Running column: Mark Armstrong has a contingency plan in place to tame the Beast from the East

Mark Armstrong is targeting the half marathon at Cambridge in March. Picture: Supplied

Mark Armstrong is targeting the half marathon at Cambridge in March. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

The Beast from the East has struck and running columnist MARK ARMSTRONG discusses what to do next

Not been the best week if you're a runner, has it?

The Beast from the East has well and truly mauled a few training plans this week, including my own.

When I saw the forecast at the start of the week I thought it might be time to actually use my leisure centre membership for something other than cheap swimming with my daughter, Lara.

The gym, and the treadmill in particular, were going to be my friend this week to get those last couple of confidence-boosting training sessions in.

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Then Wednesday happened – snow getting on for eight inches thick has meant that, like many, I have barely been able to leave the house.

To say it's been frustrating has been an understatement but then came the warnings from the Cambridge Half Marathon organisers to stay aware of their social media posts for any advice.

MORE: Thinking of joining a running club? Check out your options in the region hereThe health and safety of runners, as well as spectators, has got to come first in these circumstances and I get the feeling there is going to have to be a significantly level of thawing for it to go ahead. We shall see but even if it goes ahead I've got to try and get there.

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The Broadland Half Marathon, which takes places this weekend, is also in the same position and organisers have said they will be inspecting the course on Friday to see if the race can take place.

It would be hugely disappointing for anyone to miss out on this weekend whatever event they're competing in if it was their primary goal.

My training going into this race has gone better than for any other. I've notched up a couple of 10K personal bests along the way but they were just added bonuses ahead of the main target, which has always been Cambridge.

I've managed to get through this training block without any significant injuries – there are niggles but I don't trust any runner who says that something isn't concerning them a little bit.

If Cambridge doesn't happen for me for whatever reason then I'm going to have to prioritise another spring (yes, remember it's spring) race. Fortunately, I booked the Colchester Half Marathon, which takes place on March 25, a few months back as a bit of a reserve in case of I got injured before Cambridge or I underperformed there (ie mess up my pacing).

MORE: Get your race diary planned with our calendarI always had it in mind to run two half marathons to get the most out of this block of training before having a few weeks easier running to recharge and plan my autumn schedule.

So whilst it would be disappointing to miss out on Cambridge, a contingency plan is in place, although I must admit to motivate myself to maintain my current level of fitness for another couple of weeks could be hard.

It would mean a few more effort runs in the meantime (weather pending!) and psychologically I feel like I need a bit of training where I'm not constantly checking my pace to ensure I'm working hard enough.

My final training run last weekend was a bit of a stinker. I had spent the previous day traipsing around Colchester Zoo so it wasn't a massive surprise the next day when after a couple of miles I started to feel a little leggy…

But I just about got it done and at the pace that I wanted to set up my race on Sunday.

Whatever happens come the weekend I will be taking it easy on the Saturday just in case. Nothing more strenuous than building another snowman…

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