Running column: What’s next? How Mark Armstrong is moving on from Manchester

PUBLISHED: 06:00 19 April 2019 | UPDATED: 06:51 19 April 2019

Mark Armstrong in action at the Cambridge Half Marathon. Picture: Cambridge Half Marathon

Mark Armstrong in action at the Cambridge Half Marathon. Picture: Cambridge Half Marathon


What’s next?

It's the question a lot of runners are constantly asking and most can produce a list of goals they have for the rest of the year.

I'm no different and I know what I'm going to be working towards for the next few months but for the moment at least I'm taking a bit of time to relax and run.

The marathon in Manchester took up so much of my thinking in the months leading up to it, it has been quite liberating to have completed that training cycle.

It's been great going out and doing some easy running where I haven't been constantly checking my pace and I can just get the headphones on and listen to a podcast or a bit of music.

I know this will only last so long and I'll start wanting a bit more structure to my training soon otherwise I find it difficult to maintain the discipline to get out and run with any kind of consistency.

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

I love having a training programme most of the time but I also appreciate how important it is to have period where you only run for the enjoyment of it.

I've felt really tired over the last week, not just physically, but mentally as well.

I loved having Manchester as my focus but, as my coach Neil Featherby has remarked before, I can be kind of intense when working towards a goal.

It's mentally exhausting, particularly those last couple of weeks before an event when anxiety levels increase and I try to stay at least 100 yards from anyone that sneezes (not that this policy helped me in the end…).

The end of my marathon training block could not have been better timed with half term and it has at least stopped my daughter Lara asking me most mornings: “Daddy… why are you always running?”

I'm still not sure I've come up with a satisfactory answer but as long as she gets breakfast I'm not sure she cares that much!

As nice as it is not to have that intensity to my training, I know that it won't last forever.

Neil knows that as well as anyone and has warned me against getting back into a serious training block too soon.

I've just kept the legs ticking over in the past couple of weeks with a few easy runs.

I'm really looking forward to helping my wife, Alison, finish off her taper for the London Marathon in just over a week's time.

I've spoken before how it's often the only time we get to have a chat without worrying our son Logan is completely destroying the house (the little monkey almost tore down one of our curtain rails earlier this week).

MORE: The story of Mark's Manchester Marathon

But with us both training for different events we have been on separate schedules meaning we haven't been out together recently.

A nice gentle eight-miler this Saturday sounds lovely whilst Grandma babysits and tries to ensure we have a house to come back to…

I reckon I've got another couple of weeks of easy miles in me before the next training cycle starts.

I've kindly been offered a place at the Lord Mayor's 5K and I'm trying not to let myself be too daunted by the challenge.

It obviously means the search for a sub 20-minute 5K resumes… let's hope it has a happier ending this time, otherwise I face up to the rather humiliating experience of being dragged off the course if I can't make the 3K mark in less than 12 minutes. Gulp.

This should feed nicely into training for Run Norwich at the end of July, another event that I'd dearly like to excel at having had a tough run during this event last year.

But all this can wait for a bit…it's time to enjoy the Easter weather and appreciate how good running makes me feel.

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