Running column: It’s time to put myself back together again before the Edinburgh Marathon

Running columnist Mark Armstrong on a training run in Hatfield Forest, Essex. Picture: Alison Armstr

Running columnist Mark Armstrong on a training run in Hatfield Forest, Essex. Picture: Alison Armstrong - Credit: Archant

I feel a little broken this week.

Four consecutive weeks of long runs are starting to take their toll physically and mentally.

When you're training for a marathon there's always that little part of you nagging away at the back of your mind – 'have I done enough?'

With that in mind I perhaps did one long run too many at the weekend and I've picked up a bit of a niggle in the back of my knee.

It will settle down and I've just got to be sensible during my taper to ensure I don't aggravate it any more.

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I haven't logged countless miles over the past month to not even make the start line in Edinburgh.

With that in mind I've also started to become a bit of a hypochondriac – every little strain I feel makes me worry.

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I tripped over my dog during the week and felt my back twinge – I'm definitely getting too old.

Had I not been training for a marathon (did I mention that?) then I wouldn't have thought anything of it. But the big day is less than three weeks away and paranoia (or maranoia) is definitely setting in.

So that's how the mental battle is being played out.

The physical battle is a different animal – I'm asking myself exactly what I should be doing during the tapering phase?

My body is feeling the effects of hard training and the intensity definitely needs to be dialled back, but how much? I also don't want to lose any fitness I've gained.

So a lot of my thinking space is being taken up whilst I try and maintain some sort of semblance of a normal life.

I can at least console myself with the fact that the hard training is done.

After speaking to Neil Featherby, it seems that relatively short, easy runs will be the order of the day between now and Edinburgh.

I'm lucky to be able to call upon Neil's experience and I would highly recommend anyone planning to tackle 26.2 miles to have someone they can get good advice from.

You can feel lost in your training if you haven't got anyone to bounce ideas off. There's only so many times you can google 'pain in x after long run'.

Am I ready? Not yet. Will I be ready? I hope so.

I've just got to slowly put myself back together again.

Let's just hope my dog doesn't keep trying to trip me up…

Eliud Kipchoge is my new idol

I was in awe of Eliud Kipchoge's attempt to become the first man to go under two hours for a marathon last weekend.

It started very early in the morning, way before I've had my first cup of tea of the day, but I managed to catch the last 45 minutes.

To watch a man so effortlessly bound round a track at the pace he was doing was wonderful to watch. There was no hint he was suffering, even towards the end, and although he missed out on the record by 25 seconds, the Kenyan showed that one day someone (probably him) will break the two-hour barrier.

People have accused the Nike funded project of being a gimmick – the time will not go into the record books as the race wasn't sanctioned by the sport's governing body.

But anyone watching Kipchoge couldn't fail to be inspired by what he did. If it made a few people get out for a run last weekend, admittedly a lot slower, then that can only be a good thing.

Let me know how your training is going. Email me at or contact me at @markarmy

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