantar Fasciitis (PF) Sleeves to thoroughly test out and review.

Now that I have been wearing the PF sleeve on my right foot on an almost daily basis since the end of March, I feel that I am in a position to write a review.

What is the CEP Ortho Plantar Fasciitis Sleeve?

CEP recognises that for runners, remaining fit and healthy is a priority. Unfortunately, injuries can and do occur, and recovering and getting back to running quickly is important. With this in mind, CEP developed the Ortho PF sleeve. The CEP website describes the sleeve as suitable for sports or everyday use – perfect for a runner trying to make a return to the sport they love. The sleeves are designed to provide comfort with every step, yes please! Finally, the fit and compression are designed to stabilise your arch and provide much needed support.CEP PF Sleeves

The innovative design of the PF sleeve means that your sole and heel are optimally protected when you run. As an added bonus the deep tissue massage effect helps you maintain your level of fitness – or quickly regain it again if you suffer from minor pain and discomfort. Where can I sign up?

What can the CEP Ortho Plantar Fasciitis Sleeve be used for? 

  • To support the arch of the foot and reduce stressful and painful tension at the insertion of the plantar fascia.
  • To relieve the ankle joint and reduce joint irritation.
  • To provide an increased sense of security during exercise.
  • To minimise wear and tear and alleviate inflammation.

So after reading all about the potential benefits of the product, I was intrigued and eagerly awaited the arrival of my pair of Plantar Fasciitis sleeves.

The review process

Like all CEP products, the PF sleeves are provided with detailed illustrated instructions which outline how to put them on. I would strongly recommend following these instructions because they make life a lot easier. The PF sleeve felt quite snug but not restrictive and fitted underneath my right sock. Although I could immediately feel the support and compression, the PF sleeve never felt obtrusive or too inhibiting.

I started off wearing the PF sleeve around the house and on a couple of short 2-3 mile walks. Although both my right heel and arch instantly felt more supported, it did take a few days for my foot to get used to the extra support. The first time I wore the sleeve on a walk my heel felt sore for the first 10 minutes or so. However, once my foot adapted to the extra arch support, the soreness went away and hasn’t returned.CEP montage 1

After particularly active days, I decided to wear the sleeve in bed – being single has some advantages – and noticed a huge improvement in my right heel the following morning. Before I wore the sleeve I would lie in bed each morning dreading having to make those first few painful steps. Fortunately, the PF sleeve virtually eliminated the early morning hobble, I’m no longer reluctant to walk in the morning.

I’ve been wearing the PF sleeve on an almost daily basis since the end of March. Fortunately, CEP provided me with two identical sleeves so I had a spare sleeve I could wear when the other one was in the wash. Both sleeves have now been washed on numerous occasions and have maintained their fit and support.

A week ago, I finally felt confident enough to run for the first time since February. I pulled on a PF sleeve, worked my way through my stretching routine and headed out the door into the rain. Although I was thrilled to discover that my heel felt relatively pain free during the run, like most runners with PF I was more interested in how my heel would react to a couple of miles of pavement pounding. CEP montage 2

After spending two hours sitting down watching the Great Birmingham 10k, I stood up and discovered that my right heel felt great! After a slightly frustrating couple of months of inactivity, the PF sleeve had enabled me to make a return to running.

The Verdict

While the PF sleeve hasn’t completely eliminated the pain in my right heel – at the moment I’m pretty certain that only complete rest would – it has enabled me to walk and run without too much discomfort. The sleeve has also given me the confidence to make a gradual return to running and with a bit of luck, I might still make the start line of the Great Birmingham Run in the autumn.

So huge thanks again to CEP for sending me the PF sleeves and for allowing me enough time to produce a hopefully meaningful review.

**Full disclosure: I was sent a pair of CEP Plantar Fasciitis sleeves for free in return for a review. Please note that the use of a CEP Ortho product does not replace the advice of a doctor/physiotherapist. I did not receive any payment for this review. As always all opinions and dodgy photographs are my own**

Rants and raves #12

**Disclaimer: Sadly, I no longer feel like a runner. Now that the weather has improved and the evenings have started to get lighter, I’ve realised just how much I miss running. As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

I hope that everyone had a great Easter weekend. Although the weather was slightly rubbish in Sutton Coldfield, I still managed to fit in a couple of decent walks.

Unfortunately, I was informed that I’m too old for Easter eggs 😦

Rave: My right heel

Now I don’t want to curse myself *touches wood* but I think that my right heel is finally starting to get better. Hopefully all of the icing, stretching and resting is making a difference. I can’t wait to put on my running gear again, it’s been a while.

Ready to run

Walking is still quite challenging first thing in the morning, but there has been a definite improvement since I last blogged. I’m definitely at the ‘testing it out on a short run’ stage.

Rant: Job hunting

A couple of months ago I spotted an amazing job opportunity. I had all of the qualifications and experience required so decided to apply. I completed the most complicated online application form I’ve ever seen, and spent ages writing and re-writing answers to five technical competency questions. I submitted my application and started the waiting game.

A month after submitting my application I received the dreaded ‘I regret to inform you…’ email. I was gutted as while I knew there would be a lot of internal competition for the job, I honestly thought that my experience would have at least got me an interview. I asked for feedback on my application but was told they couldn’t provide feedback.

At least this organisation sent me a ‘thanks but no thanks’ email. The majority don’t seem to take the time to contact unsuccessful applicants.

Rave: Sweaty Betty zero gravity crop run leggings

Now although I’m definitely more High Street than posh boutique when it comes to buying running gear, when I spotted these Sweaty Betty leggings online it was love at first sight. Yes I am easily pleased and quite fickle. I also have a bum that needs sculpting.

Sweaty Betty

Fortunately, it’s my birthday soon, so I’ve dropped a few unsubtle hints – i.e. I’ve emailed my size and the link to the leggings – to my friend who just so happens to live a 5-minute walk from the Sweaty Betty on Marylebone High Street.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get…

Rant: Failing to complete Swimathon

Last year an elbow injury prevented me from swimming 1500m for Swimathon. This year a severe lack of self-confidence and an attack of the jitters prevented me from swimming 1500m. On the day of my Swimathon challenge, I arrived at the swimming pool, saw how busy the pool looked and how fast everyone else was swimming and completely bottled it. Not cool and definitely another failure.

Once the Easter holidays have finished, I’m determined to return to the pool to complete the 1500m distance. I won’t get a Swimathon medal but I will hopefully feel a sense of achievement.

Rave: Quirky running gifts

A totally unexpected parcel arrived address to me last week. When I opened the parcel a piece of athletics track on a key ring and a certificate of authenticity dropped out.

london-2012.jpg

Apologies for the slightly blurry photo! I’m now the proud owner of a piece of the London 2012 athletics track. In 2013 I got to run on the track, now I get to keep a piece of the track. As a running geek and athletics fan this makes me really happy.

I’ve no idea who bought me this rather quirky gift but thanks, I love it!

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants, raves, moans and groans then I’m impressed.

Apologies for the bits and pieces blog, my next post will be slightly more interesting.

What is the most unusual running-related gift you’ve ever received? I think the London 2012 track keyring is pretty quirky.

Should I follow the C25K training plan when I start running again, or should I start with short distances and build from there? I suspect that I’ll find having zero fitness really frustrating, but I’m not sure I want to get stuck in a run-walk-run routine again.