Running column: I didn’t want to do the Trowse 10k...but I’m so glad I did

Mark Armstrong with daughter, Lara, after completing the Trowse 10k on Sunday. Picture: Alison Armst

Mark Armstrong with daughter, Lara, after completing the Trowse 10k on Sunday. Picture: Alison Armstrong - Credit: Archant

I didn't want to do the Trowse 10k.

Mark Armstrong wears the look of a man slightly in pain but pleased to see his daughter, Lara, and w

Mark Armstrong wears the look of a man slightly in pain but pleased to see his daughter, Lara, and wife, Alison cheering him on. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

I signed up for it months ago, well before my marathon training had really got going.

But with this being a well-organised, local race round where I've done a lot of my training runs, I thought it would be ideal.

Come Saturday night after I had just inhaled a Chinese takeaway, it was looking anything but ideal.

After feverishly refreshing the weather app on my phone it stubbornly refused to say anything different than windy with 'heavy' rain.

Mark Armstrong during the Trowse 10k last Sunday. Picture: Submitted

Mark Armstrong during the Trowse 10k last Sunday. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant


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Could I really be bothered?

Quite apart from being a bit of a wimp about it I didn't really want my three-year-old daughter having to wait around for the best part of an hour in the cold whilst her old man pounds around the outskirts of Norwich.

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I also wasn't sure I had the energy to rally the troops on a Sunday morning and be out of the house by 7.45am. Anyone with a (tired) child will tell you know how tricky that can be…

MORE: Ask yourself why you're posting your training on social mediaBut I made it, and fortunately the weather was nowhere near as severe as the app had warned.

It was a little windy but thankfully the rain held off.

As I lined up on the start line I felt surprisingly up for it and I thought I'm just going to go for it. At the start of the year I wanted to set personal bests in a marathon, a half marathon, a 10k and a 5k. I've ticked two of those boxes and this in all likelihood was my last chance to nail a 10k this year.

So I set off at a fast (for me) pace – around 75-80 per cent of my aerobic capacity. I wore a GPS watch but I wasn't really interested in what my pace was – I just had to run at the fastest, sustainable pace I could.

I thought it could all go wrong when I ran into the hill through Trowse but what goes up must come down and I managed to make up any time lost on the downhill stretch.

I was also able to pace the second loop a lot better as a result because I knew where I could make up some time on the course.

At the halfway point I knew I was on for a good time (my PB was 47:02 set in 2016) and once I had scaled the hill the second time I put the hammer down as hard as I could and managed to come home in 45:03.

I was delighted with the time but it perhaps says it all about me that all I could think about was that at one point I dropped my water bottle on the course and went to get it. If I hadn't done that then I would have gone under 45 minutes…what a wally.

MORE: Read Mark Armstrong's Royal Parks race reviewBut that's three PBs in the space of a month and that's nothing to be sniffed at.

I also need to understand why it's happened to get the most out of next year.

After speaking to Neil Featherby it seems the fact I have kept my training so light since the Robin Hood Marathon at the end of last month has let my body recover without losing all the endurance that was built up in training.

I've been so wary of aggravating any underlying problems from the high mileage from earlier in the year that by dialling the training back, I've kind of had an accidental taper.

Runners want to run and when you focus on one particular race so much there is a danger you can over-train for fear of being ill-prepared.

But my recent relative success has taught me that if you want to go faster that sometimes less is more.

It's probably best not to fuel it on Chinese though…

Well done to CoNAC for organising a great event, one that I'm definitely planning on doing next year.

MORE: A tale of mini cheddars and emergency surgery...Mark reviews the Robin Hood Marathon

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