Running column: Mark Armstrong wants to get faster so it’s time to go hard or go home

Mark Armstrong (blue shirt) took part in one of Neil Featherby's running group sessions this week. P

Mark Armstrong (blue shirt) took part in one of Neil Featherby's running group sessions this week. Picture: Neil Featherby - Credit: Archant

After flaking out of it a couple of times I finally managed to get myself to one of Neil Featherby's running groups this week.

I was a little bit concerned when I got tagged into the group on Facebook messenger and I saw several people refer to the venue, at Felthorpe Pavilion, as 'the field of pain'. Gulp.

It didn't take me long to find out why.

I knew when Neil said he would be working on our 'lactate threshold' that this wasn't going to be a picnic.

For the uninitiated, this term means when you are at the point at which the blood concentration of lactic acid begins to exponentially increase the longer you go on.


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Forget the jargon, the long and short of it is that it hurts.

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We proceeded to do a number of drills whereby we were asked to run at our individual 10K pace followed by a short period of recovery. We then did shorter periods at 5K pace alongside what felt like increasingly brief periods of rest. The whole session lasted about 45 minutes and by the end myself and the other runners certainly knew we'd done a workout.

It was hard but I almost get a weird pleasure out of beasting myself in training.

It's tough to enjoy it whilst it's actually happening but that feeling of fulfilment after you've given a training session your all is hard to beat.

MORE: Part of being a runner is being able to manage your injury worriesThat of course goes for all forms of training, not just running.

It's obviously important not to annihilate yourself every workout. I saw someone on social media the other day say that the success of a workout can't be judged on how tired you feel at the end of it – wise words.

For the couple of days after I kept it quite light but the hope is over time my natural comfortable pace will get quicker the more interval training I do.

When I'm running through Tombland next month in the ninth kilometre of Run Norwich I might just be grateful to the hard yards I put in on the 'field of pain'.

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