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Running column: Mark Armstrong recounts his Run Norwich 2018 experience

Mark Armstrong looking fairly fresh at the start of Run Norwich 2018. Picture: Alison Armstrong

Mark Armstrong looking fairly fresh at the start of Run Norwich 2018. Picture: Alison Armstrong

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Running columnist Mark Armstrong may start campaigning to make it the Run Norwich 9K event next year...

‘Just let this end now…let’s call it the Run Norwich 9K’.

As I came up through Tombland I wasn’t in the most positive frame of mind on Sunday.

Hot and bothered, heavy-legged and parched, I just wanted to pull off the course and have a sit down…forget about the last kilometre – 10K is overrated.

I’ve been in this situation before in races and when I don’t care about my time any more I know I’ve lost. My race has been run, I’m done.

This year’s event was one of those that I’m going to have to file as ‘character building’.

Going into the event I had an A goal of setting a new personal best and a B goal of going under 45 minutes.

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

I managed the B goal with three seconds to spare but I felt frustrated over how I had paced the race.

The bottom line is that I’m not in the kind of shape I thought I was. The aim was to run seven-minute miles, assess how I felt at halfway, before pushing on or maintaining that pace, that depending how I felt.

The halfway point came and it was clear it wasn’t going to be a PB day but I also knew that’s nothing to get too downhearted about. It’s not a PB course, as anyone who ran it will testify.

But I really started to struggle after the cathedral and the last couple of kilometres were particularly hard going.

This time last year I would have bitten your hand off to go under 45 minutes at Run Norwich but having done the training I have, I felt a tinge of frustration that I hadn’t gone a bit faster.

Perhaps it was the man flu starting to come on that I’ve suffered a touch of this week. But more likely it is that I’m just not in as good a shape as I thought I was.

I’ve got another half marathon booked next month and then I’m planning to do a couple of 10Ks at Trowse and possibly Holt before the end of the year. I’ve also got a half marathon booked in October at Bournemouth, which I’m really looking forward to running with my wife, Alison.

But it’s time to take stock of where my training is at because I’ve got about another three months of harder running this year before taking it down a notch to let my body and mind recover as I start thinking about next year.

MORE: Watch yourself cross the line at Run Norwich 2018

With having a young family I’ve got to be realistic about how much time my training can take up but I need to work on my endurance because that’s where I’m lacking as my experience at Run Norwich demonstrated. Those last couple of kilometres shouldn’t have been as hard as they were.

That means getting in some decent mileage at the weekend and a steadier run of around seven to eight miles in the week to complement the speed sessions I’ve been doing.

I also need to look at the nutritional side of things because it turns out tiredness from my teething baby son, Logan, and making good food choices don’t necessarily go hand in hand – who knew?

But just a final word on Run Norwich – I thought the race was once again superbly organised and the entertainment out on the course was on another level from previous years.

It takes a lot to jolt me out of having my race blinkers on but the rock choir, in particular, certainly had an impact and killed at least a minute or so when I wasn’t thinking about how much the race was hurting.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s event but there’s a lot of running to be done between now and then.

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