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!

SOLE Active Medium Footbed review

Although I’ve always been a rather injury-prone runner, over the last five years I’ve really struggled with my feet. Back in 2014 I fractured one of the metatarsals in my left foot and since the beginning of the year I’ve been struggling with plantar fasciitis. As an added bonus I recently discovered that I have weak arches.

I’ve worn customised insoles in my trainers for a number of years, so I was over the moon when I was offered the opportunity to review a pair of SOLE Active Medium footbeds.

Active Medium

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Now that I’ve been wearing the SOLE footbeds for over a month, I feel that I am in a position to write a hopefully useful review.

What is the SOLE Active Medium footbed?

Performance footbed specialist SOLE has been giving runners an edge since 2001. Last November, SOLE reinvigorated its product line with the new and improved Active Footbed range. The new footbeds have a moisture wicking top sheet and Polygiene anti-odour coating for improved hygiene and added comfort and are ideally suited to both runners and walkers. The luxury mouldable footbeds adapt through the heat of your feet and through general wear to fit perfectly.

What can the Active Medium footbed be used for?

  • To avoid aching arches and heel pain.
  • To reduce plantar fascia strain.
  • To improve balance.
  • To distribute weight and pressure equally.
  • To provide natural heel support to encourage good alignment of your feet and lower legs.

As a runner with plantar fasciitis the SOLE Active Medium footbeds sounded perfect, and after reading about the potential benefits of the footbeds I couldn’t wait to put them to the test.

The review process

When the SOLE Active Medium footbeds arrived they looked huge and I was initially worried I’d somehow managed to order the wrong size. I then placed the SOLE footbeds next to the insoles provided with the trainers and realised they were the right size; I’d temporarily forgotten that my size 9 trainers are like boats!

Sole 2

Sole 1

The SOLE footbeds came with limited instructions so I looked online and found more detailed moulding instructions here. I was given two options; to either wear mould or to heat mould my footbeds. Although heat moulding provides the highest level of customisation in the shortest amount of time, I decided to go with the simpler wear moulding approach for two reasons; (1) my oven tends to burn food and I didn’t want to burn my footbeds, and (2) I’m not very brave and tend to take the easier and safer option.

I loosened the laces a little, removed the customised footbeds I’d been using and then really struggled to push the SOLE footbeds inside my trainers. Top tip: don’t be lazy like I was and make sure you thoroughly loosen your laces, you may even need to remove the laces to fit the SOLE footbeds. Once I’d managed to wedge place the SOLE footbeds inside my trainers I was ready to go.

SOLE footbeds

In order to customise and mould my new footbeds, I started off by wearing the SOLE footbeds around the house for several days. This hopefully gave the footbeds plenty of time to adapt to my feet, giving a fit unique to my feet and dodgy arches. I then progressed to walking and after a couple of weeks running with the SOLE footbeds in my trainers. Although I couldn’t really feel the footbeds – always a positive sign with customised footbeds – both of my arches felt well supported. My running friend said that my form had improved; apparently I wasn’t doing my usual wonky runner impression.

It will be interesting to see if the SOLE footbeds are equally as effective when I’m fatigued as this is when my running form tends to go to pieces. I’ll find out soon and report back.

The Verdict

The SOLE Active Medium footbeds have definitely helped to reduce the pain in my right heel. I would be happy to recommend these footbeds to anyone struggling with plantar fasciitis, your feet will be grateful for additional, customised support.

So thanks again to SOLE for sending me a pair of Active Medium footbeds and for letting me thoroughly test them out! For more information on the footbeds please visit.

**Full disclosure: I was sent a pair of SOLE Active Medium footbeds 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**

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.

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

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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?         

Rants and raves #13

**Disclaimer: Now that I’m able to run again, I’m feeling quite chirpy so the raves should outnumber the rants. As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

Happy Thursday! I hope that everyone has had a great week so far. It’s nearly the weekend.

Rave: Lululemon Sole training shorts

A slightly indulgent rave to start with but I have fallen in love with my Lululemon Sole training shorts. Yes they were expensive and yes I could have bought several cheaper pairs of shorts for the same price. They were a birthday present and I do think it’s important to occasionally treat yourself…

The shorts feel really, really comfortable (hopefully I don’t lose too much weight too soon…), have loads of pockets to stash stuff and most importantly don’t ride up or cause the dreaded ‘chub rub’.

Rant: Sudden calf cramps

Picture the scene. You’re lying on the top of your bed, chilling out reading a book and relaxing when suddenly your calf goes into spasm. You know that the second you move the pain will intensify a bazillion times so you are kind of stuck in a painful predicament. It’s definitely a no-win situation.

This was me on Tuesday evening. One minute I was chilling reading the last chapter of Keep on Running the next I was rolling around clutching my left calf. I guess it was some sort of karma for me being lazy and lying on my bed reading rather than doing the washing-up.

My calf still feels a bit bruised now.

Rave: Chocolate éclairs

Now that I’m able to run again I’m trying to eat less rubbish and more ‘real’ food, I’m also trying to lose weight. Unfortunately, I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for chocolate éclairs.EclairI’ve tried a few different éclairs, but my favourites are the £1.00 éclairs from the fresh cake/bakery section in Sainsbury’s. Luckily for my waist and wallet they have usually sold out by the time I get to Sainsbury’s, but the other day I managed to snaffle the last one.

Rant: Noisy birds

I like the lighter mornings and the warmer weather. I dislike the birds – I think they are starlings but I’m not sure – currently living directly above my bedroom window. The baby starlings are seriously noisy and start demanding food the second it gets light.  I actually feel sorry for the parents, talk about constant pressure.

To add insult to injury, the starlings somehow managed to activate my house alarm at 05:30 on Sunday. I rarely get to sleep before midnight, so these early morning mini feathered alarm clocks are making me even crankier than usual.

Maybe I should borrow one of my mother’s cats…

Rave: Hydrologists cartoon thingy

When people discover that I’m a hydrologist, they usually know that my research has something to do with water, but don’t understand what I actually do. Neither do I 😉

One of my hydrologist friends sent me this hydrologists cartoon thingy. The hammock picture needs swapping to a picture of a riverside pub, the rest is pretty accurate.HydrologistMy research is actually quite tedious and involves a lot of reading, a lot of number crunching and some drought modelling. I very rarely get to go near an actual river.

Rant: DNS’ing races

I know that I’ve had this one before but the DNS’ing of races continues. I missed the Market Drayton 10k on Sunday and suspect that the Vitality London 10,000 will be another DNS.DNSingHopefully *fingers crossed* Great Run will allow me to ‘downgrade’ from the Birmingham International Marathon to the Great Birmingham Run.

[Update]: this seems a slightly long-winded way of doing things…

“Yes you can change to another distance if you wish, all you need to do is register and pay to secure your place in that new preferred event and let us know when you have done so. We can then withdraw/refund your original entry…”

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

How much sleep do you get during the week? I’m thinking that my 5-6 hours a night isn’t enough.

If you were given £100 would you spend it on a couple of items from Lululemon, or on loads of bits and pieces from somewhere like TK Maxx? I think I’d spend my £100 on a couple of more expensive pairs of shorts.

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**