When all the training is done…

T-3days until Centurion Running’s Autumn 100.

My final race for the year. The race where I hope to get the best out of myself.

I did my final bit of ‘training’ this evening, a short interval session, and all thats left between now and saturday is some easy commuting on the bike, a short run on thursday, a lot of relaxing, eating, sleeping, stretching and studying.

Its been a long and tiring season, but the end is in sight. I’ve had a good block of training over the last few months: some stunning days in the Alps, exploring the Dorset hills, going back to routes in on the North Downs, and recently some back to back marathons along the Ridgeway and Thames Path getting a look at the course for the race.

I’m looking forward to a change in focus after this race: a break from running, a justified relax, but also a complete change for the winter, preparing to go to the Arctic in January for the final team selection for the Antarctica expedition. It’ll be a good change and I’m sure my body will be very pleased with me for giving it a break; a break from intense running at least, a different focus with a lot more strength needed for the Arctic.

But before that happens, I’m going to put myself on the line this weekend, and give this race a massive final effort. Put into motion all the hard work from this year. And I’m excited.

Will I do well? No idea. That depends if I pull it out the bag on the day, and who else turns up. I cannot control how fast other people run, or if I feel great on the day, but I can control how much effort I put into it, and I’m sure as hell going to nail myself in the process. Thats all the satisfaction you need.

Relaxing ahead of the race gives you time to think deeply about why you are about to obliterate yourself over 100 miles of trails. Are we trying to prove something to other people? To ourselves? Is there anything to prove? What are we searching for? Or is it just that we enjoy having to dig deep and execute a well crafted plan, years in the making. Its healthy to have these conversations with ourselves, and affirm what is at our core (something Mark got me to do). As the layers get stripped back this weekend through shear attrition, you’d better have a solid core if you want any chance of making the finish line.

I want to enjoy this weekend. Enjoy running for the sake of running. Enjoy putting yourself up against something so demanding. Enjoy doing something that scares you. Enjoy the freedom of being brought back to the basics of what we have evolved to do.

See you on the other side.

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