Running column: It’s time to stop eating Milky Ways and get back to training

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 - Credit: Archant

I'm living in running limbo.

With no event in my diary until March 2018 I feel like I'm sitting around waiting to start training.

I can't begin it too early for fear of injury…but I also don't want to let my fitness levels drop too much and leave myself with too much catching up to do.

It's frustrating.

Throw in the fact I'm struggling to kick this cold into touch and I've turned into a bit of a grump recently.

I could see this coming…I booked up so many events this autumn that I barely gave myself enough time to think. I left the training programme to Neil Featherby and just did as I was told – it was great.

But now it's over and I feel like I'm just waiting for a few weeks to pass before I can properly resume training.

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I'm supposed to be 'ticking over' but it takes a lot more discipline than I bargained for.

MORE: Why are you posting that workout on social media? Without the fear of not doing my absolute best at an upcoming event I'm dangerously close to becoming a bit lazy…I'm blaming the cold but it's safe to say that my exercise regime has fallen off the wagon over the last few days. That's if you don't include such things as 'getting up from the sofa' or 'finding the tv remote'.

The diet has gone to pot as well – my wife bought some 'fun size' Milky Ways for my daughter Lara recently - it was certainly fun eating three of them at once but it won't be half as much of a laugh running them off.

I've got to book a couple more events for early next year and keep them firmly at the forefront of my mind.

If I slack off, and continue stealing chocolate from Lara, then it's going to be a very difficult couple of months at the start of next year to get my fitness back to a level I'm happy with.

I want to make significant improvements on the times I ran this year but that can only happen if I set up a decent block of training with some quality training now.

MORE: How parkrun gave Mark the running bugI need to build some solid foundations now to set up smashing a few events in 2018.

This year has taught me a lot in my training – the main thing being that you can't get by on a few weeks worth of good running. It takes months of preparation, adhering to a structured programme, if you want to make a significant dent on your personal best.

I'm not an athlete – anyone that knows my injury history will also be acutely aware of this. I have to fit in what is essentially a hobby around my responsibilities as a parent and a husband.

But they will be getting a far better version of me if I'm happy with my running in the New Year.

Of course running isn't all about setting new bests – as long as you're enjoying it then who cares what you do?

But that's how I get my enjoyment out of it – pushing myself and seeing just how far or how quick I can go.

It won't last forever – I'm 35 now – who knows how much longer I've got before old father time has a little word in my ear telling me to slow down?

But for now at least I want to see how fast I can go next year in a few events.

Now, where's that event calendar?

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