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Running column: A selfish streak is coming out for Mark Armstrong ahead of marathon D-Day

Mark Armstrong on a training run in Long Stratton...again. Picture: Alison Armstrong Photography

Mark Armstrong on a training run in Long Stratton...again. Picture: Alison Armstrong Photography

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The marathon is inching closer and closer and I’m edgy to say the least.

A lot of miles have now been run in preparation for the Robin Hood Marathon in just over two weeks’ time and the hypochondriac, cranky stage is just beginning to kick in.

Don’t cough near me…

Don’t jump on me…

Don’t leave that toy there for me to fall over…

I’m becoming more and more difficult to live with – spare a thought for my wife and young daughter over the next couple of weeks.

It’s difficult not be so self-involved so near to an event you’ve trained hard for.

You’re tired from all the training and only really want to focus on the event you’ve been building towards.

MORE: It’s difficult making time to fit running into your life

If you’re not careful you can neglect other elements of your life, leaving it to others to pick up the slack – it’s selfish and it’s not like me…but it’s also not forever.

My family support system has been in full swing over the last couple of weeks and my dad is coming up this weekend to help look after my daughter whilst I fit in my final long run before the taper phase begins.

Twenty-one miles will be undertaken this weekend (hopefully) and I still get a nervous excitement around the prospect of running long distances.

The end of each run is met with a sense of relief, more than ever at the end of a long run when you’re obviously more prone to pick up some kind of overuse injury.

But I also need to think carefully about where I’m going to be running. I ran a loop around Long Stratton six times last weekend to get the miles in.

It’s good to factor in a monotonous run as part of your training to “zone out” mentally during a race when it gets to the very uncomfortable latter stages…whatever distance you’re 
running.

But I can’t do it this weekend – the prospect of running round Long Stratton even just once more is enough for me to throw my trainers out the window.

A new route will be mapped out, probably around Norwich, but to be honest where I’m heading is of secondary importance.

I need to nail down my bête noire when it comes to any sort of race and it’s become a dirty word in my training – pace.

The success or relative failure in Nottingham will come down to this and I’m not sure where I am with it. I think I’m in better shape than I was before Edinburgh, but can I risk going off at a pace I might not be able to sustain for the whole duration?

I won’t have my wife to effectively drag me over the finish line this time if I completely detonate…

Should I adopt a run-walk strategy? I’ve had a certain amount of success with this in training but I don’t want to finish the race feeling I could have gone quicker.

MORE: How a run-walk strategy could get you to the start line

There’s still so much to consider with 16 days to go and demonstrates that I’ve still got a lot to learn in running a marathon.

Perhaps I need to run a few more to find out…

Best get this one out the way first.

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