A rejection, an interview and the start of half marathon training

I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I had a quiet but productive weekend of housework, drinking, cooking, studying, eating and interview prep. I also managed to watch some athletics and England lose a couple of cricket matches.

I’ll be completely honest with you; parts of last week were rubbish. On Tuesday I received a rejection for the hydrology job I’d applied for a second time. The moment I spotted the automated email, I knew my application hadn’t been successful.

Thank you for your application to the Technical Specialist position.

I regret to inform you that having carefully reviewed your details, we will not be taking your application any further on this occasion.”

I read the rejection email, cried for a few minutes and then started to feel angry. I then pulled myself together and emailed a polite request for feedback. Although I know that I couldn’t have improved my application and have all the required skills and experience, it will be helpful to know why I was rejected, twice.

Later on the same day I received an email inviting me to an interview later this week. Rather ironic considering I didn’t think I’d get an interview in a million years.

So far my interview prep has comprised of the basics such as researching the company, its operating area and the main pressures on present and future resources. It’s also involved me trying on several pairs of smart trousers, failing to squeeze my fat bum into any of my smart trousers and subsequently having to buy a new pair of smart trousers.

Please let the new trousers arrive before Wednesday!

gbr-large2x

My 16-week half marathon training plan started today. Earlier this morning I managed to complete a not exactly challenging 10 minute run. Preparing for the run took a lot longer than the actual run itself. At least my right foot felt reasonably niggle-free before, during and after the run.

I’m debating writing weekly training updates like I did last year. I know that some people find reading training updates boring. Personally, I find reading about other people’s training both interesting and helpful. I suspect that having the option of looking back on what I did 12 months ago will be quite beneficial.

I’d better stop waffling and get back to my interview preparation.

Did you have a good weekend? Although I enjoyed the short heat wave, being able to sleep again at night is brilliant.

Do you find weekly training update blog posts boring? Please be honest, I won’t be offended if you say yes!

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**

Book Review: Running Science by John Brewer

I hope that everyone had a good weekend, I’ve got something slightly different today; a book review.

The last book review I produced was for a lengthy academic book on the science of environmental flows. To be honest, the experience of having to read and review a 424 page book in three days put me off the process of reviewing books.

However, when I was sent the press release for a new book – Running Science – I knew that I would enjoy reviewing the book as it covers two of my favourite subjects.

Running Science

I’ll start with a huge spoiler.  Running Science is by far and away one of the best running books I’ve read. I found the book so engaging I couldn’t put it down and read it from cover-to-cover in one sitting. Pretty unusual for me as I am normally very easily distracted.

Running Science contains contributions by several different researchers and sports scientists and is edited by John Brewer, Professor of Applied Sports Science at St Mary’s University in London (follow John on twitter @sportprofbrewer). The book looks at the scientific facts behind the world’s best performances and includes insights that offer you the analysis to help you raise your game.

At its most basic level, running is deceptively simple. All you need to start is a decent pair of running shoes and some comfortable clothes. However, after a while most runners will want to learn more about the many factors – for example the weather – that affect running performance. Science plays an important role in most, if not all, of these factors.

photo

John Brewer and his team of expert contributors read through hundreds of scientific studies on running – a detailed reference list is provided – and broke their findings down into eight chapters; (1) The runner’s body, (2) Perfect motion, (3) Fuel and fluid, (4) Running psychology, (5) Training and racing, (6) Equipment, (7) Running well and (8) The big questions. Each chapter explores a different aspect of the sport through a series of questions for example:

Do ice baths aid recovery after long or intense runs? Are there physical limits to human marathon running achievement? The answer to each question is presented in a straightforward, accessible manner with accompanying infographics.

Rather than attempting to review the entire book, I decided to highlight four of the articles I found particularly interesting. Although the quality of my photographs is poor – sorry! – I decided to include them to show how each article is well laid out, includes infographics and is very easy to follow. If you want to read the text you’ll have to purchase the book.

How much does body weight affect running performance?

The combination of an unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol and being unable to run has left me feeling out of shape. I’m definitely carrying too much weight at the moment.

Weight performance

This article looks at the results of a study that explored the effect of excess weight on running performance. Although carrying excess weight slowed down the six runners who were tested, the added weight also reduced their maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) relative to their body weight.

Can running shoes help with running form?

Like most runners, once I found a brand and type of running shoe that suited my running style, I’ve tended to stick with it. I do sometimes worry that always wearing motion control shoes when I run is weakening my feet. I also wonder what would happen if I attempted to run in minimalist running shoes.

Running shoes

Although this article isn’t particularly technical, it does provide a useful guide to the different types of running shoe. It also highlights the five elements a runner needs to consider when selecting running shoes. I hadn’t even considered two of these elements.

Can compression clothing improve performance and prevent injury?

I regularly wear compression socks when I run longer distances, and find that they help to reduce muscle fatigue. However, I’m aware that a lot of runners think that compression clothing is a waste of time and a gimmick.

Compression clothing

Although, from this article, it appears that the jury is still out on the efficacy of compression clothing, if as a runner you think compression helps then it’s worth considering including compression wear in your running gear.

Is it advisable to continue to train when injured?

I’m not the only runner who has chosen to ignore the occasional niggle. If I’d been given a pound every time a runner asked if they could run through the pain, I’d be a multi-millionaire.

Training when injured

When I read this article, I loved the Pain – it’s all in the mind infographic; apparently ultramarathoners really are masters at coping with extreme physiological stress. The article concludes that although it is possible to run through an injury, it depends on you and your unique brain.

If in doubt, get it checked out!

The Verdict

I would highly recommend Running Science to runners of all standards. I can guarantee that even experienced runners, who think they know everything there is to know about running, will find this book useful. I’ve made room in my already overflowing bookcase for this book as I am certain I will be referring back to it on a regular basis.

Running Science is published by Ivy Press and has a RRP of £20 and is available from all major bookstores.

**Full disclosure: I was sent an advance copy of Running Science for free in return for an honest review. I did not receive any payment for this review and as always all opinions and photographs are my own**

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.

A quiet but productive weekend

I hope that everyone had a relaxing weekend. Although the weather was rubbish in Four Oaks on Saturday, the sun finally made a welcome appearance yesterday.

I had a really, really quiet weekend. I think that sometimes it’s important to chill out and do very little. I allowed myself two days off from job hunting, and now feel mentally refreshed and ready to tackle my next load of job applications.

I’m looking after my friend’s house this week so spent most of Saturday morning cleaning two houses. I was left with strict instructions to “eat whatever I want…” so I ate far too much. As an added ‘bonus’ my friend has Sky TV. This meant that I spent several hours on Saturday watching cricket and athletics.

Slightly unrelated, but I love how Nike have kitted out gold medallists from Rio in different gear to the rest of their sponsored athletes. Even the famous Nike swoosh is gold.Diamond League 1

[Source]

On Saturday evening I switched on BBC1 ready for my weekly Casualty fix.  I know that I’m sad but I’m easily pleased and love both Casualty and Holby City. As you can imagine I was horrified to discover that Eurovision had replaced Casualty. Devastating! Hopefully Holby City won’t be cancelled on Tuesday evening…

Yesterday morning mum called round for a quick coffee and chat. She is meant to be having her fifth and hopefully final operation on a dodgy vein in her thigh this morning. I just hope that the recent cyber-attack doesn’t result in her operation being cancelled for a third time.

Before lunch I caught up on some slightly overdue blogmin (blog related admin) and worked my way through the ‘birthday cake for one’ my brother had given me earlier in the week.Birthday cake for 1Although it tasted amazing, I’m not sure eating the whole thing in one sitting was sensible. My lack of common sense continued when I decided that the best time to work through my strength and conditioning routine was straight after eating too much cake.

I also included a few of my ‘favourite’ Plantar Fasciitis stretches just to ensure that I made myself feel nauseous.  PF stretches

[Source]

After a quick two hour nap I spent an hour gardening and then headed out for a quick walk around the top end of Sutton Park. I had originally planned on going for a run yesterday but my left calf was still feeling sore and I didn’t want to risk yet another injury.

I spent the evening cooking, drafting out a couple of blog posts, packaging up my eBay sales, writing my ‘things to do list’ for the week ahead and relaxing. I definitely feel ready for the week ahead now.

So apologies for sharing this rather dull post. Not all weekends are exciting but then that’s life. I only wrote this post as I think it’s important to highlight the fact it is okay to be boring and to chill out from time to time. It’s all about balance.

Did you have an enjoyable weekend?

Do you like to have the occasional quiet and relaxed weekend?         

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**