I believe I have once said in these articles ‘set yourself a realistic but challenging goal’. Well, I have done just that. I plan in 2010 to run the Marathon des Sables. This is an endurance race of 256km across the Sahara for 6 days. It is often described as the toughest endurance race on earth, because you have to carry everything you need across the desert, including your own water for each stage.

In December 2007 a friend of mine entered us both into this mad race. It seemed a long time ago them, but now less than a year away, I’m starting to feel rather nervous. In fact, it is only 11 months away for me to train and be able to run with a 9/10kg pack on my back through sand dunes for 6 days. So how do you train for something like this?

I am running a long slow run every week to build up my stamina. I have several friends who run with me on Mondays to keep me company. The problem is now that they are going to be much faster than me as I’m getting rather weighed down.

I plan to build up my long runs to last 4-6 hours. This will be from school drop off at 9am to pick up at 3.15pm. As the race is in the desert, I’m running with extra layers so I can learn to cope with heat. My base training will last for about 8-10 weeks where I will include some weight work, hills and speed sessions. These will all initially be without my pack. I will then move onto building up more stamina and include longer runs in this section with my rucksack. My peak phase will be doing back to back marathons and I’ll finally taper for a month before the race next year at the end of March.

I’ll cover each particular training phase over the next few weeks. I will be doing this for 2 charities (F.R.O.D.O. and Against Malaria) as it will keep me going in the toughest moments both during training and in the race. If you want to keep up with my training then visit http://www.run.uk.net/trainingdiary.aspx

If you want to get fit for summer, why not try early morning bootcamps? Visit www.run.uk.net for more information or call Georgie on 07736 070612.

— from Georgie Islip