Running column: Don’t let your ego get in the way of your enjoyment, says Mark Armstrong

Put your ego to one side when out running, says Mark Armstrong. Picture: Alison Armstrong

Put your ego to one side when out running, says Mark Armstrong. Picture: Alison Armstrong - Credit: Archant

Everyone has one whether they admit it or not.

Some are bigger than others but it's something that can really get in the way of your running enjoyment.

I'm talking about ego, of course.

I've certainly got one despite trying to hide it as much as I can at times. But I have to admit that it has made me not want to run in the past.

Last year I got to the stage that every run I went on, even in training, had to be a personal best. It was naïve and unsustainable.


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It came to a head at Run Norwich last year when I had trained really hard to the point that the only way I was going to enjoy the event was if I set a new PB.

Anyone that ran that race will remember what a hot day it was, conditions that were hardly conducive to setting a new fastest time.

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Anyway, I came in just over a minute outside my PB and I had the real hump with myself after.

It took a few months after to appreciate what an excellent event it was and what a privilege it was to race around the city I've called home since going to university here.

I've still not learned my lesson though – after the Edinburgh Marathon I was almost embarrassed to tell people my time (5-25), which is ridiculous when you consider that only one per cent of the world's population has completed a marathon.

MORE: Five lessons learned in training for a marathonI had missed out on the time I wanted but just to complete the race was an achievement in itself.

It's important to have goals to strive for but they should not compromise your enjoyment. A fierce competitive streak is fine, as long as you use it in the correct manner.

None of us know how long we've got left in this world so if you're capable of getting out there and getting a run in then just take a moment to appreciate that.

That's why when I line up on the start line at Run Norwich on August 6 I'm going to do it with a smile on my face. Yes, I will want to set a new PB but it won't make-or-break my race and I certainly won't be embarrassed to tell anyone my time.

Enjoy the event and more importantly, just enjoy being able to go for a run.

MORE: Part of being a runner is dealing with injury

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