Training for a marathon can feel like a selfish thing to do

EDP running columnist, Mark Armstrong, out on a training run...with some cows.

EDP running columnist, Mark Armstrong, out on a training run...with some cows. - Credit: Archant

Sometimes I feel selfish for committing myself to running a marathon.

It's a feeling that has developed since the training runs have really ramped up in recent weeks.

On Saturday I was pleased to complete 20 miles – this will be my furthest run before the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of the month.

It went as much to plan as I could have hoped really. I didn't ever complete deplete and if push came to shove I could have carried on.

However, the run took more than three hours to complete, which should demonstrate just what a commitment training your body to run 26.2 miles is.

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When you're training to run that distance it really isn't for the time poor.

I'm lucky to have a support network that has allowed me to make the commitment – my dad managed to entertain my three year-old daughter, Lara, whilst my wife (and training partner) and I were out on the run. I'm not sure who was more tired in the afternoon…

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But it's not even the act of running that knocks out your day. When you get home you need to be able to rest. Telling your daughter that you physically can't get on the floor to do a puzzle with her wasn't a nice feeling. Why should she understand why her old man is mad enough to attempt a marathon?

But then I got thinking again. By committing myself to running it is promoting a healthy lifestyle to Lara and that is definitely something I want to be doing.

When I get home she always tells me that I 'smell of running' – by the expression on her face I don't think it's a fragrance that I'll be able to market.

Despite her nasal issues with running, she is desperate to be like her mum and dad, so much so that we've signed her up for the 1K race that takes place the day before the actual marathon.

I want her to feel that sense of achievement when you get a medal round your neck after completing a race.

Then she might be able to understand why she doesn't quite see so much of daddy around the house in the run-up to a race.

What are you racing for? Why do you run? Drop me a line at or on Twitter @markarmy

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