This week we have held two facebook live sessions just to re-iterate where we are in terms of the 2020 events season and what runners should be thinking about in terms of running and staying strong at this time.

This post could be extremely long and broken into different sections, but it if it is to be of any use as a quick resource to make things easier for our runners, it needs to be short and to the point. So we'll go with just the headlines for now and we can expand if asked.

From the Q&A's, people asked for info on:

- How to train for 100 miles during the crisis
- Ideas for treadmill sets
- Home Strength workouts
- Mental training and preparation
- Immune system supression as a result of training


The SDW100 is our next event scheduled for June 13th-14th, with the NDW50 scheduled now for 3 weeks after that on July 4th.

Both of these events are very clearly at the mercy of the ongoing crisis, but as it stands, 27th March 2020, we are not going to postpone them just yet. The situation is extremely volatile and with over 11 weeks to race day there is simply so much yet to happen. This could change tomorrow, or in a few weeks, or not at all - we simply don't know. The reasons we would have to postpone are obvious and the same for any organiser: possible addition to an NHS under extreme burden, a continued ban on gatherings, landlords/ authorities retracting contracts etc.

Right now, in the UK today, we are able to run once a day. For the next 3 weeks, any runner of any ability who is training for a June ultra should be looking to run or exercise for 5-6 days a week for up to an hour at a time - and that would be Gold Standard training for a 100 mile race which is 11 weeks away.

A training block for an event should not last more than 12-14 weeks, for any athlete. Because that is the maximum sustained period of training where improvements are continuous before a plateau would be reached and a race or easy period would need to be inserted.  

If you are entered into the SDW100 - break your training into the following phases starting from now:

Base training: 8-11 weeks out from race day
Build phase: 5-8 weeks out from race day
Peak phase: 2-5 weeks out from race day
Taper: from 2 weeks out until race day
Recovery: 2 weeks post race

Right now we are in the base phase of your training. You should be looking to build consistency and include variety. Speedwork should be done at the start of a training block for a 100, not at the end. You should be looking to increase specificity through a training block, so more volume and aerobic conditioning the deeper into your training block you get.

An ideal week at this stage might be (all of this can be done locally to you)

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Progression run 60 mins: 15 mins easy, 15 mins at breathing threshold, 15 mins Lactate threshold/ zone 4/ 10km effort, 15 mins easy
Wednesday - Recovery Run: 30-40 mins very easy / 100 mile race pace
Thursday - 60 mins easy/ zone 2 overall with 3 x 6 mins at 10km effort with 2 minute easy jog recoveries in the second half
Friday - Recovery Run: 30-40 mins very easy
Saturday - Easy/ Zone 2/ Aerobic Endurance 60 mins with 10 x 10 sec pick ups working legs but not lungs
Sunday - 60-90 mins at race pace with race day kit on board

Total Volume: 5-6 hours

Of course ideally in time we would stretch that long run in terms of duration but far too many athletes are guilty of leaning almost exclusively on that long run each week and losing any consistency day to day. That is a balance which never pays off. I would rather have an athlete run 5 days a week an hour day, rather than a three hour weekend run and twice for an hour in the week. 

If you run a similar shape of week every week as above for the next 3 weeks you will be in fantastic shape coming into the Build phase of your training block. 

If you are not used to running extremely local routes then I would urge you to get the OS Mapfinder app. Which allows you to see all the local roads and trails around you and plan new routes that keep you within a relative stones throw of the front door. If you are not used to training alone, not doing 'training races' or running shorter loops, use this as a chance to explore those things and I guarantee you, that you will open up your running horizons. When this is over you may not want to do your 20 mile long run on the 0.5 mile local loop but the option is there to use that for other things - double days, speed work, back to backs, mental conditioning.


Many people have less recovery time available to them given the current situation. Front line workers may have none whatsoever (which is why we are offering those people exceptional cancellation options), those at home with young kids still trying to work may also struggle. However if you are someone who is now not commuting and potentially have more recovery time available to you, use it. You may be training lower volume than usual, but the more you focus on sleep, routine and eating as well as possible, the more energy and motivation you will take into your running when things free up again.


As ultra runners one thing we know for sure is that through tough times, we endure and return stronger. If you are finding the current situation is causing anxiety or stress - and that will be the case for the vast majority of us, you will find your cortisol levels are higher and associated symptoms prevail including but not limited too fatigue, 'fuzzy brain', fluctuating appetite and mood swings. Use your running and training to add structure to your day, and use these things to relax your mind. If you can get out even for 20-30 mins for a walk that is absolutely better than nothing at all - for your mind and your body. Relax and don't stress about training. The above plan if you can run it will give you the feeling of working productively and improving fitness and conditioning for whatever is ahead.


Just a brief idea of a few sessions we often presecribe as treadmill workouts for those who have access at home. These can be translated into turbo, eliptical, watt bike sessions etc.

Treadmill hills - set to 8% and jog slowly for 1 mile then 1 flat mile at a faster pace and repeat x 3

Treadmill HIlls/ Hike: 5' w/u on 0 incline, speed 6.5kmph. Maintaining speed throughout, alternate 5' at incline 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 with 5' on flat in between each climb. Total time 55 mins

Treadmill Hills/ Hike: 5' w/u. Keeping speed at 6.5kmph, 2' at each incline 8,10,12 then 4' on flat. Repeat x 4 for 45 mins total

‘Michigan’ speed session – This involves no stopping or slow running. Run ¾ mile fairly hard (around half marathon effort) then ½ mile faster (around 10k effort) and repeat x4 (total distance of 5 miles). Include a 1 mile warm-up and warm-down jog with strides and dynamic warm-up exercises like butt kicks, fast high knees and skipping. 

Pyramid speed session – 800m-1200m-1600m-1200m-800m with rests/ easy jog of 2 mins-2.5 mins-3 mins-2.5 mins-2 mins, running the shorter distances at 5k effort and the longer ones closer to 10k effort. Try to have the second half distances run slightly faster than the equivalent distances in the first half. Include a warm-up and warm-down jog with strides and dynamic warm-up exercises like butt kicks, fast high knees


Now is the time to be doing some strength and conditioning work to accompany your running. With the current restrictions, this is the ideal time to get into the habit of doing these exercises regularly to complement your running. Twice a week for 20 minutes using just your body weight is a great place to start and much as with the running plan above, is gold standard if you can keep this up consistently. A 15-20 minute set might look like this:

Plank Hold - 30 secs
Side Plank - 20 secs
Bridge - 60 secs
Bridge Hold - Lift alternative legs x 10 on each leg
Clams - 15 on each leg using band
Squats - x 12 Using ski pole to hold weight
Lunges - 6 forward and 6 back
Press Up - Hold for 60 secs
5 Press Ups
Side Lunges - 6 on each side concentrating on balance
5 Press Ups 


For those concerned about immuno suppression through training please read this article carefully, it is expansive and informative. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and there are some very strong ones in this area. IN particular the hypothesis that training hard/ at or above lactate threshold might supress the immune system day to day (which is something we all clearly want to avoid at this time) has long been touted as fact, but more modern research shows that may not be the case.


Lastly, from Eddie Sutton one of our lead coaches at Centurion Running. Some advice on kit to look at using during lock down

As the gyms have shut down, lots of us are now needing to move our strength work outs to our homes. At Centurion we have come up with some great bits of kit which will help keep you motivated, moving, strong and further bullet proof you against injury. 
Mat - Providing yourself a ‘space’ to work on will help-both for safety, but also for mental focus- once the mat comes out the work begins! A towel can be used, but is more lightly to slip!
Kettlebell- go for an iron one- easier to grip and make you look really tough in the background of all your insta shots…go for a medium weight one so you can do lots of exercises with it. Anything between 8-14kg should do the trick. 
A TRX which attaches to a doorframe-This I reckon is  a brilliant way of at home exercising without the need for any weights…you just need a strong doorframe. Lots of videos out there of good exercises and also really good for mobility for those tea breaks between sitting at your desk for hours. Pop up and stretch, squat and lunge everytime you make a cup of tea or get bored during that conference call and you’ll be amazed how much better you feel. 
Resistance bands - again here are a million of exercises you can do with these bands (not just ping them at the kids when they head to the biscuit tin again!) you can also add them to your everyday strengthwork outs to make them harder when you dont have access to weights 
Ladders- this is a bit of a hidden gem for trail runners. Lots of us wont be able to hit the gnarly technical trails we love so much, but with a ladder you can still work on foot speed, reaction and look really cool (ahem!) at the same time 
And for comedy points and a great game for playing with kids (or dogs or both!) try these….
Tag us with your indoor work outs  @centuriongrunning and we can share all the great ideas and sessions everyone is doing! 

I wanted to take the opportunity to expand further on the situation regarding our race postponement, cancellation and explain the financial and logistical issues faced not just by us but by organisers in general. 

Overall since the news the outpouring of support has been overwhelming, particularly on our facebook Centurion Community page. But there have been those who have asked for 100% refunds and become quite angry with us for only offering 70% of their money back if they can’t make the new date. Then in between we have some runners frustrated that we aren’t offering deferrals and transfers. I feel that everyone deserves the full picture, we have always tried to be as transparent as possible.. Because of the overwhelming support I realise also some people who are not happy do not feel able to speak out or ask questions, so I hope that this goes some way to alleviating any frustrations.
What I won’t do is re-iterate why we are postponing and or cancelling events. Please see the Full Statement here for those details. This is an unprecedented situation.
We have had a few complaints from people about the new race dates. In particular why the SDW50 has been moved to the start of Half Term weekend and the day after the Beachy Head Marathon. We have one group who are proactively mobilising to complain and ask for that to be changed. 
Whilst I understand the frustration, this affects a very small number of people and ultimately the date is good news to many others. The summary here is, we simply can’t win. Whichever date we choose, someone will be unhappy. But here’s the factors we have had to consider when finding new dates:
- We are postponing 3 events, and doing so into a period of 18 weeks, where we already have 5 other events scheduled. 
- We cannot have a 50 mile within 3 weeks of another 50 miler, because of the Grand Slammers - less than 3 weeks is what we deem the minimum safe recovery period between races without encouraging runners to injure or compromise their health. We cannot therefore also have a 100 mile race within 3 weeks of another 100 miler. Roughly 25% of the field of each event is comprised of Grand Slammers so this is a significant issue.
- We need to ensure the Start and Finish are both available, these are locations that cannot be moved, in some cases because there are simply no alternatives - over the last 10 years of staging these events, we have looked.
- We need to ensure there is no clash of events on those dates on the routes.
- We need to ensure the key check point locations are also available. In the case of the 100s we have 13 check points to move too
- We need to have availability of the Medical Team
- We need to have availability of the Timing Team
- We need a core of Staff from our regular team to be available.
- We cannot have certain events on at certain times of year. The prime example being the Thames Path 100 too late in the year, because of regular flooding on the route. The same has been true however of both the NDW50 and the SDW50 both courses that have flooded regularly this winter (River Mole NDW50, River Arun/ Alfriston SDW50). 
When you take the above considerations into account, we were left with 5 possible weekends for 3 events, total. And then in terms of configuration of the calendar we were reduced down to three options, the three we have gone for. Quite simply, we did not have alternatives. 
Ultimately, postponing or cancelling is extremely expensive and in offering the policy that we have, we have taken a substantial financial loss. We are yet to see the full picture of this because a. we do not know how many of our runners will take the refund and b. if necessary to try to replace them which is almost certain, how many of those ‘lost’ entries we will be able to replace.
We have also lost money when moving the events in question, so there is an immediate financial implication here too.
We have offered runners two choices in the postponed or cancelled events. Around 85% of the costs of staging an event, are incurred prior to race day. When we elected to postpone an event, at this stage for the three races in question, outgoings have been lost to the following, this not an exhaustive list:
- Deposits for venue hire. In some cases we have received free transfers to the new dates. In some cases we have been charged the full hire amount. Because those contracts stipulate that if the venue cannot replace the booking then full charge is incurred. Obviously at this juncture, our bookings have a close to zero chance of being replaced. As harsh as that may seem, those venues are in the same position as us, they are hurting too and they need to do what they can to keep their ships afloat.
- Deposits for contractors. In some cases we have received free transfers to the new dates. In some cases we have been charged the full amount. This situation is identical to the one above. Contractors for events include toilet hire, medical, timing, race day staff, vehicle hire, caterers etc etc.
- Card and registration fees that are incurred at the time of booking which are non-refundable (we pay all card fees when entries are received, the card fee is not levied on top of the entry fee as in the case of some other events).
- Disposables for the initial events that will be out of date before the first event can now take place. This includes large amounts of short dated sports nutrition (our sponsorship agreements with our nutrition partners are that we get a discounted rate on the products we put on the check point tables), and all the food we already have in stock for the first three events. Some can be rolled over but much cannot. We will of course try to send this on to be used in some way but with all events looking at going the same way this might be impossible.
- Insurance which is now invalid for the original date. We have had to arrange new insurance for the new dates.
- Admin. This is the most vast and incalculable area. How much admin is involved in a move of this nature? A very large amount. Time effort and cost is sunk here that a figure cannot simply be put on. 
- We also have in stock medals, tees, buckles and trophies for these events. These do not have a date on to reduce waste which is a great advantage here as they can be stored.
The money lost to each postponed event varies greatly, but having more than one event we need to show parity in our decisions across each event. Refunding different levels for different events would lead to all kinds of issues.
Why are we not offering transfers?
Because most of the other events are full to capacity. We cannot increase the start list of races like the A100, CW50, SDW100 even by a handful or the venues will be over the safety limits we and those venues have set. Until we know how many people will cancel for a refund, we cannot be sure how many places we will have available in the postponed events. If we have say 50 cancel from both the SDW50 and NDW50 and we have requests for transfers that is absolutely something we can consider. But transfers from the TP100 to other 100s is not possible.
Why are we not offering deferrals?
To do so is to delay the problem. Ultimately if we are forced to move another event that may be a consideration. But if we defer entries to next year and cannot re-sell them, then the financial liability of those events is compromised for 2021. If we offered deferrals it is likely we would see a large number of athletes flow out of 2020 into 2021. We cannot calculate that number. But if for example 30% of people deferred, our events would not be viable for 2021. We cannot at most events, expand the field size because of venue restrictions. 
We have this. It allows us to be paid in full if we have to cancel events for the majority of reasons, including communicable diseases which we pay an additional premium for. However for us the timing was extremely unfortunate. our policy renewed on the 6th of February. At which point no insurer would cover any event organiser for COVD-19. It is now a named exclusion on every insurance policy out there. So we are not covered under our cancellation insurance for this virus. Many are in the same boat and include in this hotels, restaurants etc etc. Everyone is hurting here.
Longer term for us but a reality for some events who have already cancelled is, If we do have to cancel events, our sponsor contracts will not be fulfilled and they may be forced to withhold payment.
If we do have to cancel, many of the charges listed above will be incurred again and in fact increase. Because some of the contractors that have rolled forward without charge or with a partial charge, have done some purely on the basis that we will still hold the event within the calendar year, which we yet not be able to do. If that happens, we will still be charged.
Ultimately, we may yet be forced by the constantly changing situation, to cancel or postpone other events. Rest assured if that happens we will continue to do everything we can to offer everyone the best financial and logistical outcome we can.
Thanks to everyone for your continued understanding in this situation.
Thank you all for bearing with us whilst we have been through every possible scenario with regards to the upcoming events and the issues presented by COVID-19/ Coronavirus. 
We announce today that:
- The 2020 SDW50 will be postponed from Saturday April 4th 2020, to 25th October 2020 (Sunday).
- The 2020 Track 100 will be cancelled and will take place again in 2021.
- The 2020 Thames Path 100 will be postponed from 2nd-3rd May 2020, to 5th-6th September 2020. 
- The 2020 North Downs Way 50 will be postponed from 16th May 2020, to 4th July 2020.
All entries will be carried forward to the new dates. If you are entered into one of the events listed above and still want to run on the new date, you do not need to do anything else.
If you cannot make the new date, or would prefer not to run the event on the new date, you are able to cancel your entry now for a 70% refund. 
Whilst the situation regards to public health may force a change, at the moment all other 2020 race dates stay as they are including and from the 2020 SDW100.
We have waited as long as we could to see how the situation would develop, in the hopes that we would be able to stage one or more of the early season races safely. That time has passed.
At this moment we simply cannot be sure we can stage the events above safely or even at all, from a staffing, volunteer, medical team or runner perspective.
- We cannot guarantee volunteer numbers required to carry out the events safely.
- Staff shortages due to infection or self isolation are a very real possibility in which case the events could not be held safely.
- Whilst legally and technically we are still able to put the events on, we cannot guarantee zero transmission at this point - for runners, volunteers or staff.
- Our medical team are at this moment in time still able to meet the safety requirements for the individual events. But if and when those personnel are called in to bolster the NHS and handle excess cases, we may no longer be able to guarantee that cover. It is also completely unfair to place any additional burden on the NHS at this time as a result of a long distance event. Accidents and issues both minor and major do happen frequently at events of this nature and we need to be in a position to eradicate that possibility.
This is a truly heartbreaking decision to make, as it has been for all event organisers over recent weeks. Some of you will be frustrated with the outcome, please rest assured we explored every alternative and every one came with significant downsides. We have tried to pick the path which offers the greatest net positive whilst keeping safety and sustainability at the heart of each event. 
- We want to give you each the chance to run the event you wanted to - in 2020
- We wanted those of you attempting both the 50 and 100 mile slams to still be able to do so in a more congested but not dangerously over congested fixture list
- To provide all runners the best financial outcome we can, without sinking the Centurion ship, so to speak.
As it stands, we are aiming to deliver all  postponed events as originally advertised in everything but the date. We ask runners please to be accepting if for reasons beyond our control, minor details need to be changed. 
All runners in all four affected events have been emailed with details on how to process the refund if they wish. 
To all of you, we must ask you more than ever to pull together as a community to get us to help these events happen. The new calendar will take a toll on all of us, staff and volunteers in particular. By having a more congested calendar, we need more volunteers over a shorter space of time. If you were considering volunteering for the earlier dates, please do let us know if you are able to attend the revised dates.
We are confident that we can succeed, however, in putting on the same standard of event that we always have and always will - across the board. In this plan we have strived to do the best despite the costs on all levels and we will continue to do that throughout a difficult year and into the future.
On a final note, this situation places a burden on all of us. If we share that burden then we will all emerge from this better, with a stronger sense of community and well being. We have been met with an overwhelming response from members of the community, contractors, landlords and in fact all parties involved with the sport and the race. It shines a great light on what good we can all do if we try. We want to treat everyone the same way with one clear and transparent policy for all. 
If any of you have questions or concerns, particularly if these changes affect you personally in a way that we can assist with, please contact us as usual at [email protected] . Please bear with us for a response, we will come back to every email as quickly as we possibly can. Thank you.