Running column: Time for Mark Armstrong to rethink his running goals and something will have to give

Mark Armstrong is tackling his second marathon in Nottingham this weekend. Picture: Edinburgh Marath

Mark Armstrong is tackling his second marathon in Nottingham this weekend. Picture: Edinburgh Marathon - Credit: Archant

Bearing in mind this is a running column I have a small confession to make: I haven't run at all over the past week.

Mark Armstrong cuts an exhausted figure at the end of the Edinburgh Marathon - is he ready to do it

Mark Armstrong cuts an exhausted figure at the end of the Edinburgh Marathon - is he ready to do it all over again? Picture: Alison Armstrong - Credit: Archant

In fact I haven't run at all since the Edinburgh Marathon. It's not that I don't want to – I'm just mindful of what I've just put my body through and know it needs rest after months of intensive training.

But I'm still operating in unknown territory – how long do I need to leave it before I can start training again? I'm already getting itchy feet and my running trainers are just staring at me, imploring me to get out there and knock out a 5K.

MORE: It wasn't pretty but Mark Armstrong can call himself a marathonerI've resisted so far and perhaps more importantly it's given me some time to reassess my goals for the rest of the year.

I need to know what I'm training for when I don my Mizunos once again.

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After Edinburgh I was going to target the Norwich 10K in August before doing the Royal Parks half marathon in October.

To continue with that plan would probably be the sensible option…

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But my Edinburgh experience has left me feeling like I need to do another marathon sooner rather than later.

I feel like I made a lot of mistakes and made life very difficult for myself as my time of 5.25 demonstrates.

I'm proud to have got round but I'm not proud of the time I did it in. I need to improve that and I've been looking at potential marathons before the end of the year.

The conundrum is how much would I be compromising the Norwich 10K and Royal Parks if I were to sign up to do another marathon?

I want to smash personal bests in all of them but I know that is very unlikely and to try and do that would almost certainly result in an injury breakdown.

Under Neil Featherby's guidance I'm going to be doing some more high intensity sessions which should hopefully get my 10K time down and naturally quicken my marathon pace.

The difficulty is the marathon I'm thinking of signing up for is the Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham at the end of September, just two weeks before Royal Parks.

To expect to run a personal best at Royal Parks just two weeks after completing a marathon is highly unrealistic so it looks like this is the race that will have to give.

I'm okay with that and from what I've heard Royal Parks is probably a race to experience rather than get your head down to knock out a PB.

Neil wisely told me to give it a couple of weeks before signing up for another marathon before the end of the year.

Am I ready for the long training runs, the inevitable aches and pains and of course all the conditioning exercises I have to do each night to keep injury at bay?

In a word: yes. In a weird sort of way, that's what excites me. The actual marathon itself is a reward for all the work you've put in to get to the start line.

MORE: Five lessons I've learned in training for a marathonI really want to do another one despite knowing first hand how much it hurts physically and mentally. That nagging sense of unfinished business with 26.2 miles just won't go away.

I'm pretty sure I've already made my decision.

Nottingham, here I come…

P.S I promise to at least do some running to talk about next week.

MORE: Master the mind before you run a marathon

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