Tag Archives: SportArt compression

A review of SportArt Compression products

2 Mar

I’ve been trying out a range of exciting new products recently, including three items from SportART:

  • Compress socks
  • Calf guards
  • Insoles

SportART is a relatively new company set up by a pair of Ironman triathletes. The first product they developed was insoles. They came up with a technique to analyse human feet and develop ‘sports-anatomical insoles for different arch types’. These insolves are significantly cheaper custom-made insoles.

I put the insoles into an old pair of trainers that I have. I’m terrible at keeping records, so I’m not sure when I bought the shoes or how many miles I’ve done in them. (I don’t log into Strava often enough to make use of the tools here that can tell  me how many mild I’ve done in a particular pair of shoes).

I couldn’t feel the insoles after putting them into my shoes, but that was good as it showed me that they fitted. I had wondered whether I would need to cut them to fit my shoes, but they were perfect out of the box. I’ve only tried custom mounded insoles once before, when I first went to sweatshop. I only found out their price after having them added to shoes, and I had to turn them down as they were so expensive.

I rotate through using several pairs of trainers, so have been wearing the insoles for over a month now. They have reinvigorated an older pair of shoes and have provided my feet with good support on long training runs, so if you are struggling with foot pain or need greater support, you might want to try a pair.

SportART compression garments were developed by a CompresSport Developer. I’ve tried CompresSport calf guards before, so I was interested to be able to try out these products to see how they compare.

The socks are made of a soft, thick fabric, but they weren’t too difficult to put on. I had measured myself carefully, but as with all ‘knee-high’ running socks, they were slightly too long for me. I’m 5′ 5″ tall (1m 66cm) and believe that I woul need to have calves that are an inch/2cm+ taller for these not to turn over at the top.

The socks come in a choice of two colours: white or black. I tend to avoid white because of the challenges of keeping white clothes looking clean, but these have washed well and remained white.

The socks were comfortable to run in and provided a moderate level of compression, however, I found the toe box rather oddly-shaped so I had to adjust them on longer runs. (You can see where my toes are in the picture below – my little toes are not in the narrow toe panel).

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The final product that I tried  was a pair of compression calf guards (paired with black socks in the images above and below). This was my favourite product and one that I would strongly recommend and would buy in future. The fabric felt soft and smooth and gave a good level of compression.

Badger Farm CC6 2017

Have you tried any compression garments or specialist insoles? Which brands do you like? Have you tried any SportART products?

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Back on track for a spring marathon

20 Jan

Time is passing so quickly these days. There is so much that I want to blog about and never enough time!

I had intended to go to Buggy Mums on Thursday last week, but the weather forecast was very bad. I knew that the venue (Weston Shore) is quite exposed, so I really dithered about whether to go or not – in the end I didn’t go as I thought it wouldn’t be fair on Baby M. I felt disappointed about it, especially as the weather wasn’t nearly as bad as predicted in the end.

On Saturday, I went to parkrun. I was feeling ready to push hard and as I wasn’t running with anyone, I knew I wouldn’t be chatting much. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my Garmin and as Stu was planning to walk, he hadn’t bothered to bring his. I tried hard and thought I had finished in quite a good time. I asked the people who were immediately behind me in the queue what their times were – one said 27:37 and the other said 28:02, so I felt confident that I had got another sub 28 minute parkrun time. In the end my official result was 28:08. I was a little disappointed, but with 916 runners, the timekeepers have a very hard job.

parkrun 14th January 2017

I was 103/349 females and 17/53 in my age category.

As I ran on Saturday, it was my turn to walk on Sunday. On alternating weeks, Stu and I help to lead sessions for Sunday Runday in conjunction with ABP Southampton Half Marathon.

There’s a great group of leaders, most of whom have helped out for the previous two years

Sunday Runday Run Leaders

© Rees Leisure

Sunday Runday Run Leaders cheering

© Rees Leisure

The schedule for the slowest group was 4 miles at a 12-13 minute mile pace. I was confident that I could walk that quickly, but if not, I knew that I could get myself back

Speed walking

© Rees Leisure

Sunday Runday tail runners

© Rees Leisure

I really enjoyed my speedwalk and also liked getting to meet new people, including Sarah who blogs at Effing and Jeffing to the Stones. Thanks to Sarah for taking a great selfie of some of our group.

Sarah's Sunday Runday selfie

In the evening, I went out for another training session with Lou and Mel. They’re doing Couch to 5k over 12 months instead of 12 weeks to guard against injuries (they’re spending a month on each weekly schedule). I took baby M with me. The Couch to 5k programme consists of short intervals with walk breaks. I couldn’t quite keep up with the others when they were running, but maintained my pace during the walk breaks, so that I started each interval with them. We did just over 4.5km in the dark.

Speedwalking with Lou and Mel

Monday was an easy day with just a 3 mile walk to a mother and baby group (and 3 miles back).

Buggy walking on the Common

On Tuesday, Stuart came home from work early so that I was able to go out for a long run. Unfortunately, I had lost track of time at a friend’s house and had to rush home and change really quickly. I then had to run down the The Common (a couple of miles away) to meet up with my friend, Pete. He’s very kindly agreed to do long training runs with me for Southampton marathon, even though he’s a much better runner than I am.

I wasn’t sure what to wear as I knew it would get dark whilst I was out and it also seemed quite chilly. In the end I went for a t-shirt and shorts with my new Sport Art calf sleeves and a headband. I also wrapped my head torch around my wrist as I didn’t want to start my run with it on my head.

SportArt compression calf sleeves

SportArt compression calf sleeves

Pete had planned a lovely run that took us around much of Southampton, including a lovely waterside path that I’ve never been on before. It’s not easy planning a long run route that doesn’t include a lot of the Southampton marathon route, so Pete did a great job.

We had a couple of minor pauses for clothing adjustments and road crossings, but I only walked once. There is a very steep section by Woodmill that is only about 50m long. I knew that if I walked that section, I would have enough energy to run the rest of the route.

First post-baby long run

First post baby long run Garmin shot

It wasn’t quite 10 miles (nor was it quite 90 minutes), but I don’t think my pace was too bad for my first run of that distance since June 1st!

It was back to Buggy Mums on The Common on Wednesday. It was a mild day, so there was another large group of about 22 people.

Buggy Mums on The Common

We did a variety of exercises using exercise balls and resistance bands.

Exercise balls and resistance bands

Yet again, we were able to work to our own ability. I was surprised that I wasn’t stiff after my long run the night before.

The following day, I got myself organised to go straight to Weston Shore for another Buggy Mums class. I wasn’t sure where the group met, so I arrived early. I had plenty of time to stroll along the waterfront, which was just as well as I had parked at the opposite end of the park from where everyone met.

Walking along Weston Shore Beautiful Weston Shore Wrapped up at the start

I’d had to scrape ice off my car before I left home, so I’d layered up… it was a pleasant surprise that the sun was out and it was quite a few degrees warmer than my home on the other side of the water.

Sunshine on Weston Shore

The group on Thursday was much smaller than the previous day. There were just 8 of us. We did a warm up along the front and then a variety of bodyweight exercises using the low wall, including tricep dips and press ups. We also did some step ups and mountain climbers.

Further down the path we did a circuit session with some squat jumps, jumping jacks, and inchworms before heading off again to the ‘beach’. I was dreading going onto the shingle as I always manage to get pebbles in my shoes. This week I got a pebble in my slippers. I was indoors. They are boots. How?!

We did a variety of intervals on the shingle, including a number of reps going backwards. Then we did some core work lying on a smooth part of the path.

I particularly enjoyed this class as the sun was out and I had a chance to chat to a couple of the others.

Afterwards, I enjoyed a steady stroll back through the park.

A lovely bench by Weston Shore Baby M in the sunshine at Weston Shore Happy selfie at Weston Shore

Tomorrow is another parkrun day before marshalling a cross-country race on Sunday.

What have you got planned for this weekend?

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Big round up

9 Jan

It feels like ages since I’ve had a chance to blog. Christmas was hectic and baby M takes up an awful lot of time (who knew it was possible to sit doing nothing but watch a baby for hours!)

On Christmas Eve, Stuart, M and I were in Cornwall. I had found out that there was a new parkrun at Trelissick, near to Feock, but the inclement weather conditions meant that it might be very challenging with a buggy, so we decided to try to alternative route at Penrose parkrun. We’ve only done it out on the coastal past previously, but it’s currently on a flat tarmac path, which seemed like a more sensible option for the buggy.

It was Stu’s turn to walk with the buggy, so I put on my festive SOAS cycling jersey and some shorts. I persuaded Stu to take his festive antlers with him. Initially he was undecided about wearing them, but when he saw that everyone else was in fancy dress, he put them on:

Christmas Eve at Penrose parkrun

The event was heaving in comparison with when we have visited previously – there were 335 runners, which was over 200 more than in most weeks. Unfortunately, this meant that it was a slow start. I was hoping that the relatively flat course would make it easy for me to beat my post baby PB of 28:15. The course was also far muddier than I had expected. It took me almost two minutes before I could start jogging and even then I had to weave around people.

I finally managed to get moving more quickly. I could hear the man in the inflatable turkey suit just behind me, so I tried to pick up the pace. The course is currently an out and back, with an incline up to the turn around point. As we hit the incline ‘turkey man’ passed me. I was able to overtake on the way back down, but it wasn’t long before he sped past me again – oh well, never mind. I was also keeping an eye out for Stu and M. They were doing very well and were ahead of quite a few others.

The return leg was much easier as the crowd had thinned out. I could see the finish, but it involved going around a muddy corner and across a patch of grass.

Christmas Eve parkrun 2016

It wasn’t a PBPB, but I felt quite pleased anyway. I was 53/147 female runners and 6/24 in my Age Group.

After I’d caught my breath, I jogged back to meet Stu and M. They managed to beat 24 other parkrunners, which is a great result as they walked the entire event.

Stu and I had hoped to get out and about a bit at Christmas, but Stu came down with a heavy cold and we had so many relatives to visit that it was nigh on impossible to fit in any running, although we did go on a long walk to buy pasties 🙂

By New Year’s Eve, we were back in Southampton, which meant that we were able to take part in Southampton parkrun. It was Stu’s turn to run, so I got to walk with M’s buggy. My friend, Caro, caught up with us partway around, so I had a lovely social walk, and also managed to get a walking PB 🙂

New Year's Eve parkrun

I then had a dilemma. New Year’s Day was an extra parkrun day, so I knew that I could do either Netley or Eastleigh parkrun at 9am before doing Southampton parkrun at 10:30am. However, my next parkrun was a (minor) milestone: #200. In the end, Stu, M and I went out for a party on New Year’s Eve and then decided to have a lie in, so that I was able to do my 200th run at Southampton.

At the start, I met up with my friend, Pete, who agreed to run with me. Pete’s a stronger runner, but he’d had a very late night, so didn’t want to push himself too much.

During the first lap, we saw our friend, Kirsty, so she stopped and chatted to use for a while before heading off – she was in the middle of a long run.

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My photographer friend, Paul was out on the course, so all of the photos from my 200th parkrun were taken by Paul A. Hammon 🙂

I had decided to wear my parkrun 100 t-shirt, but it was a mistake as it was far too hot to wear black!!! I was also wearing my Hoka One Ones – I like them a lot more than I thought I would!

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Stuart race walking with baby M.

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Pete and I had been chatting a lot during the first lap, but the second lap felt harder. I had said to Pete before the start that I wanted a PBPB of under 28 minutes, but I started to wonder whether it would be possible.

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I was so pleased when we crossed the line in a time of 27:54 – a PBPB!

parkrun 01 January 2017

I was 80/218 females and 19/47 in my age group.

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This weekend was also a busy weekend. On Saturday, I walked Southampton parkrun with M. It was a busy event with its second highest ever attendance of 884.

I decided to wear some new kit. I’ve been sent some fantastic compression socks and insoles by SportArt, so I’ll be blogging about them soon.

Sport Art compression socks

I also wore a top from Craft that I received just before Christmas:

Craft base layer

Again, I’ll be writing a review of it as soon as I have the opportunity.

I also took the opportunity to try out a new gadget – a phone holder for my buggy – so I decided to play Pokemon Go whilst walking. This meant that I didn’t set a new walking PB, but I wasn’t far off.

parkrun 7th January 2017

Yesterday, I took part in my first cross-country race of 2017. It was also my first race since having baby M. It was the 5th race in the CC6 series and I was looking forward to running with clubmates from Southampton Tri Club, although I was a little worried that I might struggle to complete 5 miles as I’ve not run that far for a very long time.

Badger Farm CC6 group photo

It was quite a busy race, so I tried not to start too close to the front. It was also rather damp and misty, but warmer than the photos suggest.

Start of Badger Farm CC6
Stuart had agreed to look after M, so I was able to borrow his STC vest. I need to buy my own soon! I was also trying out some compression calf guards from Sport Art – I’ll be blogging more about them later.

The course was different from in previous years, which were usually two laps. I much preferred the new route, but there were some long uphill stretches as well as some steep parts. I loved the downhills, but they tended to be very muddy and a lot of other runners were wearing inadequate shoes, which slowed them down.

Badger Farm CC6 2017

In this league, only 3 women are needed to score as a team, however all abilities are welcome. I assumed that I was one of the last runners for my team, and I was correct… however, I hadn’t realised that Claire was just behind me until she over took me in the final 500m. I finished in 57th place out of 80, so there’s definitely some work to be done on my running, but I was pleased to complete the distance and to see lots of friends from STC, Lordshill and various other running clubs.

Post CC6 Badger Farm

I’ve not talked about New Year’s Resolutions because I’ve not come up with anything solid this year… however, I’ve got some exciting plans afoot regarding my nutrition, so I’ll be sharing more about them in the coming weeks. I’m also still deciding on my A races for 2016 as I need to know how much free time I have for training and I want to be fair to Stuart.I may take part in some races as a pacer as I really enjoyed it last year.

I’m hoping to get back to swimming soon and went out on my first post baby bike ride recently, with my friend Kim. Later this week, I’m going to be going to a free fitness class: Buggy Mums. I’ve no idea what to expect, so I’ll be reporting back on it.

What have you been up to recently? Have you set yourself any big goals for 2017?

 

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