Running column: Mark Armstrong asks how do you combine running with other sports?

Mark Armstrong in action at the Colchester Half Marathon. Picture: Sussex Sport Photography

Mark Armstrong in action at the Colchester Half Marathon. Picture: Sussex Sport Photography - Credit: Sussex Sport

It's a struggle to fit the running I want to do into my life sometimes.

It takes up nearly all the spare time I've got... and more if truth be told.

I'd love to cross-train more but if it's a choice between a gym session or a run then it really isn't a contest, especially this time of year.

The spring sunshine has made the early morning runs a lot more bearable recently and I think I'm just about ready to put the buff and gloves away for a few months at least… I may even go out in a short-sleeve shirt soon - that's the kind of rock and roll thoughts that occupy this runner's head.

But I'm sensible enough to realise that I can't fit any more sport into my life at the moment. There are other things that I would perhaps like to dedicate a bit of time to but until I've become the best runner I can be then I really haven't got the head space to entertain anything else.

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I've got an enormous amount of respect for anyone that has the ability to be a runner alongside another sporting passion, especially to a decent level.

Michael Eccles is one of the best runners in Norfolk, demonstrated by his County Championship win at the Dereham 10M event last weekend. He is also a fine cricketer and he admitted afterwards that he was still feeling the exertions of playing for Vauxhall Mallards in the East Anglian Premier League the day before in his legs.

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There's part of me that would love to go back to playing football, but I also know that physically I wouldn't be able to cope with it. A sport like football or cricket places the kind of physical demands upon you that it would be almost impossible for it not to detract from your running, for most people at least.

Michael has had his injury problems in recent years, thanks in large part to the enormous pressure placed on his Achilles as a fast bowler. To bowl seven overs, be on your feet for most of the day, and then knock out sub six-minute miles in a race less than 24 hours later would have most biomechanical specialists tearing his or her hair out.

But I love the fact he's got two sporting loves and he makes the best out of both.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group here"I don't want to give either up and I've just got to put up with it," said Michael.

If I was as good as him at both sports then perhaps I would be of a similar mind.

He just gets on with it and makes the best out of the situation - that's what the most successful runners do isn't it?

Who knows what Michael could achieve as a runner if he gave up cricket? I doubt he spends a lot of time thinking about it.

I spend rather too much time thinking about my next running endeavour and I've got to admit that I was in a slight quandary this week with the Wroxham 5K.

I had signed up for all three races in the series and I was really looking forward to competing in all of them but Wednesday's first event just came a little too soon for me.

A twinge in my calf last week showed that I wasn't yet fully recovered from the marathon and, whilst I have been able to get some training in since, there wasn't much point in me racing on Wednesday.

I'm nowhere near where I want to be in my preparations for the Lord Mayor's 5K and I couldn't afford a big effort at Wroxham with the injury risk that poses.

Yes, I could have treated it as a training run and not given it everything I've got but I can't trust myself to do that… and frankly I'd rather not.

By all accounts it was another cracking event put on by Norwich Road Runners and I've promised myself that I will be on the start line for the second race on June 12.

I'm really keen to get the marathon out of my system and a few weeks of decent training should get me ready for another stab at a sub 20-minute 5K.

Good luck to all those runners Chasing that Train this weekend.

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