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Running column: Forget about HIIT, cycling or swimming, Mark Armstrong wants to get back running

PUBLISHED: 16:47 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:47 02 January 2020

It maybe hard work but running is the only sport Mark Armstrong wants to take part in. Picture: Total Race Timing

It maybe hard work but running is the only sport Mark Armstrong wants to take part in. Picture: Total Race Timing

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So we’re three days into 2020 – have you managed to keep all your new year’s resolutions so far?

Me neither, but at least you thought about making a change, right?

It felt like a particularly strange Christmas given over the last few years I've used the time off work as a chance to start a new training program for a half, or full, marathon in the spring.

It probably explains why I'm really getting the urge to go running again at the moment and I'm having to wrestle with the devil on my shoulder to just get my trainers on and run round the block.

I feel thoroughly on the mend from conker-gate when I broke my ankle and foot in two places. The limp has all but gone and I've got a lot of the mobility back that was lost due to the protective boot being on for six weeks.

I have been advised not to run again until the end of January and I'm not going to deviate from this... I've gone more than three months without running now so a few more weeks really isn't going to hurt. I'm well aware of the consequences of doing too much, too soon.

That hasn't stopped the thought of what 5K time I could run if someone held a gun to my head... I reckon between 22/23 minutes for the record but this isn't an encouragement to anyone to start bearing arms against me...

Seriously though I know I won't be running a full on 5K for a good while yet even if I do get the green light to start training again in the near future.

However, it is hard not to feel that with every passing week a little bit more running fitness is lost but this is part of the psychological battle for the next few weeks.

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In reality I'm probably as fit as I can be given that I'm still not supposed to be putting too much load through my foot when exercising.

I've done modified high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts , cycled and swam over Christmas in an attempt to stay active and work off the excesses that inevitably arise during this period in the Armstrong household.

None of it competes with running.

When I started my rehabilitation I had grand designs over perhaps discovering another sport that I would enjoy and compliment running. That's not going to happen.

For all its fitness benefits HIIT is continuously knackering, cycling around Long Stratton feels dangerous and don't get me started on swimming - what a faff. By the time I've decided what lane I should be swimming in to avoid getting in someone's way it's time to go to work. I'm as bad at judging my swimming pace as I am my running.

What has been beneficial is my wife starting her marathon training for Manchester at the start of April. Last year I liked the fact it's such an early spring marathon as it means you probably should be starting your training programme before Christmas. It's certainly a break from the normal marathon routine for Alison - green tea has been on her agenda in the past couple of weeks rather than any evening raids into the children's selection boxes...

Cross Country Championships

I'm really looking forward to covering the Norfolk Cross Country Championships at Thetford this weekend. It will be fascinating to see who emerges victorious in the senior races but it will also be good to watch some of Norfolk's up and coming talent.

Best of luck to everyone competing and involved in the running of the event.


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