Martin Slack

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

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27 weeks, 63 miles and a mixed experience adapting to new mountain running shoes

I managed to do 47 of my 63 miles this week on trail which was around the
75% I was hoping for. This was all along the same loop of just over 2 miles. In 4 sessions from Thursday morning to Friday evening, I covered 6.3 miles in 3 loops each time. It was quite good fun lighting the way on Friday morning with my phone’s flashlight as I forgot my head torch!

My main run for the weekend was 10 loops yesterday. I had a bit of overconfidence about this having done 15 laps last summer in preparation for the Great Glen Ultra and had forgot how sodding steep the first hill feels after 5-6 laps! I also was far too preoccupied with messing around trying to skip songs on my Spotify playlist and kept taking my gloves off to be able to do this, then getting annoyed with myself because my hands would get cold!

I had a bit of a ‘storm in a teacup’ moment after leaving my gloves and hat in the car at...

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28 weeks, 60 miles and an unfortunate reminder that leg speed isn’t everything

I thought this week would be lighter since the previous 2 weekends had included longer runs than usual. My legs had no inclination to even attempt running until Wednesday. After the 40 last weekend the bottom of my hamstrings had chafed quite badly against the end of my shorts and without going into detail, it was Wednesday before this situation was resolved!

I did 7 laps of 5.4 miles from Wednesday to Saturday and was pleased to have shown something resembling commitment to manage 2 consecutive 4:45am starts to get the last couple of these in before work. I am a bit gun-shy about getting up that early at the moment but this will be easier when the mornings are lighter again.

I had commited to cheering on my friend Tom in the Manchester Marathon today when it goes through Sale so had a marginally later start (5am) to fit in my 11 laps of a 2 mile loop in Wythenshawe Park before he...

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29 weeks, 67 miles and my 2nd ultra event in 8 days

I had signed up for last week’s Cakeathon in a small window where this week’s event The Brain Tumour Charity Ultra was likely to be cancelled. This was due to only 11 of us having signed up before Christmas. Despite knowing I could not race 40 miles after last week’s effort, knowing it was relatively flat for the first half and that the cutoff was 10 hours meant I was always confident I would finish it.

I had done 4 laps of 5.4 miles earlier in the week and managed a reasonable nights sleep in a tent before the race start at 9am yesterday. I’m not great at falling asleep at the best of times so was content to have managed 6 hours of sleep. The 40 miles was virtually entirely on cycle paths. I was happy for the first hour to listen to podcasts I had missed earlier in the week. I switched to music after this and was actively trying to hold back my pace considering I was still less than...

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30 weeks, 69 miles and my first ‘podium’ finish

I managed two things this week that I definitely didn’t expect. After a very steady 7.5 miles on Tuesday, I tried running slightly faster for parts of the same route on Wednesday and got round in just under 1:04. This was good preparation for trying to get this route under an hour the next night. I’m surprised how far under the hour I got and considering I’ve lived in the area for 5 years now as well as the fact I’ve had so many efforts where I was 1-2 minutes off, it was great to finally get under it. There isn’t a massive amount of climb in this route (500ft) but it is in long enough stretches that you can’t just power up them. I think the only difference between this time and previous attempts was that my weekly base mileage is higher so I could recover quicker after the 2 climbs.

I ran a race yesterday called the Cakeathon with my brother Ben and our friends Malcolm and Andy. This...

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31 weeks, 63 miles and a healthy dose of midweek motivation

For people who have read my blogs for other races previously, my fondness for Captain Marvel and other comic books should be well known. I started my week with watching the movie adaptation on Tuesday which I thought was incredible. The 3rd act I thought was up there with the best Marvel films I’ve ever seen!

I then did the 5.4 mile loop first thing on Wednesday morning before watching Free Solo that evening. This is a documentary about Alex Honnold, the only person to have climbed the El Capitan vertical rock formation without ropes. To say this is 3000ft high at its summit feels like an understatement based on how it looks in the film.

I did the same loop twice on Thursday then once more on Friday evening. This was followed by two more on Saturday morning. I had aimed to do a minimum of 50 miles this week but didn’t want to push too much to maintain 70 considering I have races on...

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32 weeks left and 80 meaningless miles in a meaningless week

I had planned to push myself a bit more this week and then have a lighter week next week because of two races I have in the fortnight after that. After today’s efforts I feel I’ve achieved that!

My week started with 5.4 miles on Monday and 5 more laps of this loop during the week. My legs felt heavy on the 2nd lap on Wednesday evening but I kept pushing ahead with my weekly goal regardless. The weather for my 2 laps on Friday was quite tempestuous and I should have taken this as an omen for the weekend!

I had particularly enjoyed a Pardon The Interruption podcast this week called ‘Meaningless points in a meaningless game’. I knew before it started that this reference was about LeBron James overtaking Michael Jordan in an NBA basketball match on the all time points scoring list. This match was allegedly meaningless because LA Lakers were mathematically unable to make the playoffs...

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33 weeks, 73 miles and some interesting experimenting with negative self talk

I had a physically more challenging week this week, than the last few weeks have been. This was completely self inflicted and stemmed from a fall I had on my 7.5 mile run on Wednesday evening. I had ran 7.5 on Tuesday which was fine but didn’t see a tree log on the pavement and face-planted, injuring both palms of my hands and my right knee. I quite enjoyed being annoyed at myself and used the extra energy I had from my hands stinging from the grazes so I managed the remaining 7.2 miles at a slightly faster pace than usual.

Unfortunately this extra effort meant my Thursday 7.5 was quite sluggish and my first few laps on Friday generally felt the same. I managed 3 more laps of the 7.5 mile loop and was pleased to get through the first 2 relatively comfortably. I found my legs chafed quite badly on the last lap and I had to cancel my run with Ben for Saturday as I could barely walk!


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34 weeks, 70 miles and a reminder of the small margins between winning and losing

I took Monday and Tuesday off this week then ran twice a day on Wednesday and Thursday, doing a 7.5 mile lap each time. These were all quite steady and the weather was noticeably warmer than last week. I continued with 2 more 7.5 mile laps on Friday and a 10.5 mile run with my brother Ben on Saturday morning.

I watched England lose to Wales yesterday evening in the 6 Nations Rugby which was definitely the ‘highlight’ of my week. This was a really attritional battle. As good as England had looked in their first 2 games of the tournament, they were largely nullified in the second half and couldn’t counter Wales’ tactics for controlling possession and territory.

There is a school of thought that most people use their social media accounts to create ‘echo chambers’ where they can only read and listen to things from people who think like them and have similar opinions. Usually I’d agree...

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35 weeks, 75 miles and pacing my brother going above marathon distance in training

One of my first memories of running as a child is being happy after going 4 miles or so, then immediately pissed off when my Dad used to drop me back at our house and then head out for the same route again without me. There was no chance of me doing another 4 at that stage, just as there was absolutely none that my Dad would settle for finishing his running for the day with my stop, start, walk effort!

I need to learn if I offer to do parts of my run with other people and then tell them that what is a big effort for them only equates to half or less of my training for that day, this will either piss them off too or spark something in them.

I had planned a few weeks ago to try fit in a 35-40 mile run either this week or next week and offered my brother Ben he could join me for 5 laps of 5.4 miles of my 7 lap effort when it occurs and this could be his longest training run before the 6hr...

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36 weeks, 73 miles and my first appearance on a running podcast

This was another good week of progress towards the Autumn 100. After taking Monday off, I managed one lap of 5.4 miles on Tuesday evening before 2 more laps on Wednesday morning. I had arranged to take part in the King of the Hill 10k in Huddersfield and nostalgically underestimated the main last bit of the climb. It is a 5k up and 5k down format and the toughest section is definitely the last 2-300 metres before you turn back. Having listened to a podcast called Running Your Stories recently, I enjoyed the conversational style of it and how it focuses on a wide range of runners with different abilities, I had contacted the host Kevin Robinson about going on after Paris By Night, we had arranged this for after the 10k. He had initially said he was able to run the distance but couldn’t race it as he was still partly recovering from an injury. I had assumed (naively) that this would mean a...

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