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Mark Armstrong: A run with a view and how to look after it

There's no return to racing for Mark Armstrong just yet. Picture: Cambridge Half Marathon

There's no return to racing for Mark Armstrong just yet. Picture: Cambridge Half Marathon

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There's a view on one of my regular running routes near Long Stratton where you can see for what feels like miles across farmers' fields.

Sometimes I pause my early morning session and take a moment to watch the mist rise up above the soil just as the sun comes up. I've missed that scene so much.

That doesn't mean I won't be complaining to my wife, Alison, next week about setting an alarm to get out again - us runners like to moan, don't we? Well, I do anyway...

It's felt pretty amazing intermingling a few runs outside with the treadmill as I continue to ease myself back in after a long-term ankle/foot injury.

The legs have felt heavy at times. Whilst, cardio wise, I have felt okay thanks to being able to get some decent cross training in over the last couple of months, my legs are very aware that we haven't done this running lark for a while.

It's a reminder that I mustn't push anything too hard, too soon, but if I'm honest I'm not sure I could at the moment. I feel stiff as a board sometimes no matter how much stretching or foam rolling I do.

But I've had enough chats with Neil Featherby and Chas Allen before about the importance of giving my body time to adjust to any changes I make to my training.

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The transition from no running for four months to running regularly needs to be managed gently. As ever, patience needs to be exercised if I want to eventually get back to where I was before... and beyond.

It hasn't helped putting together the 2020 running races calendar! During the many hours I spent putting it together for last month's Run Anglia supplement I lost count of the amount of times I thought 'ooooh, I quite fancy that'.

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

Then I remember I'm incapable of running any race at an easy pace or 'just for the experience'. That's not me, at least not at the moment. Things may change as I get older but when I do race again I want to run as fast I possibly can.

To do that I need to put a lot of building blocks in place, biomechanically, to make that possible. That means easing back in very gently running, listening to my body, and incorporating some strength work to bullet-proof this old body against injury.

I'm getting better at listening - I have to if I don't want to spend yet more time on the sidelines.

So it's going to take a bit of time and, as much as I would love to get a late entry for the Valentine's 10K in just over a week's time, I know I wouldn't be able to contain my excitement and probably go off like a rocket, ending up hurting myself in the process.

I need to regain some trust and confidence in myself that I can handle running regularly again. Until then I'll have to try and forget about that running diary I spent most of last week agonising over (I won't miss waking up in the middle of the night wondering if I had the right date for the Ringland Half Marathon for example!).

In the meantime I'll continue to try and take it easy in the knowledge that if I don't then that early morning view can easily be taken away again.

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