Running column: Sub 20-minute 5K took a lot out of Mark Armstrong - is he ready to go again?

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

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


Run Anglia editor Mark Armstrong is on the countdown to the Lord Mayor's 5K City Centre Road Race

It's been a funny old 10 days since race two of the Wroxham 5K Series.

I keep getting little flashbacks of moments during the race - daydream snapshots of one of my finest races. Who am I kidding? My finest race!

There had been times, particularly last year, when I thought I was chasing some sort of unicorn… or perhaps I just spend far too much time around unicorns thanks to my daughter, Lara.

The sub 20-minute 5K chase didn't happen in 2018 - perhaps it was a little optimistic given I was training for it at a time when my son, Logan, was only a few months old... and the sleepless nights that entails.

A year on and we're in a very different place. I'm managing to get in four runs a week, I'm enjoying my training, I've finally got a 5K time that starts with a '19', heck Logan is even sleeping through the night sometimes.

Wroxham has provided a confidence boost at the right time with just over two weeks until the Lord Mayor's 5K Road Race.

However, I must admit that perhaps I pushed it a little too hard because a couple of niggles returned this week to ensure that I don't get any ideas above my station.

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My right knee has given me the odd grumble and whilst it's not serious, it's something that, if I don't keep an eye on it, it could become so.

I've been so fixated about my calves and the conditioning work to ensure they don't sideline me again that I neglected some of the exercises I have to do to keep my knees in check. I've said it many times - I'm made of glass - but it's slightly reinforced nowadays.

Was it worth going all out at Wroxham? Of course it was and I wouldn't change my run last week for the world.

My coach Neil Featherby might have a slightly different opinion given he has been building my training around getting me to the Lord Mayor's start line in the best shape possible. He also knows that if I'm going to take part in a race that I find it incredibly difficult not to get swept up into giving it everything I've got.

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It has meant that I've had to take it easier for the past week, which isn't the best timing but it's better to make the start line of the Lord Mayor's Race slightly under-cooked than not at all though isn't it?

I've got to be careful with when I do the more intensive sessions between now and July 6 - I haven't come this far to chase a sub 20-minute 5K, earn my place and then DNS!

Thank you!

The Wroxham 5K was memorable for more than just being the first time I dipped under 20 minutes.

It was also the moment I realised just how much work goes in to organising these types of events.

Organising close to 800 runners and above all ensuring their safety takes some doing… and our clubs (Norwich Road Runners in this case) are doing this every week.

Yes, we pay for the privilege of taking part in these races. But the amount of work that goes into each event before, during and after is nothing short of prodigious.

I find it stressful just getting myself to the race on time!

I've been lucky enough either run, or report on, many running events so far this year and we are lucky to have the calibre of events we do.

It's probably about time a lot of us, including myself, said thank you because without the goodwill of the volunteers of our clubs we wouldn't have the vibrant race scene we do.

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