Mark Armstrong: Runners are well equipped to navigate another lockdown

Mark Armstrong on a training run. Picture: Alison Armstrong

Mark Armstrong on a training run. Picture: Alison Armstrong - Credit: Archant

So here we are again... Lockdown 2 – the sequel that absolutely nobody wanted, and this time with rubbish weather...

Okay, it’s not been too bad the last couple of days weather wise and let’s be thankful for small mercies... we can still exercise as much as we like which runners like you and I are going to need over the next month.

Whilst all running club activity must stop until December 3 at the earliest it’s heartening to see a lot of our Norfolk clubs are already trying to add some structure or routine for their members through either virtual races or suggested training.

It’s not the same, but let’s just hope these measures can be the start of obtaining a process that gets this virus under some sort of control... we’ll see.

We can of course run with someone else from another household as long as social distancing measures are observed.


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It’s an uncertain, difficult, time but as runners we are well equipped to deal with adverse situations. Most of us will have been in a race where we go through a bad patch but you know at some stage if you can hang in there then things will get better - that’s just how life is in general isn’t it?

Personally, I’m going to throw myself into training as much as possible. When I’m out on a training run I’m living in the moment, not thinking about viruses, face masks and how long these measures are likely to last.

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It’s just me for that hour or so and a chance to completely zone out. If I’m doing a proper session then even better as my mind can’t wander, I’m just thinking about the next rep and that’s just how I like it.

I’ve mapped out in my head what I want to do over the next six months or so. Of course it has to be flexible given the circumstances but I know for sure that I can tick off my first goal this weekend – run the Sportlink Mile – Virtual SMile Challenge in association with Cool Camper Graphics and On.

I’ve put off running my mile for as long as possible to try and get a couple of speed sessions in but tomorrow is the final day you can submit your time.

I’m excited and nervous in equal measure – if someone said to me this time last year that I’d be relishing the prospect of running a half mile loop around where I used to live (twice) then I’d have thought they were crazy. If that paragraph doesn’t sum up 2020 in a nutshell running wise then I’m not sure what does?

I’m surprised that more of Norfolk’s top runners haven’t entered given the prize money on offer from the track series that the top 24 men and top 24 women will be invited to in the new year. Maybe, like me, they are just biding their time and keeping their cards close to their chests. I know one thing’s for sure – I shouldn’t be anywhere near getting into the track series given the calibre of some of the club runners around here.

After Saturday, it’s all about trying to get my 10K time down in the new year and I’ve earmarked the Snetterton 10K in January as a potential goal race, if you know what allows.

That should then lead into the next Blickling Half Marathon event in March and I’ve got the semblance of a plan to base my training around.

That’s all we can do at the moment. Get a plan, sort a routine you can stick to but most importantly stay safe.

Happy running everyone and good luck if you’re running your mile this weekend.

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