Running column: No nearer his goal but Mark Armstrong is just thankful to be out on the road
The training hasn't gone to plan for Mark Armstrong but he is still out on the road
The training has not gone according to plan recently.
I was closing in on my target of a sub 20-minute 5K after my last parkrun and felt that with a few more weeks of consistent training that I would be able to get there.
What is it they say about the best laid plans?
Well, the training plan went awry when I started to feel a bit of discomfort on top of my right foot, near my toes.
I brushed it off to start with as one that I would just ice and keep an eye on.
However, after one steady run it was clear that this wasn’t going to go away without a bit of rest. It was painful to put my full weight on it and I thought ‘here we go again’. My worry was that it could be the start of a stress fracture in one of my metatarsals and my mind just started racing.
How long will I be out for?
What if I can’t run again for several months?
Am I going to lose all my fitness during that time?
How on earth am I going to fill a weekly running column?
It was the kind of irrational thinking that I’m prone to when something that I love doing could be taken away.
I tried to stay calm and the fact that I had a few days away as part of a family break at Center Parcs last week worked in my favour as my daughter Lara would have had been having a serious word if I was using any energy for anything other than taking her swimming or tenpin bowling…(most of which was spent praying she didn’t drop a ball on her, or anyone’s, feet).
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It meant that I didn’t have the chance to feel sorry for myself although in the back of my mind I was thinking when I would be able to test the foot out again.
I gave it 10 days before creeping out the front door and thankfully it appears to have settled down although I am going to have to see how it is when I re-start the intensive sessions. The injury did mean that I missed the Humpty Dumpty 10K, which I was disappointed about but there’s always next year.
I feel like I’ve lost quite a bit of pace but hopefully the speed will come back pretty quickly.
The worry is still there that I don’t quite know why it happened. Did I push it just a little too much in the training? Did I not break in my new trainers well enough? Am I just made of glass?
But I’ve given myself a little pat on the back for actually backing off when I had the chance.
The foot injury had the potential to become chronic but by having the discipline to stay off the road I have hopefully avoided an extended spell on the sidelines.
In the past I would have ploughed on regardless – I turned 36 last week, maybe I’m starting to act like an adult…
I’m still absolutely determined to go under 20 minutes for 5K and I know that I’m not far away.
But it’s more important to me that I stay healthy and able to run than achieve a time and end up with my trainers gathering dust for several months.
With Run Norwich a little over a month away I don’t want to put my participation in that at risk. I almost missed it last year due to a hamstring strain and I was a grumpy so-and-so in the lead-up to it as a result!
If I gradually increase my workload again hopefully those injury niggles will stay away.