Running column: If I waited until I was completely injury free then I’d never race!

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

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


Running can be a punishing pastime.

If you’re unsure whether you’ve got a biomechanical weakness then start running and you’ll soon find out.

Any regular reader of this column will be well aware of the injuries I’ve had to manage – not all of them brought about by running!

But the run-walk column I wrote last week generated a bit of debate for some around why anyone would get to the start line of a marathon, or any race, without being “100pc”.

It got me thinking whether I should be building up towards Nottingham at the end of the month given the knee/IT band issues/hamstring/broken toe (take your pick) I’ve had.

But the overriding feeling was that if I waited to be 100pc before lining up to race then I never would.

If I’m going to run another marathon then the time is now.

I can understand the viewpoints of other runners who would say if they can’t do their absolute best then they would rather pull out.

But I feel differently – it would be a boring old life if we all thought the same wouldn’t it?

I must admit I don’t mind feeling a bit of discomfort during or after a run – I get a perverse pleasure in it.

A lot of us lead such cosseted lives now that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to physically struggle.

If I don’t take myself out of my comfort zone then it can be a bit of a numb existence.

MORE: Ever thought about trying a run-walk strategy?

I like pushing myself to my physical limits – and I know I will be doing this at Nottingham.

In an ideal world I want to extend these physical limits to go faster but that will come in due time. I know I need to get a more settled training block behind me in the same way a footballer prepares during pre-season.

I saw a quote on social media this week stating: “It never gets easier, you only get faster.” – I like that. In some ways I don’t want it to get easier, pushing your boundaries is all part of the fun.

I wasn’t pleased with my time at Edinburgh but I’m proud to have finished it. It hurt...a lot. But I got through it and part of this running lark is finding out more about yourself from every race or training run.

When I started running I wanted to do it all the time, every day. Unfortunately that’s only possible for a select few athletes who dedicate their lives to conditioning their body in such a way that they can push their bodies to the limits normal people can’t get anywhere near.

Like anything, if you want to get better then running is something you have to work on to make it a sustainable hobby. Neglect the conditioning part of your training at your peril.

MORE: How important is it to cross-train for runners?

If you get injured, it’s important to let it heal but it’s also essential to ask yourself why you got injured and what you can do to prevent that from happening in the future.

If you go back to doing the same things you did before the injury then the likelihood is that you’re going to break down again.

Who was it that said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

Some clever bloke called Albert Einstein.

With that kind of thinking old Albie would have made a decent runner…

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