Martin Slack

Training towards the Centurion Autumn 100 mile race. Aiming for a 22-24 hour finish.

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5 weeks, 61 miles and a return to backing myself in group settings

One of the things I crave at the end of most days after work is being able to head out for an hour to 90 minutes, not having to talk to anyone and only having a usually mildly humourous podcast for company.

I am quite a confident person most of the time, but this has a habit of shrinking occasionally in large groups. I had volunteered to take part in something at work this week with around 40 others, this was going to bring me back out of my comfort zone, even with only 17 involved in the first session.

I can sit in a group and not contribute with the best of them, luckily the first time I opened my mouth apart from the introductions was something I had thought about several times on my running earlier in the week so could describe it quite coherently. There is an element of the head clearing which running offers that is largely based on going through things for yourself.

I had set...

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4 weeks, 10 training runs and 120 miles

My running for this week has largely been viewed as one collective effort spread out across the 7 days. I have listened to podcasts less and made a conscious effort to not go off too fast at any point. Slowing down when I’ve felt I needed to, has also been important. It’s one thing being able to look back next month on this week being the one where I built up the last bit of endurance to help me finish, it’s quite another if I’m looking back at it as the one that burnt me out!

In terms of sequence, the 7.5 mile laps fell as follows across the week

Monday: 1
Tuesday: 2
Wednesday: 2
Thursday: 2
Friday: 4
Saturday: 4
Sunday: 1

My midweek running has previously maxed out around 52.5/60 miles so being at 82.5 going into the weekend was likely to prove more of an effort. My last 2 laps on Friday were quite uncomfortable and I struggled with the heat.

I have a habit of running on an empty...

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6 weeks, 98 miles and a harsh reintroduction to Autumnal weather

This week was initially going to be my lower mileage one as I had going to the first day of the 4th Ashes test taking up most of Wednesday pencilled into my calendar from November last year.

Unfortunately I used the low mileage ‘out’ a few weeks ago. I did 7.5 miles every morning from Tuesday to Friday including an evening 7. 5 on Thursday and was reasonably comfortable throughout all of that. It was noticeable how much darker it was at 4:30am setting off but I wasn’t uncomfortably cold at any point. This was solely reserved for my day out at the cricket with my dad. I really enjoyed the sport when it wasn’t rained out but I’d completely forgotten about how quickly you get cold being stationary! We managed to tough out the day and left just before 6pm knowing no further play would take place.

This left back to back 30 milers for yesterday and today to get my mileage in for this week...

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7 weeks, 12 training runs and 103 miles

When I first tried to plan out how my training would last over a year towards the Autumn 100, I really wanted to give Paris by Night my best efforts which meant lots of miles in November, I was also aware I needed lots of elevation to manage the Scafell Sky Race, but I knew once both of those were ‘out of the way’, I would need my highest weekly totals to be in the 2 months to 1 month away window.

I have some reservations about attempting to run high mileage for several weeks in a row so this week will have been the first of 3 higher than usual with one reduced week in between. Because I still wanted at least a 3 week taper before the race. It pretty much had to go to plan.

I managed 52.5 midweek miles between Tuesday and Friday consisting of one 7.5 mile lap on Tuesday then two laps the other days.

My weekend plans initially were for back to back 22.5 mile days, I did four laps of...

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8 weeks, 64 miles and 800 miles of driving across 4 days

I made the decision to swap this week with one from a few weeks ahead in my plan. I had originally thought I would run less the week of the 4th Ashes test as I am going to the first day but figured I would lose more time to run this week than that one.

I ran 5.4 miles on Monday and Saturday with a few 7.5 mile runs thrown in between. I had the opportunity to see the Edinburgh Military Tattoo with work on Thursday and stay over into Friday. I then had my cousin Annie’s wedding yesterday so had 200 miles per day of driving for the last 4 days of this week.

I really enjoyed both occasions and got away with watching around 2 hours of cricket on an iPhone yesterday evening at the evening reception. I defended my actions to the bride as bonding with her new cousin in law! She quipped back that she had heard this happened at weddings!

I timed my drive back today so I would get home for the...

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9 weeks, 84 miles and my first Win

The plan for this week initially was to run 75 miles including today’s race and aim for 6-6.5 hours for the 31 miles it covers. Fortunately sometimes prior experiences shape your mindset so it supersedes your initial plans.

After taking Monday off, I did lots of 7.5 mile runs during the week, 2 some days, 1 on others and totalled 53 miles including Saturday morning’s effort. I had my flat as a halfway point when doing multiple laps and was happy enough stopping in for a pint of squash rather than carrying a water bladder.

I had intentionally packed light for today’s race and essentially backed myself to finish on water, cereal bars and salted peanuts. I also had honey peanuts packed as emergency food (these have to be intact unless you have an emergency!).

I started off at a reasonable pace but was quite conscious not to ‘blow up’ too early. I had a nice chat with one of the other...

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10 weeks, 75 miles and my first three-peat of 20 milers

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with training plans. I mapped out around a month ago how I wanted the rest of my training until the Autumn 100 to pan out. I’ve always thought as long as the weekly mileage holds true, how this is split between midweek and weekend stuff can fall how I want it to land.

I had adapted my plan so I could run 20 miles from Morley to Harrogate to my sleep over shift at work on Friday, then run 20 miles home yesterday. While I usually back my weekend ability to make up miles, there was a certain ‘staring down the bottom of the barrel’ element to being at work on Thursday afternoon only having done one 7.5 mile run so far this week!

I did another 7.5 mile loop that evening and found the outward 20 into work quite comfortably within my current thresholds for hills and I was able to cope with the heat by seeing off the entirety of my 3L water bladder.

...

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11 weeks, 60 miles and a light at the end of the tunnel

This was my penultimate recovery week before my taper starts in the middle of September. I covered 30 miles midweek and another 30 split in 2 sessions this morning. The midweek stuff consisted of 4 laps of 7.5 miles across Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I only had one 4.15am get up before being at work which I think was wise. I find when I’m on a recovery week, doing all of my running with early starts doesn’t mean I have the same benefits of when I catch up on sleep a bit more.

Today’s efforts consisted of 2 laps at 4.15am of 7.5 miles then a short break for taking my wife to the gym followed by 2 more laps. The weather was starkly different as the day got on. I was quite happy that despite Strava losing me for the best part of 6 miles on my last lap, the pace for my first session and my second were virtually identical.

I have one more recovery week planned in week 4 of the...

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12 weeks, 76 miles and some good fortune from the kindness of strangers (plus Ben and Tom)

I freely admit there are certain things I have a symbiotic relationship with, my phone is the obvious example but I also am quite fond of my GPS watch and Kindle 10 tablet. I wouldn’t necessarily have put the car in with these items until this week.

I managed 4 laps of 7.5 miles near my house during the week which, apart from some 4:15am get ups, were pretty uneventful. Unfortunately this was where the uneventful descriptor stopped for the week.

I had a rather difficult 15 miles yesterday as under my arms and sides had rubbed severely due to the weather and possibly that my running shirt was a bit too big. After some emotionally charged time in the bathroom with my nappy cream, I was in a fit enough state to run again today!

I had initially negotiated with Ben that we would do 10 laps of Post Hill Woods and I would run the 5.5 miles there and back due to my car being in for repairs...

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13 weeks, 68 miles and a frustrating week following American Politics

My running this week consisted of 8 laps of 7.5 miles from Monday to Saturday and 4 laps of Post Hill Woods with Ben today. It was good to manage 30 miles as a training run on Friday morning and having Huel as a mid run meal seemed to work well. I have also drafted a plan for the remainder of my training which should see my maximum weekly totals rise to 90, 97.5 and 105 miles before the end of middle of September. This will allow a sufficient taper so my best performances aren’t left in training.

I have always taken an interest in American sports. From sitting about 2 feet away from the TV watching NBA finals around 1996 to following Brett Favre in the NFL not much later. Luckily for me, American sports have never pretended to exist in a vacuum.

I think of the Miami Heat ‘hoods up’ Instagram post as one of the most powerful political stances in my lifetime following the death of...

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