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Mark Armstrong: Why running again feels like such a risk

Mark Armstrong is getting close to running again. Picture: Epic Action Imagery

Mark Armstrong is getting close to running again. Picture: Epic Action Imagery

Epic Action Imagery

I might actually be able to put my running trainers to proper use soon.

For months I've been wearing them as my 'work shoes', partly because I wanted to feel in some way that running was still a part of my life, albeit a minor one for the last few months. (Neil - I know I shouldn't be wearing them for everyday use but give me a break eh...).

I can feel the area around my foot and ankle getting stronger every day now and that first run isn't too far away.

I've been doing a lot more dynamic exercises to put weight through my left foot and it has stood up quite well. There's still work to do in getting more muscle definition back in my left calf but that will come back gradually as the demands upon it are increased.

I'm excited and nervous about those first few strides, which will most likely be taken on a treadmill.

It's been such a relief to resume everyday tasks like driving and being able to take my kids to school or nursery that to start running again feels like it is putting it all at risk again.

It's an uncomfortable feeling but, if I'm sensible, I know the odds of me sustaining an injury like 'conker-gate' again are pretty slim... I'm touching wood as I write this.

The comeback is only just really starting and there will be months of uncomfortable runs where I'm wondering if I'm ever going to get back to a level that I'm happy with. I'm still hyper-sensitive to any kind of sensation around my foot, and only getting out on the road is going to combat the demons in my head asking if everything is all right down there.

The truth is I've no idea how long it's going to take to 'get back' - I've never had to do this before fortunately.

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What I do know is that it's been difficult watching so many other people achieve their running goals. Of course, you're pleased for them when their hard work results in a new personal best or a new distance covered. But it's human nature to feel a slight hint of bitterness, wishing it could be you.

I definitely know how my wife, Alison, felt now when pregnant with our son Logan. Whilst I tried to take my running up a level at the time, she could only watch and support.

I can empathise a lot better with how she must have been feeling... and my time on the sidelines should be a good deal shorter than hers was.

Not rushing and giving my body enough time to readjust gradually are going to be key, just as she has done.

It's why I'm not even going to think about digging out my Garmin until later in the year (and I've no idea what I've done with the charger).

Time isn't important, being able to run regularly without any pain is. If I can achieve that then everything else will take care of itself.

Trainer debate

It was interesting to note the headlines around the Nike Vaporfly shoes this week that they could potentially be banned. Upon closer inspection it seems that the World Athletics working group are more likely to place limitations on the carbon plate and foam technology that some runners have said feels like they are running on springs.

It will be fascinating to see over time how this can be dealt with on a more local level. In a county championship race for example is it really fair for one athlete to have this advantage over another?

Personally, I don't think it is, although I appreciate it's a very difficult one to police.

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