Running column: Mark Armstrong asks what do you want your running to look like in 2020?

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

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


It’s that time of year where we take stock of how we want our running schedule to look in 2020.

With my current sidelined status it's all I've been thinking about for several weeks so here are five resolutions that I will try to live by for the next 12 months... well a couple at least.

Run again

It's a simple enough goal really. There feels like a bit of light at the end of the tunnel in my recovery from a broken ankle and foot, which was sustained at the end of September.

I've been able to start doing a bit of cardio work in the form of swimming and cycling but I can't wait for the day that I can finally get my running trainers on again.

It will obviously have to be approached sensibly but that first five-minute run should feel pretty sweet, hopefully. I'll constantly be worried about my foot hurting but that's part of the psychological game I've got to play in the early part of next year.

At least there's not any more conkers about...

Don't rush

Running can take a toll on your body and sometimes it's about managing the biomechanical faults a lot of us pick up over the years.

Since being sidelined all the little niggles that I was coping with have cleared up and it has hammered home how important rest is within a training schedule (although it probably shouldn't have taken a broken ankle to realise this).

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When Neil Featherby has provided training programs in the past I never want to let him down by missing a session.

However, it's about being honest with myself and Neil that sometimes this 37-year-old body of mine might need an extra day's recovery sometimes. That's totally okay.


The best thing to come out of my time on the sidelines has been the chance to completely re-evaluate my running.

I've got quite an intense personality, certainly when it comes to sport, and I'm fine about not being the best, I just want to be the best I can be.

It means that when I got into running it gave me a focus point to channel all those competitive instincts garnered from years of playing football as a youngster. In the past, particularly when I have been training for a marathon, I get a kind of tunnel vision take over, which means other aspects of my life become de-emphasised.

I really want to take back control of that side of my personality and realise that whilst running is a great part of my life, it's not the only part.

Give me strength

I'm planning on attempting to bullet-proof my body when I come back.

I've spent far too much time on the sidelines thanks to conker-gate so the last thing I want when I come back is for any little injuries to return.

A decent strength planning allied to a manageable running schedule should go a long way to keeping those little niggles at bay. If it means missing the odd run to get a strength session in then so be it.

Enjoy it

The most important resolution of all. If you're not enjoying it then something needs to change. If you're continually saying 'I've got to do xx miles at the weekend' with the look of someone who's lost a pound and found a penny, then it's time to take stock. No-one is forcing anyone to run - we choose to, so make it count when you do.

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