Regaining my running confidence and CocoPro review

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I don’t want to tempt fate, but after more than two months of complete rest, I think that I might finally be able to call myself a runner again.
October runTaken after I’d completed my last long run back in October. It’s good to be running up this hill again.

For once I’ve been sensible with my return to running. Gone are the days I’d happily ignore niggles and run when I was in pain. It has taken a long time and a lot of frustrating running injuries, but I think I’ve finally accepted that I need to listen to my body.Injury ebib

[Source]

Like most injury-prone runners I probably delayed heading out for a run for longer than I needed to. I was afraid that the second I started to run, my foot would implode and I’d be back on the injury bench.

Fortunately, my close friend gave me a bit of a talking to and told me to get out the f**king door. I also rediscovered the cheesy but motivational song my coach used to make us listen to before competitions.

“Never surrender to the doubts that cloud your mind
Never retreat from who you are…“

Perhaps I should listen to it before my next job interview…

Since the start of the month I’ve been running without my Garmin. This may sound slightly stupid but I didn’t want the added pressure. Although the majority of my runs have lasted less than 30 minutes, yesterday I decided it was time to find out if my right foot could cope with a slightly longer run.

I’m writing this several hours after I ran for the not so impressive total of 20 minutes before lunch. Although I clearly didn’t drink enough after my run as I’ve got a headache, my heel is 99.9 per cent pain free.

Fingers crossed I’ll be able to walk in the morning!

CocoPro review

Earlier this year CocoPro were recruiting for brand ambassadors.  Although I knew I wasn’t social media savvy enough to be an ambassador, I rather cheekily asked if I could review their products. CocoPro kindly agreed and added me to their mailing list.
CocoPro

[Source]

Fast forward a couple of weeks and a random bloke called Paul appeared at my front door holding a small parcel; the postman had delivered my bottles of CocoPro to the wrong address. So thanks Paul for being so honest and for delivering my parcel.

What is CocoPro?

CocoPro is the world’s first pure coconut water with added protein drink and is currently available in two flavours; plain coconut and coconut with pineapple. I was sent one 330ml bottle of each flavour to try.

Coconut flavour

I think coconut water is a bit like Marmite; you either love it or hate it. After a slightly rocky start, I’ve grown to quite like the taste of coconut water.

Although the drink is meant to be consumed after exercise or prolonged activity, I decided to drink my bottle of coconut flavoured CocoPro after I’d been for a short run in humid conditions. I was concerned the added protein would give the drink an artificial taste. Although I was pleased to discover the drink tasted quite natural, it was quite bland and didn’t seem to taste very much of anything.

On the plus side the coconut flavoured CocoPro was easy to drink, and left me feeling hydrated and refreshed. It definitely quenched my post-run thirst and as an added bonus, I didn’t develop my usual post running in humid conditions headache.

May runNot the best photo but I’m in love with these Lululemon shorts.

Coconut with pineapple flavour

I saved my bottle of coconut with pineapple CocoPro as a reward for running up one of my nemesis hills without walking, twice. Quite frankly, I’ll take any running positives I can at the moment.

After personally finding the coconut flavoured CocoPro a little disappointing, I was a tad concerned the coconut with pineapple flavoured CocoPro would also be quite bland. Happily I discovered that this wasn’t the case and I could really taste the pineapple. I wonder if I could use the CocoPro to make a refreshing post workout mocktail.

Would I recommend CocoPro?

Yes, I would definitely recommend the coconut with pineapple flavoured CocoPro, thanks to my local Waitrose I’ve already filled my fridge ready for the warmer weather. Although some might think £2.50 for a bottle of coconut and pineapple water is expensive, I don’t mind paying a little bit extra for a refreshing drink that contains protein electrolytes and coconut.

Do you have a favourite post-workout drink?

Have you ever been too scared to run after being injured?

**Full disclosure: I was sent a couple of bottles of CocoPro for free, I wasn’t asked to write a review. As always all opinions and dodgy photographs are my own**

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**

An interview, my birthday and a run

Last Friday I travelled up to Newcastle for a job interview. The 3+ hour train journey was entertaining as I was sharing the train carriage with a hen party. I had planned on doing some last minute interview preparation, but spent the majority of the train journey staring out of the window trying to work out where I was. Not very productive.

I arrived at Newcastle and quickly realised that I was virtually the only person in the station not in full on party mode.  I worked out the best route to the interview, bought some lunch and spent an hour people watching.  The interview itself didn’t go very well. The job I’d applied for was advertised as a technical role, after a couple of questions it became evident the role was anything but technical. I knew that I wasn’t the right person for the role. Irritating after I’d spent more than £100 on train tickets and couldn’t claim back any travel expenses.

I later discovered that I didn’t get the job. Hopefully my next interview will be slightly more positive.

I escaped, swapped my smart shoes for my trainers and walked along the River Tyne back towards the centre of Newcastle.  I was slightly underwhelmed when I spotted the Tyne Bridge. For some reason it looks massive whenever it’s shown during the Great North Run.IMG_3313

IMG_3315At least it didn’t rain…

As I’d bought the cheapest train tickets I could find, I had a long wait for my train back to Birmingham. I walked around the main shopping area and then headed back to wait in the relative safety of the train station.

The train back was busy but for some reason no one wanted to sit next to me. Perhaps I smelt really bad? I’ve no idea. By the time I got home I was shattered.

I had planned on going to Walsall parkrun the following morning, but I managed to sleep through my alarm clock.

It was my birthday on Monday and as an added bonus it was a Bank Holiday. It was also raining when I dragged myself out of bed at 7am.

I then did something I hadn’t been able to do since February. I pulled on some running gear and headed out for a run. Although my run was definitely more of a jog than a run, my troublesome heel behaved itself and I managed to plod along for a couple of miles without having to walk. I felt so good I could have probably run for 30 minutes but I was sensible and didn’t try to do too much.IMG_2609As I forgot to take a sweaty selfie after my birthday run, here’s one I took earlier.

A really positive start to my birthday.

Mum picked me up at midday treated me to a lovely lunch at Bistrot Pierre. After discovering that mussels didn’t feature on the menu, I opted for Steak-Frites and Crème brûlée. Although my steak was slightly overcooked and a little dry the Crème brûlée was amazing.

Unfortunately, I was a crap blogger and forgot to take any photos. Next time!

I spent the rest of my birthday feeling a little disappointed that I hadn’t seen the majority of my family or any of my close friends. My parents divorced when I was very young, and I very rarely see my father. My sister lives in Cheshire and my brother is busy renovating his house and also lives miles away. My friends are all married and have children and were sensibly making the most of the Bank Holiday weekend.

Apologies for the self-pitying, my birthday celebrations did improve the next day. I’ll share my experiences of Hythe in another post.

If you could go anywhere you wanted for your birthday, where would you go and what would you do? I’m rather demanding and would love to spend the day shopping in New York.

What’s your favourite meal? Mine is Moules-frites.

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.  

Rants and raves #11

**Disclaimer: this post was written while the author was experiencing heel pain and race envy. As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

It’s been a while since I wrote my last Rants and raves post. Now that it’s April and I’m still injured, I feel the need to have a rant. As always I’ll start with rave.

Rave: Diet Coke

I think I’ve mentioned my slight Diet Coke addiction several times in my blog before. I recently realised my addiction was getting out of control when I looked inside my recycling bin and estimated that most of my recycling was Diet Coke cans. I would buy a multipack of Diet Coke – for some reason it had to be cans – and during an average day would easily drink 5-6 cans.

A few years ago I managed to stop drinking Diet Coke for six months; I can’t remember what made me break my Diet Coke ban, but I was soon drinking 5-6 cans a day. I decided to give up drinking Diet Coke and eating chocolate for Lent. The chocolate ‘ban’ lasted two days; when I see a bar of Dairy Milk I have zero willpower. I’m pleased to report I haven’t been near a can of Diet Coke since March 1st. I found breaking my Diet Coke drinking addiction so easy I suspect that it was more an obsession than a ‘proper’ addiction. It’s just a shame I’m now drinking a lot more tea.

Rant: My lack of self-control

I’m now going to contradict myself. While I found breaking my Diet Coke addiction quite straightforward, I wish the same could be said for my eating habits. Since I’ve been injured my eating habits have been poor. I’ve been treating myself to takeaways several times a week and eating far too much junk food. As a result I’ve gained a fair amount of weight since the start of the year. I’ve always had a slightly iffy relationship with food. I‘m an emotional eater and when I feel rubbish I seem to eat rubbish.BMIMost runners seem to lose weight, I’m the opposite. 

I know there are some limitations in using the body mass index (BMI) but I find it a useful guide. Although my BMI currently sits within the ‘healthy weight’ range, I’d like it to sit slightly nearer the middle of the range.

Rave: Tall ranges

There’s another slightly fickle reason I’d like to lose weight; summer.

I’ve never been a particularly girly girl; I blame my height and the lack of clothes for ‘tall’ women when I was growing up. As a teenager, I’d spend far too much time mooching about with my friends in Miss Selfridge, Topshop, C&A and New Look. While my friends had a great time trying on loads of clothes, I would spend my time wishing I was shorter as nothing ever fitted. My options were limited to Long Tall Sally and other expensive brands, so when I wasn’t wearing my school uniform or riding gear, I lived in jeans and checked shirts. The mid 90s were awesome…DP Tall dressesA selection of three of the summery dresses available in the Dorothy Perkins tall range.

Fast forward 20 or so years and more and more high street stores now have dedicated tall ranges. Although I’d rather have been looking at running gear, last night I spent ages looking at ‘tall’ summery dresses on Dorothy Perkins, Long Tall Sally, New Look, GAP and Next. I’ve finally accepted that I’m too old for Topshop. It was great as for the first time ever I actually felt slightly overwhelmed as there were so many dresses to choose from.

Rant: Plantar Fasciitis and DNS’ing races

I’m still injured and haven’t been for a run since Tuesday February 6th. The Cambridge Half Marathon, the Seven Pools Run and the City of Birmingham 10k have all been marked down in my running diary as ‘DNS’. While I’m sure I’ll be writing ‘DNS’ next to a few more races, my heel is gradually getting better and I’m confident I’ll be running again fairly soon.

Rant: Unworn running kit

Apologies for having two consecutive rants, but as this one is directly linked to my rant about my injury woes I thought I’d get away with it! Like virtually every runner I know I love shopping for new running kit. My injury means that the running kit I was bought for Christmas is as yet unworn, and in some cases is still waiting to be unwrapped.Christmas clothesThis is possibly the most upsetting photo I’ll ever share on my blog.

I’m just thankful something made me opt for a pre-Christmas shopping spree in Long Tall Sally rather than in Niketown. Perhaps subconsciously I knew I was about to pick up an injury.

Rave: The National Running Show

And finally, some positive news. The organisers of the National Running Show are currently recruiting Ambassadors. I applied and was accepted. I’m just waiting to receive a few more details, but it would be great to see some of you in Birmingham next January.

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

Huge apologies for another rather random blog, hopefully my next post will be slightly more positive.

My Top 10 Websites for Runners

Recently, I’ve spent far, far too much time researching Plantar Fasciitis on the internet. My nickname could be Professor Plantar. The amount of information about injury rehabilitation is mind-blowing, and in a lot of cases of slightly dubious quality. As I’m sure that I’m not the only runner who spends quite a lot of time perusing the internet, I decided to share my top 10 websites for runners.

So here are my top 10 websites for runners:

1. Fetch Everyone If you want to write a blog, find an obscure local race, get advice from runners, enter competitions and monitor your progress (or lack of progress) as a runner, then visit Fetch Everyone. I’ve been a member since 2005 and have made some great friends through the site.

Awesome features and articles include:

2. Runner’s World Although the recent improvements to the site haven’t been popular, Runner’s World remains one of my favourite running sites. If you need advice and support you’ll find it on the forums. If you need to find a 10K race in April search the extensive race listings. The wide range of articles written by experts and occasional competitions are an added bonus.

Recent articles have included:

3. The Running Bug The running site that I have a bit of an ongoing love hate relationship with. I love the useful articles, competitions and forums. I don’t love my online stalker and the fact that I’ve never, ever won a Running Bug competition. Hopefully 2017 will be my lucky year!

Recent articles have included:

4. Strava Strava allows runners and cyclists to track and analyse their training, measure their performance against other athletes, share their training on social media and much more. I’m too tight to pay for a premium membership, so I’m aware that I’m missing out on most of the awesomeness of Strava. When I find myself a ‘proper’ job and can run I’ll be upgrading my account. On a side note, if you want to read about ‘runners’ setting CRs on bikes,  the twitter account @stravawankers is well worth following.

5. Running Heroes Back in October, the Running Heroes website featured as a ‘rave’ in one of my Rants and raves posts. Such an honour! Running Heroes works with organisations and brands to encourage and reward runners. The site is really easy to use and I’ve collated a lot of points and completed 30 challenges. While I’ve never been selected as a random prize winner, I remain quietly optimistic.

The site also allows runners to exchange their points for a wide range of rewards. I can’t wait for my running clothes ‘ban’ to come to an end so that I can exchange some of my points.

Running Heroes

6. GB Mapometer Although strictly speaking GB Mapometer isn’t a running site, it is a useful resource for runners. I used the site to plot all of my longer runs when I was training for the Great Birmingham Run. The site allows users to accurately plot and measure routes, and provides an indication of the elevation of each route. Useful for avoiding hills in the final few miles of a long training run.

7. parkrun An essential resource for all parkrunners. Although the site can be quite slow during the weekend when a bazillion runners are searching for their latest parkrun result, if you are a new runner and want to take part in your local parkrun, you need to visit the site to register. The site contains an interactive map which illustrates every parkrun event in the UK and links to the individual parkrun event pages, a blog, information on sponsors, results, some information on the parkrun team and a link to the parkrun shop.

parkrun

8. NHS Couch to 5K If I had to recommend one running website to people just starting out as a runner, it would be the NHS Couch to 5K site. The site is free and contains a wealth of information for both beginner and slightly more experienced runners. There are links to download the Couch to 5K app, weekly Couch to 5K podcasts, a simple to use race finder and the dedicated Couch to 5K forums. Finally, the series of guides for runners are a useful invaluable resource.

The most popular articles include:

9. Made with Sisu I’ve been using Made with Sisu to generate data visualisations based on my training runs for quite some time. I almost ordered a print of my 2016 training runs but held back when I realised it would probably end up sitting in a corner somewhere gathering dust. I reckon that this site is probably a must for runners attempting to complete the six World Marathon Major events, the example Tokyo Marathon print looks pretty awesome.

10. The Running Blog – The Guardian The final site to make it into my ‘Top 10’ is the Guardian’s Running Blog. Described as a blog on “…all things running, from jogs around the park to ultra marathons”, there is definitely something for runners of all standards and distances. I love the ‘How was your weekend running?’ and the ‘Friday flyer’ series; some of the comments left by runners and jealous non-runners are highly entertaining.

Recent articles have included:

Hopefully some of the websites and running resources I’ve summarised will be useful to some of you. I also hope that my rambling hasn’t bored you all to tears.

What are your favourite running websites? Did I miss out any really awesome sites?

Which website do you use to search for race listings? I’ve always tended to use Runner’s World find the new and improved site quite hard to use.