Running column: My mind is starting to play tricks on me in build up to Edinburgh Marathon

Mark Armstrong out on a run.

Mark Armstrong out on a run. - Credit: Archant

A knee injury has given running columnist MARK ARMSTRONG a lot to think about just 10 days before the Edinburgh Marathon

I did something that I've never done before this week.

I aborted a run before it had properly started.

All the gear was on, a few gentle stretches had been done, a GPS signal had been found on my watch (finally) and off I went.

Less than 100 yards later, I'd stopped.

This 'tweak' at the back of my knee that I referred to last week was becoming a real problem.


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As I trudged back in the house like a bear with a sore head (or knee) my daughter shot me a confused look… 'have you finished already?' she asked quizzically.

I had to smile, otherwise I might have cried!

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I've always had my concerns that I would make the start line.

I'm not your traditional runner build by any means and my legs still bear the scars, internally at least, of playing too much football when I was younger.

But this discomfort I was feeling at the back of the knee felt like it was putting Edinburgh in real jeopardy.

It's the sort of problem I would have tried to run through if I didn't have an event coming up but it wasn't worth the risk.

Before I hit the road again I needed someone to tell me that everything is going to be all right.

Neil Featherby booked me in for a physio appointment and on the way there I started to contemplate what I would do if they recommended that I didn't run.

I need not have worried. I was given the once over and found that I had a small muscle spasm in my calf.

A fairly firm massage ensued, not the type of one you get at Aqua Sana, and it seems to have alleviated the problem.

It taught me that I've still got a hell of a lot to learn about biomechanics – just because one area of your body is hurting it doesn't mean that area is the problem.

But more than that, it has restored my confidence in my legs and as the race nears I'm starting to genuinely believe I can do this.

I just needed someone to declare me fit for purpose. I'm desperate to run 26.2 miles and become part of the marathon club but I'm also acutely aware that I don't want to be feeling the after effects of it for months, if not years, after. No race is worth that.

So I'm doing my best to banish all negative thoughts from my mind.

I know my body won't let me down but, if I'm not careful, my mind will.

What are you training for? Get in touch with Mark at mark.armstrong@archant.co.uk or on Twitter @markarmy

Running brings out the best in people

Every runner you speak to will have their own reason to run.

It might be to lose weight, maintain a healthy lifestyle or merely to spend a bit of time with a running buddy.

But by far the most common reason is to race for a loved one that's battling against illness.

That's why it was such a pleasure to see thousands of runners take part in the Race for Life event held at the Norfolk Showground at the weekend. I was there to support my wife in the 10K event but it was also great to see so many people running to raise money for family or friends that have battled, or at battling, against cancer.

Unfortunately, my family has been heavily affected by this in the past couple of years and it always brings a lump to my throat when I see competitors with pictures of loved ones on their running gear. But for people to use their grief in such a positive way is humbling and confirms to me that running brings out the best in people.

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