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Running column: Mark Armstrong reveals the New Year’s Resolutions he’s making for 2019

Mark Armstrong is looking to run with a smile on his face in 2019. Picture: Sussex Sport Photography

Mark Armstrong is looking to run with a smile on his face in 2019. Picture: Sussex Sport Photography

Sussex Sport Photography.com 2018

Run Anglia editor Mark Armstrong explains the New Year’s Resolutions he intends to stick to in 2019

I’m going to stick this column to the fridge for 2019 to remind myself every time I fetch the milk for a cup of tea what I’m striving for next year.

New Year’s Resolutions are notoriously difficult to stick by once the initial enthusiasm has worn off a few weeks into January.

But I’m determined to keep to these five and if you think I’m wavering on any of them at any point through the year then please call me out on it at mark.armstrong@archant.co.uk or message me through the Run Anglia Facebook group.

Anyway, here they are…

Don’t over race

Any runner needs to gain a bit of race sharpness before their main event but there is a balance to be struck.

I got caught up in racing for the sake of it in the latter part of this year. I chased times that were never really going to happen given the training I had put in and ended up with a lot of mediocre runs.

Perhaps worse than that, I wasted a lot of money on races that I had to sit out through injury.

In 2019 I want my races to feed into my main event at Manchester in April. If it doesn’t fit in with that then I’m not going to enter.

That’s not to say I won’t be chasing personal bests when I run. If I get myself in decent shape for a marathon then the times will tumble in the shorter events in the run up to Manchester.

Listen to the right advice

I’m lucky enough to be able to call upon the expertise of Neil Featherby when it comes to setting a training program.

I really do my best to follow it as much as possible but sometimes life gets in the way and Neil understands that.

However, when it comes to how I’m going to race, I’m still prone to live far too much in the moment. If I feel great, as most runners do in the early part of a race, I find it so hard not to push it a bit more with the inevitable blow up happening later in the race. It’s time to let my training sessions be my guide in setting a race pace, and not expect some kind of running miracle where I start setting times in races that are beyond anything I’ve ever done in training.

Commit to breaking 20

I haven’t forgotten about my pledge to break 20 minutes for 5K.

I came as close as I ever have this year when I went round the Bishop’s Stortford parkrun in 20:25. But injury intervened shortly after and by the time I had recovered I had to start getting some endurance training in ahead of a couple of half marathons – I didn’t get what I wanted in these races either.

I’ve got to prioritise the marathon in Manchester first but I’m hoping that can provide a solid base to get some speed work in. However, before I change my training post marathon, I’ll be sure to get a decent biomechanical check-up to protect against breaking down with injury when more intensive sessions start. I’ve got a great incentive given that I’ve been offered a place at the Lord Mayor’s 5K next year.

Don’t neglect conditioning

I’ll always get the running part of any training programme done. It’s the part I enjoy the most and I’ll do my best to make time for each run.

However, my body isn’t hardened enough to be able to just continually run without doing all the added extras that keep you off the sidelines. I skimped on the conditioning part of my training in the latter part of 2018 – as time became more and more scarce it was the conditioning that suffered, and I got injured.

I’ve got to give the same weight of importance to the conditioning part of any programme as I do the running. I know what happens if I don’t…

Enjoy it

This has got to be the most important of all the resolutions.

If the enjoyment element goes from anything then it’s a matter of time before you stop it altogether. If I’m dreading going out for a particular run then I’ve got to ask myself ‘why?’ No-one is making me do it and life is too short to do things you don’t want to do in your spare time. I know that enjoyment for me comes from seeing myself making progress. If I keep progressing then the rest will take care of itself.

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