Martin Slack

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

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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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14 weeks, a rather full day of volunteering at Lakes Sky Ultra and my 2nd time leading Ben above marathon distance in training

I started the week with 7.5 miles on Tuesday morning and later on in the evening. This was then followed up with 2 more laps at 4:30am both on Thursday and Friday. My wife has joined a local gym and in the spirit of supporting her to get used to going, I have shifted my morning running back to earlier in the day.

I spent around 14 hours of yesterday outdoors volunteering at LSU. This was my 3rd year of being at one of their checkpoints and I was lucky to be paired with Darren who was another keen runner. We had some great views from our checkpoint

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The day went quite quickly and both of us took turns “dibbing” in the runners using the SI Entries boxes. The runners all seemed really appreciative of the support and to be enjoying a day out on a very challenging course. We had a decent supply of hill food that we shared and were able to graze continuously for the 8 hours or so we were...

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15 weeks, 65 miles and a reexploration of topical medication

For the first time in ages, my lack of pre-running care cost me my long running planned across a weekend. I had chafed both inner thighs really badly last Saturday and whilst I had used Prickly Heat powder the next day, I had largely ignored it and allowed the rashes to heal on their own. They had healed enough to let me do 3 laps of the 7.5 mile run during the week, but that’s where my luck ran out!

I had aimed to do back to back 30 mile runs over this weekend. I started in Post Hill Woods yesterday reasonably well and managed my first 4 laps in 1:30. I was wearing long tights and a short sleeve running tech t-shirt. The bushes in the woods were quite overgrown and I had to run as tall as I can stand to avoid getting hit in the face by branches about 3 times on each lap!

I managed the next 4, although this was slower I was still moving pretty comfortably but I could feel the rashes on...

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16 weeks, 75 miles and my first time covering 18 laps of Post Hill Woods

I have a bit of a stubborn trait about me that I can’t stand the idea of something defeating me twice. Over the last few years I’ve learnt I don’t always get what I came for the first time with my running but I am able to come back and get things right the 2nd time around. After managing 10 laps instead of my planned 12 at Last One Standing, I managed to finish London 2 Brighton 100km challenge. Last year I managed to finish the Great Glen Ultra following DNFs at 2 shorter races. I haven’t got a chance to revisit the 100km as this year there was only a 50km option but I did manage to the end at Paris by Night earlier this year after falling short in January 2018.

My failed attempt at 18 laps of Post Hill following my week of volunteering at the Dragon’s Back Race a few weeks ago really has not sat well with me at all. I spent most of the last 10 days thinking about yesterday’s run and...

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17 weeks, 70 miles and a reminder about the importance of persistence

I continued on from last week with completing the 5.4 mile loop several times during the week. I did one lap on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday followed by 2 laps on Friday, one before and one after work.

I had mentioned to my brother Ben during the week that I was planning another attempt at 18 laps of Post Hill Woods next weekend. I found looking forward to this during most of my training this week helped a lot in terms of my focus. I did another lap of 5.4 miles first thing yesterday morning and then 11 laps of Wythenshawe Park later on in the morning. These were fuelled purely by water and considering it was quite warm, I was pleased to be able to keep ‘locked in’ on the training for the around 4 hours that took since I didn’t have any sweet or savoury treats to look forward to!

I finished the week with 2 laps of the 7.5 mile route this afternoon. I had some crumpets with coconut...

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18 weeks, 72 miles and a return to higher mid week mileage

I had Thursday and Friday off work this week and managed to fit in slightly more miles than usual for Monday to Friday. During that timevI did 6 laps of 7.5 miles in total and was happy with how I settled into doing 2 of these at a time on my days off.

My brother Ben joined me for 5 laps in Post Hill Woods yesterday and continued on for another 4 laps without me which I was particularly impressed by. I had committed to going out for breakfast and this would be one of those weekends where getting back from my morning run at 1pm may be frowned upon!

I finished the week with 8 more laps of Post Hill Woods at 11am after work. These were quite fun as I had promised to get back by 2:30pm so gave myself a slight time pressure. The plan initially for breaks was to do 3 laps then another 3 then 2 but I pushed on and only took one break at 4 laps. I had some fruit cake and chugged more water...

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