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Running column: Mark Armstrong is keeping the legs ticking over... and that's just how he likes it

Mark Armstrong with his daugher, Lara, on a run in Gran Canaria. Picture: Alison Armstrong

Mark Armstrong with his daugher, Lara, on a run in Gran Canaria. Picture: Alison Armstrong

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I'm in no-man's land in my training - and it's right where I want to be.

Alison Armstrong and daughter, Lara, on a run in Gran Canaria. Picture: Mark ArmstrongAlison Armstrong and daughter, Lara, on a run in Gran Canaria. Picture: Mark Armstrong

I've enjoyed a break from most things, including running, for the past couple of weeks.

Swimming has been the order of the day with my daughter, Lara, who myself and wife, Alison, were finally able to afford enough time to teach her properly whilst on holiday.

A holiday, or break from your normal routine, gives you a chance to re-assess everything and try to formulate a plan that ensures when you get back you don't just get straight back on the hamster wheel, falling into the same bad habits in the process.

What am I doing well? What do I want to do differently? What can I improve on?

Mark Armstrong taking it a bit easier on a run in Gran Canaria. Picture: Alison ArmstrongMark Armstrong taking it a bit easier on a run in Gran Canaria. Picture: Alison Armstrong

Spending a bit of time looking at all areas of your life is so worthwhile and our family break in Gran Canaria provided a chance for my wife and I to do just that, with running obviously one of the topics on the agenda.

I came to the conclusion that I've done a lot of the running I wanted to this year. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop obviously, it just means that I'm quite happy, for the moment at least, to not have an immediate goal on the horizon.

I let myself get severely run down by the time Run Norwich came around at the end of July and it has only been in the last week or so that I've started to feel 'normal' again… as normal as you can be when you're trying to sort entertainment for your children during the summer holidays anyway…

The virus wasn't only down to running but it was part of it and letting myself slowly burn out is something I need to be wary of.

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Running is awesome but it needs to fit around my life and you can definitely have too much of a good thing… I can testify to that given the amount of seafood I ate on holiday.

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The only race I've targeted is the St Neots Half Marathon in November.

I will race again before then, in fact I'm racing the Dereham 5K this Sunday, but I'm enjoying running and racing when I feel like it… it's liberating and it means I'm enjoying my running in a different sort of way.

It won't last, it's not how I'm wired, but having run myself into the ground it's nice to take a more relaxed approach to training, at least for a few weeks anyway.

Booking a half marathon for November is part of a strategy to ensure I get comfortable racking up some decent weekly mileage again.

I wanted to try and keep this up during my training for the Lord Mayor's 5K but it hasn't really happened and it's going to take a bit of work again to get to the stage where anything over 10 miles doesn't feel like a bit of an effort.

Training for St Neots will inevitably see me get comfortable with miles being in my legs and will, in theory at least, put a nice building block in place for another marathon in spring next year.

Dereham 5K

I'm really looking forward to Dereham on Sunday - I'm significantly undertrained for it having adopted a very leisurely pace on the occasions I went running on holiday.

I'll be wondering why exactly I signed up for it after 3K… but I can't wait.

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