Running column: Finding more than one reason to run is the key to longevity

Mark Armstrong after the last time he set a personal best the Colchester Half Marathon. Picture: Mar

Mark Armstrong after the last time he set a personal best the Colchester Half Marathon. Picture: Mark Armstrong - Credit: Archant

Running columnist Mark Armstrong wants his running to evolve out of a constant pursuit of a PB

I've fallen out with running over the past week.

We had a bit of a tiff after Run Norwich when I didn't get the result I wanted after a good couple of months of hard training.

We got back on speaking terms by the end of the week with a couple of gentle runs and I think we're on our way to patching up our differences.

Running is like being in a relationship – sometimes you have to work hard at it whilst on other occasions it's effortless.

It's worth it though.

I want to keep running for as long as possible but if I don't find more reasons to keep it going than just constantly chasing PBs then I can feel myself being lured into a negative spiral.

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When you've built a race up in your mind for weeks, months even, and you don't get what you want out of it then it can make you feel a little cheated.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group hereAll those evenings where I've sacrificed time with my family, planned my meals around my training and not had that extra beer on a Saturday because you're running the next day… if you don't get something back out of that then you can feel jilted by the whole experience.

But that's the risk you take when you're building up to an event as they don't always go to plan.

You've got to remember that there isn't an athlete (and I'm definitely not an athlete…) in the world that can keep posting personal bests.

Eventually you will at least plateau and it is at that point you need to look at what you want to get out of running.

If you still feel the need to chase more PBs then you probably need to tweak your training – go harder, look at your diet etc.

I am going to do this with the help of Neil Featherby, but I'm also going to look at other ways I can get enjoyment out of my training because the constant chase of a new PB has left me with a negative mindset for a few weeks.

Yes, there are races to chase a time (Run Norwich probably isn't one of them) but I want to include races into my schedule that I do just for the experience.

I've mentioned before that I'm pacing my wife, Alison, around the Bournemouth Half Marathon later this year and this will be something completely alien to me.

MORE: Plan your races with our event calendarThe pressure of chasing my own time has been completely taken out of the equation and I'm looking forward to the whole weekend more…although my four-year-old daughter Lara will undoubtedly want to do well in the 'kids kilometre' the day before (she's a chip off the old block).

Helping to get Alison back to where she wants to be, fitness-wise, after having our second baby will bring a new dimension to both of our running (before she inevitably gets quicker than me again just as she was before over longer distances!).

Running has been a very personal pursuit so far but it would be nice if it could also take on more of a social element. I really enjoy Neil's sessions at the Field of Pain in Felthorpe and I hope I can get out there more over the next few months because mixing with other runners is a sure-fire way to bring your running to the next level.

I'm not going to stop chasing time goals – the Great East Run in Ipswich next month will be one where I'm looking for a strong performance.

It feels like it's been a while now since I feel like a nailed a race, feeling that I couldn't have run that any better.

But there has to be more to running than just chasing a time – figuring out what that is will hopefully lead to the kind of longevity in the sport that I'm looking for.

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