Running column: Mark Armstrong looks at how getting your training right is a balancing act

Mark Armstrong gets to grips with his training programme. Picture: Alison Armstrong Photography

Mark Armstrong gets to grips with his training programme. Picture: Alison Armstrong Photography - Credit: Archant

Sometimes I think there needs to be at least a few more hours in a day – 24 just isn't enough.

Mark Armstrong is running the Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham later this month. Picture: Alison Ar

Mark Armstrong is running the Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham later this month. Picture: Alison Armstrong Photography - Credit: Archant

I'm learning that as you get older finding time to do the things you enjoy becomes harder and harder.

Work, family, hobbies – they're all vying for your time and it's the latter that often suffers in our busy lives.

Fitting in your runs can feel like a real chore at times and often needs the support of those around you to make it happen.

It's so much easier to sack off the training you had planned because there are always so many other things that need to be done.


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But in recent weeks I've prioritised my training in the build-up to Run Norwich and I feel so much better as a result.

I've got more energy, I make better food choices and I like to think that I'm a better person to be round but you'd have to ask my wife…

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I think one of the main reasons is that I've shortened a lot of my running sessions in recent weeks – making sure I do a few high intensity sessions along with my weekend runs.

MORE: Why interval training is the way to get fasterDespite living in Long Stratton for the best part of 10 years my wife and I seem to have just discovered that there's a huge field next to the high school, absolutely ideal to fit in a quick training session.

It doesn't have to be for long.

One of the pitfalls of marathon training is that you feel like running anything less than 10 miles leaves you feeling incomplete somehow.

It's important to get out of that mindset because, as previously mentioned, mixing your training up is the key to bringing your time down and giving you longevity as a runner.

I've got stuck in ruts before when every single one of my training session is run at medium pace – it's better than nothing of course but the result is that your progress soon plateaus, which can be disheartening.

I'm hoping that this new training programme that Neil has put together for me will reap rewards at Run Norwich in just over a week's time. I've got a little bit of a hamstring strain at the moment but am hoping that it settles down in time.

MORE: Being a runner is about managing your injury problemsBut even if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world, there's always another race.

I just hope that I enjoy training for others as much as I have for Norwich.

I might not nail the race but I feel like I've got the preparation about right and I've found a balance that's been lacking before in my training for previous events.

As Neil so often says – fit running into your lifestyle or your lifestyle into running – it's about getting the balance right.

Pictures: Alison Armstrong Photography

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