Martin Slack

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

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41 weeks, 57 miles and an incredible difficulty forcing myself out of the front door!

I hate tapering off before races. There is a narrow minded focus I achieve when actually running that I really miss when I lose 5-6 hours of training compared to an average week. Unfortunately a byproduct of training for longer distances is it can be later in runs where this is reached. I will occasionally have shorter efforts between 5.4 and 7. 5 miles where this happens but it doesn’t usually kick in at least until the main hill about 3 miles into the run. Usually when I set off for runs longer than this I can focus better as I know I will be out for more time.

Apart from Monday’s two laps of 5.4 miles, I have found a serious melancholy about setting off for any running since. Once I was into each run, I got some momentum and felt better afterwards. I have attributed this to a bit of a crisis of confidence about next weekend’s race. Whilst I have ran more in training for this than...

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42 weeks, 54 miles and an infrequent but valuable battle with pain

I covered 10 laps of my usual 5.4 mile loop this week. The festive period was a complete break from running which I felt I needed. For the last 15 years or so, I have always ran on Christmas day. I usually associate the hour I’d spend on largely traffic free roads with being quieter than the rest of the year and a rare opportunity to have the streets entirely to myself for that time.

I haven’t given it the same significance this year. I think because I have warmed to night or early morning running this year it was going to be less of a change. I was also conscious of being on track for running over 250 days out of the year and while my wife and her side of the family largely turn a blind eye to this, they do all value Santa Time as something we are meant to spend together!

I did two laps on Thursday and Friday followed by three more on both weekend days. My issue on the outside of my...

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43 weeks, 37 miles and a reminder about delayed gratification

I really struggled for motivation this week. I found the midweek running difficult to gain any enthusiasm for. I think this was because I wasn’t fully recovered from last weekend’s long run. Nevertheless I forced myself out of the house for 2 laps of 5.4 miles and 2 laps of 7.5 miles during the week to maintain something resembling consistency. I spent most of the time during these listening to podcasts and going through the motions ltterally and figuratively.

Today’s effort was definitely not podcast friendly. It had served as my main light at the end of the tunnel for this week and something I had looked forward to eventually happening since suggesting it to my brother Ben several weeks ago.

I have a sentimental fondness for the Fairfield Horseshoe route. My wife kindly let me sneak off to run it one morning on our mini-moon last year and I had ran it in the opposite direction when...

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44 weeks, 51 miles and a new distance PB for a training run

My midweek running for this week was virtually non existent. I was very conscious of allowing the sweat rash on my back to heal and only did one loop of 5.4 miles on Wednesday and Thursday. I had committed to running 38-40 miles as a longest training run before Paris and it was always going to be better being 4 weeks out rather than leaving it till next week.

I had some indecision about whether this would be easier on Friday evening or last night. After the weather warnings for Saturday, I took the easy option and chose Friday as this was forecast to have the less severe weather.

Since I have ran 40 miles several times now in race conditions, I was quite confident about covering the distance in training as long as I could keep my attitude and focus at a similar intensity to races.

I had read a sports book called Epic by Simon Barnes in two sittings earlier in the week and found...

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45 weeks, 10 laps of 7.5 miles and a reminder of what pain can teach us

I like that I have a high pain threshold. It is something I have learnt to moderate over the years and it has helped me achieve things I never would have come close to otherwise.

The physical side of pain I am very good at shutting out. This has a positive impact on my running in that I can stay in races when suffering with cramp or minor injuries, the flipside of this is that I sometimes mess up fuelling during the race and try to survive too long on what I’ve already consumed.

The running I have done this week only consisted of 7.5 or 15 mile runs and without sounding arrogant, I was able to shut out pain from a sweat rash on my back and a friction rash under my arms for the time it takes to cover that distance without too much effort. Outside of when I’m actually running, my threshold has been embarrassingly lower and I have spent most of the week in some level of discomfort. The...

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46 weeks, 83 miles and my first 300+ mile month

I have long believed that if my weekly training is consistent over a period of time in the build up to a race, I have earnt the right for race day to go well. Since I usually include a reduced mileage week every 4-5 weeks, this doesn’t tend to result in me covering a huge distance over a calendar month.

Prior to last month, my highest total was around 270 miles which was when training for the Last One Standing a few years ago. This was when my midweek runs wouldn’t exceed 10 miles and although my long training runs were broadly similar, I was definitely doing less 2-a-days than I am now. In November I had 7 days where I ran at least twice and only 4 days off. This evened out to significantly north of 270 miles!

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I started the week with a steady 5.4 miles on Monday then twice more on Tuesday. I did two laps of 7.5 miles on Wednesday and Thursday, then 3 laps on Friday. I had tried...

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47 weeks, 65 miles and a greater understanding of my mask

I certainly noticed the drop in temperature this week. The ability to run without gloves is something I usually take for granted. I took Monday and Tuesday off following the long run from last weekend. Most of my midweek running consisted of running 5.4 miles without them, my fingers becoming numb at some point on each run, then me caving in and wearing them on my evening run. This happened for the 10.8 miles each day from Wednesday to Friday.

I went running on Meanwood Valley Trail with my brother Ben at 11am on Saturday morning and wore a windproof skull cap and gloves during what should have been the warmer time of the day. We covered 10.6 miles and I enjoyed the company although there was still a bit of me depending on him for directions which I shouldn’t really need considering how many times we have done that route!

I had planned on this week being lower mileage than the last...

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48 weeks, 10 laps of 5.4 miles and a 30 mile run

This week has given me back something I haven’t had since August. On back to back weekends I had ran the Beer Ultra again and was a sweep for all 26 miles at the Whitworth Trail Marathon. Despite my knee not having fully healed at that point, the mental resilience was still there and I had a sense of certainty about being able to finish both.

I think what my running has missed since then has been a long training run that I know will be a battle. While I have maintained a reasonably high weekly mileage recently, I have dodged the sort of effort where you know something is going to hurt and you’ll have to use both arms to peel yourself in and out of the car after the event!

I stuck to laps of the 5.4 mile route with one lap on Monday and two on the other weekdays. These were largely comfortable and I was particularly proud of a parkour type move on one of them, where I managed to swerve...

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49 weeks, 10 training runs and my second time above 80 miles on a training week

I like to think of the time I spend running on my own as being purposeful from a mental health point of view as I can allow my mind to wander and often come up with solutions or make decisions I am unable to reach without the endorphin release.

For the 6 days of running I did this week, that hasn’t been working. Admittedly there were some sessions where I was immersed in listening to a podcast and more interested in the lives involved in those than my own. What I have gained from this week is a better understanding of where the line is for me with over-training and the difference between running to gain a good mood versus only being in a good mood whilst running.

I covered 15 miles a day on Monday and Tuesday, this was then followed by a 7.5 mile run on Wednesday and a running specific pilates class that evening (every caricature about someone my size doing pilates is true based on...

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50 weeks, 78 miles and a renewed appreciation for running little and often.

This week I tried to have a narrow focus on the day to day running without taking into account the planned total as a whole. I did the same 3 a day on Tuesday and enjoyed having 2 beers on the last out and back 7.5 mile legs. There is something far more refreshing about cold beer in cold weather than when it is hot.

I did another 7.5 miles on Wednesday and twice more on Thursday. I had real difficulty sleeping on Wednesday night and was wide awake from about 3am so waited until 5am for the streetlights to come on and headed out for the first run. Ironically the second in the early evening was at a far better pace and I found I used less energy to keep warm.

I then did 10.4 miles on trails with my brother Ben on Friday and one of his friends Malcolm. Malcolm is a far faster runner than both of us but luckily he was happy going along at Ben’s pace. I joked at the end that we didn’t...

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