After finishing a long run recently my mind almost immediately turned to what I was going to have to eat. 

It’s one of the few times in the week now where I allow myself a bit of a treat as I try to be more conscious of what I’m eating and perhaps more pertinently, how much I’m eating. 

A group of friends and myself have got into the habit of visiting Norwich cafe, Nourish, after runs to refuel on delicious, nutritious food rustled up by the owner and former Run Norwich winner, Emma Risbey. 

Anyway, it had been a particularly hard 18-mile run and it was only after nailing a toastie that I realised that my left knee was feeling a bit tight. 

I wasn’t too concerned – I've become so used to my knees feeling tender that I don’t normally take too much notice. 

It was a few hours later that I looked down and noticed that it was twice the size of my right. Oh dear. 

‘That’s that then... you’ve had a good run of it Mark, but you’re not going to make Manchester now.’  

These were the rather unhelpful thoughts going through my mind.  

Upon getting an ice pack strapped on, I tried to be a bit more rational and not let my mind continually wander to the worst-case scenario - something I’m particularly prone to doing when I’m very tired (like after an 18-mile run...). 

With a holiday to Tenerife booked during the kids’ half-term, I thought that if a niggle had to crop up now then it was good timing to give everything a rest and see how things settle down. 

I was disappointed at the thought of not running somewhere different on holiday with the sun on my back, but I don’t expect too much sympathy...  

I tried to keep some sort of level of activity in the hotel gym as I patiently waited for the swelling to come down. 

Unfortunately, it took until the very last day of the holiday for me to be confident enough to have a little wander. It was one of those runs where you wonder if you really should be doing this but I’m glad to report that the knee held up okay. 

There is certainly a common theme though among my running friends; we’re all hurting physically and nursing an ache or pain somewhere. 

I’m not going to say it’s nothing to worry about but it’s normal to be at the stage where we are pushing our bodies to see what they can take. It’s natural to push a bit too much if you want to see just what you can achieve over the marathon distance whether that manifests as a time or completing the distance (no mean feat in itself!).  

The key is to recognise when you need to ease off the mileage. If you can afford to see a sports therapist or a physio for a rub-down or a bit of a check-over then I would highly recommend it. 

We’re not always the best judges of when to run or not. 

So my knee is feeling better but it’s not completely right (when is it ever?). But it has put me in a bit of a spot ahead of the Cambridge Half Marathon on Sunday, which I had identified as a key race in ascertaining what to look for in Manchester in just over a month’s time. 

As things stand the knee feels a lot better, the swelling has gone but I’m not naive enough to think that everything is tickety-boo. If I run hard on Sunday, then there is the real possibility that training could be compromised for Manchester in the final few weeks of building mileage. 

Good decision-making, whether that be in training or during actual races, is a key part to being a decent runner alongside other qualities such as patience and consistency. 

I just hope my knee doesn’t give me a decision to make come Sunday. 

Here’s hoping.

Good luck to anyone else racing Cambridge this weekend - come and say hello if you see me (and wish my knee well...).