Running column: Mark Armstrong explains some of the dos and don’ts of taking on Run Norwich 2018

Mark Armstrong out on a training run. Picture: Alison Armstrong

Mark Armstrong out on a training run. Picture: Alison Armstrong - Credit: Archant

Run Anglia editor Mark Armstrong offers five pointers on how to tackle Run Norwich on Sunday

Happy Run Norwich Eve Eve…

Around 7,000 runners are counting down the hours to the biggest running event Norfolk has to offer so I thought it would be worth lending my 'experience' ahead of the big day. I've made more than a few mistakes on the two occasions I've run it and hopefully you can avoid a few of the pitfalls I've fallen foul of.

Anyway, here are five pointers to think about ahead of Sunday…

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Get positioned in your starting pen

Your race number will be one of five colours – black, blue, green, yellow and pink. But within that it's important to place yourself in the right place within that pen. Personally, I like to go towards the back of my pen (black) as if I go too far forward then I'm likely to get sucked into the pace of other faster runners around me and that's not going to end well in the final stretch up Tombland!

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If you do get caught in a bit of traffic then try to keep calm and wait for a natural opening to appear to overtake. You will burn off far too much energy if you're continually trying to weave your way through people for the first mile.

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


It's important to stay hydrated – we all know this – and we all know what colour our urine should be (pale, if you really have to ask). During the race itself there are two water stations at Carrow Road and Bishopgate and like all running event stations, it can get a bit fraught. The water will be dispensed in plastic cups, which I'm not a fan of, as they are a lot more difficult to drink from than a bottle. I often end up with more water down my front than in my mouth, which isn't ideal… Keep calm and stop for 10 seconds if you have to just to make sure you take as much water down as you can. Better that than ending up with most of it down your chest…

Personally I like to take a running belt with me that's got water bottles in it. I've got used to running with it and find it takes some of the stress of the water stations out of the race.

Oh…and watch your footing when you scrunch your way through all those plastic cups!

MORE: Run Norwich 2018 - everything you need to know

The last mile

If you're running for a time then it doesn't matter how much you've trained, the last mile is going to pinch a little. It's also where the crowd support is arguably at its best so listen out for any words of encouragement. However, you will also get a few members of the public start running across the road, not always judging the speed of the oncoming runners. Try to keep your head up and look where you're going because if you're anything like me then your head can start to go down and you get lost in your own breathless hell. You don't need to be jolted into reality by a bump with a member of the crowd!

Injured or just carrying a niggle?

If your place of work is anything like mine then two subjects have dominated conversation this week: 1. Where are Norwich City going to finish this season? 2. Are you taking part in Run Norwich?

It's not often that running plays such a central part of general conversation around here but this week is a bit different. I feel sorry for anyone that hasn't got a place and wants to run – you can't get away from it.

But I also feel for anyone carrying an injury or a niggle. You desperately want to run but know that if you do then you risk aggravating the problem. Only you can make the call of whether to take part. All I would say (and I am a fine one to talk) is that there is always another race and no race is worth sidelining you for months after.

Oh…and Norwich City will finish 10th this season…

MORE: Plan your Run Norwich route here

Enjoy it!

I've got a tendency to take running far too seriously, becoming disappointed if I don't achieve a personal best. Worse than that, even when I've set a personal best I then worry I won't be able to achieve that again. If you're not careful it can take the fun out of running so whatever happens on Sunday just try to take a moment to appreciate being able to run around our fine city, traffic free!

Have a great race.

Don't miss your Run Norwich goody bag, which includes a 'Keep on Running' poster for crowds to help support any friends or family taking part in the race. For just £1.50, the bag includes a copy of Saturday's EDP and Norwich Evening News, a bottle of water, a bag of crisps, sweets and the poster. They are available outside Debenhams and at The Market.

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