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Mark Armstrong: The wait is finally over... let's get running again

Mark Armstrong is back running, but definitely not racing, again. Picture: Supplied

Mark Armstrong is back running, but definitely not racing, again. Picture: Supplied

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The running drought is finally over... just 114 days after conker-gate.

My patience was finally rewarded this week when I was allowed to have my first 'official' run after my ankle went one way and my foot the other along Whitlingham Lane all those months ago.

It's been a long time coming but I've been pretty diligent in doing exercises to strengthen my ankle and calf, particularly over the last 10 days when they have taken on a more dynamic nature to really test it out.

Other than a bit of soreness in my foot and knee from some of the jumping exercises I felt ready to test everything out.

I stepped on the treadmill with a more than a hint of trepidation.

After walking for a few minutes the time came to break out into a trot... and then a run. Apologies for rather over dramatising a 10-minute run but please indulge the frustration of someone who has had to watch from the sidelines for months.

It was glorious.

I was even allowed to up the pace to 70 per cent of effort for five minutes... although I didn't have a clue what pace that was given my current fitness levels.

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Fortunately, my foot felt fine and I can't wait to line up at the Freethorpe 10 on Sunday... just kidding.

It feels great to have the option of going for a run and I want to look after that. To have it taken away again from trying to do too much, too soon, would be irresponsible and I need to remember that in the weeks and months ahead.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group here

When you hit that sweet spot in your training it can also feel like everything else in your life is falling into place. Generally speaking, if your running is going well then it gives you the confidence to make sure everything else is.

I would love to be targeting a half marathon or marathon this spring but it will all come too early.

I'm still reluctant to set any goals beyond getting back to running consistently without any pain. That'll do for now.

I've noticed a lot of runners I speak to planning on half marathons or marathons this spring are coming to the crossover period in their training when the reality of the task they have set begins to bite.

Suddenly that 'long' run at the weekend really does feel exactly that. There's sacrifice involved - it's demanding on your time for one thing and requires a level of understanding from those around you to avoid adding more stress into your life.

But when the day of that run comes round and you really don't want to do it, you've got to look at what really drove you to sign up in the first place.

It might be to raise money for a charity close to your heart; it might even be to get the adulation you crave on social media. To be honest, it doesn't really matter, it just needs to be enough to get you out there and get that run done.

And take it from someone who has been sidelined for too long - sometimes the only thing that's worse than the thought of going for a run is the thought that one day you might not be able to.

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