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Running column: When is it time to abandon that training run, asks Mark Armstrong?

Mark Armstrong in action at the Colchester Half Marathon. Picture: Sussex Sport Photography

Mark Armstrong in action at the Colchester Half Marathon. Picture: Sussex Sport Photography

Sussex Sport Photography.com 2018

Sometimes it’s much easier giving out advice than taking it, says columnist Mark Armstrong

Runners are far better at dishing out advice than taking it.

Take a look at social media when someone posts something about an injury or a training query and you will get people willing to give you their advice.

The Run Anglia Facebook group is growing week on week and it’s a great place to get a bit of guidance on a running problem (even if it has to be remembered it isn’t a professional diagnosis!).

It’s much easier to look at someone’s problem dispassionately and offer suggestions. Basically, it’s good to talk.

I’ve been training hard recently, in much shorter bursts, but a few of the sessions are the sort where you wonder if your lungs are ever going get the air in quickly enough.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group here

Last week was particularly tough with several pyramid sessions before it got to Sunday and I was due to get my long run in.

This is normally a session that I particularly enjoy…but not this time.

I was scheduled to do around nine miles but after three of those my legs felt like lead. It felt a monumental effort to sustain the sort of pace that I would normally breeze around Long Stratton in.

My legs were tired – plain and simple… and I should have brought a premature end to the run after those three miles, but I didn’t.

Instead, because it was written into my plan that I would be doing ‘nine miles on Sunday’, I stubbornly (and stupidly) tried to plough on.

I got the mileage in but my legs were in a right state at the end. The plantar fasciitis (a sore foot for the unitiated) issue, that’s been hanging round in the background for a few months, reared its angry head and by Monday morning I was in quite a bit of discomfort.

By stubbornly refusing to just turn for home early I had tried to get the session in regardless, coming down harder and harder on my legs as I got more and more tired.

It was only afterwards that I realised it was a pretty silly thing to do. This was a training run…not a race. It’s supposed to support whatever goal you’re going for, not undermine it. Just because it said on my training plan it didn’t mean I had to do it – you have to take a bit of responsibility for how you’re actually feeling before whether a set target run can be achieved.

The irrational voice in my head said that all this training was making me slower.

But all that was needed was for a bit of rest for my legs to recover fully from the previous week’s hard sessions.

My body just needed a chance to catch up with what I’m suddenly asking it to do.

MORE: Mark Armstrong is chasing the sub 20-minute 5K dream

There has therefore been a lot of icing of the foot in recent days and I think (hope) it’s still just about under control. It did offer a reminder though that I’ve got to get back on top of some of the conditioning work I normally do, which has fallen by the wayside recently.

In the midst of my conversations with Neil about plotting a way forward for my training (he thankfully offered up an easier schedule this week) he asked how old my trainers were?

I realised that I had been running round in my Mizunos since October and, considering the mileage I’ve done since then, any cushioning they offered had probably long since gone.

Trainers aren’t the miracle cure that some people would have you believe but they can certainly help in keeping injury at bay.

I over-pronate and have very flat feet, making me prone to plantar fasciitis. The stability my trainers provide help correct this imbalance…until you’ve pounded it away in my case!

So a trip to Sportlink is in the offing - but not even new trainers can guard against making bad decisions. Perhaps it’s time I took some of the advice I give out on Facebook…

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