Mark Armstrong: A crossroads is on the horizon... so what direction do I travel in?

How seriously is Mark Armstrong going to take his running again? Picture: Epic Action Imagery

How seriously is Mark Armstrong going to take his running again? Picture: Epic Action Imagery - Credit: Epic Action Imagery

The novelty of my comeback to running has started to wear off.

Don't get me wrong, I'm so relieved to be back, but having been so desperate for the opportunity to run again, sometimes the idea is better than the reality... especially with the weather we've had recently.

I honestly don't mind the cold or even the rain... if I've got the right kit on then it doesn't make too much difference to me and the distances I'm running at present.

However, during an eight-mile 'long run' at the weekend (I can almost hear anyone training for a marathon giggling) I think the wind played a cruel joke on me.

Whilst Storms Dennis and Ciara have long gone there was a little sting in the tail last Saturday morning. The first couple of miles felt easy, ridiculously so. However, what I thought was only a gentle breeze was giving me a helping hand.

When I was on my way back home it almost felt like the wind was grinning in my face, physically pushing against me as I tried to get back as quickly as I could because I knew the kids would be climbing the walls to get out upon my return.

Relieved to get in the front door, out of the gale's jaws, I breathlessly exclaimed to my wife, Alison: "Running's really hard sometimes..." but then as she was about to respond I was mercilessly attacked by a Nella the Princess Knight sword that Logan had stolen from his sister, Lara, and I realised this conversation would have to wait until later (a regular occurrence in our household as conversations are regularly interrupted by the diva-like demands of our children).

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So apart from explaining to Lara why we can't have pancakes every day, this week I've been thinking about where I want my running to go over the next few months.

I'm at the stage where I'm getting a decent base and the time is coming when I need more than that to ensure I regularly get the training in.

I see getting quicker as a sign of progress but to do that I'm going to need targeted sessions towards a goal if I'm not to plateau.

Basically, I need to make it even harder than it is at the moment whilst making sure I don't do too much too soon for my body to make the necessary adaptations.

But I don't want to slip into old habits if I open that door where everything else falls by the wayside in pursuit of running goals.

That's probably the big lesson I've learned during my time on the sidelines. As wonderful as it is, and one should never take for granted, it's only running.

If it's getting in the way of my everyday life, then I need to take a step back and make sure it's not just becoming an added stress I could do without.

That's not healthy... like eating pancakes every day.

n A few people have come to me about injuries this week as the mileage for any spring marathoners in particular really cranks up. I'm no expert when it comes to injuries, despite suffering with numerous niggles down the years. All I will say is that it is normal for your body to be feeling the strain of increased mileage and there is more than likely going to be the odd twinge where you think 'oh my goodness what's happened?'.

However, if it's something that you're really worried about then don't panic, be sensible and get it checked out by a professional. It's far better to speak to someone that knows what they're talking about rather than googling the life out of your symptoms, as tempting as that is.

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