Martin Slack

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

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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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37 weeks, 75 miles and an interesting theory about back-up plans

I found this week morbidly enjoyable because of the extra challenge that running in freezing temperatures presents. I had decided to try for 2 sessions a day for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. These were all runs apart from the evening Pilates class on Wednesday. I found Thursday morning felt the coldest but my evening running was sufficiently hard to keep warm with extra layers on.

The week continued with 2 laps of the 5.4 mile route on Friday evening that was tough but I was able to switch off for large parts of this by listening to podcasts. I then followed this up with 3 laps of 7.5 miles on Saturday and my brother Ben joined me for the last 2 of these. He forced the pace more than I’d have liked on the middle lap and I had to really drag myself up Churwell Hill to not get dropped. From looking at his Strava after the run he had set a new PB for that segment. I was able to settle...

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38 weeks, 59 miles and my first run in 12 years with an old friend

I really enjoyed my running this week. I intentionally did less midweek running and was certain in my plans to finish with a minimum of 20 miles today. I did 3 laps of 5.4 miles on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then an further 7 mile run with my brother Ben on Thursday evening. This was quite a bit faster than my usual running and we were able to hold a conversation at about 8:30 mile pace which I was happy with.

I then did 2 laps of 7.5 miles on Friday which were relatively comfortable. I enjoyed listening to podcasts and could settle into my usual pace quite easily.

I finished the week with 4 laps of the 5.4 mile route today, I had a bit of difficulty with my hands going numb from the cold on lap 1 but this disappeared by half way through the 2nd lap. My friend Tom joined me for my last 2 laps which was a great boost for me. I’ve known him since we were both 10 years old but...

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39 weeks, 51 miles and a haphazard way of sticking to my decision

I quite enjoyed my running this week. From doing 5.4 miles on Tuesday and being relatively comfortable throughout, I decided to aim for 50 miles as a total for the week. This was all going to plan with further solitary laps of 5.4 miles on Wednesday and Thursday, I figured I could do 4 laps on Saturday and finish the week with 13 miles today with my brother Ben.

I had been drawn in this week by a volunteering opportunity for a multi day race in May, this was something that I felt probably 3 years away from being able to build up to, but the scope that giving 5 days of my time could end up possibly saving me £900 in entry fees quickly reevaluated my optimism!

Unfortunately this didn’t translate to my feeble attempt at running yesterday, I’ve come to terms with the fact that running 4+ laps can sometimes be really hard but I think a combination of factors such as the cold and windchill...

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40 weeks, 55 miles and my first completion of Paris By Night

I ran 5.4 miles on Monday and left the rest of the midweek running to give myself a good chance of running my best last night

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I had this image as a fond memory from last years race. This is where the runners assemble before a race briefing then the start of the race. This year was slightly different in that Guillaume pointed out the 3 non French speakers taking part were all aware of the content of the briefing so it was going to be entirely in French. I had planned my food intake so I was eating about 40 minutes before this. My logic behind that decision was apart from the checkpoint and short breaks, this race wouldn’t afford me the opportunity to eat a meal during.

I set off as part of the pack and the pace felt comfortable enough to warm up but not like I was struggling with keeping up for the first few miles. The plan was to stay in the middle of the group for as long as...

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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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