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Blog: The Marathon des Sables 250km run: follow St Mary's physiotherapist on his 2017 challenge!

Setting yourself a challenge for the New year can mean different things to different people. For St Marys’ physiotherapist Rory Brown it means running 250km in the desert over Easter. The Marathon des Sables (MDS) is an annual event attracting over a 1000 like-minded individuals from around the world to Morocco, where they take on the heat and sand dunes of the Sahara. “Most people think I am crazy, but I have been a runner for many years covering all the normal distances and have always been fascinated by the challenge of the MDS” says Rory. Rory will receive months of support and training from the resources and staff here at St Mary’s university, ranging from nutrition advice to strength and conditioning work. What sort of training is necessary? Training for an event like this needs a long term plan as you end up covering the equivalent of a marathon a day during the race! Training is focussed on a gradual increase of time on your feet and strengthening of both the legs to help with the dunes, whilst also training the upper body as the race involves carrying your own food and kit. As part of the build-up, it is important to include some more specific elements relating to the event itself. With this in mind Rory completed a three day (84mile) run along the Ridgeway in November, giving him a chance to get used to consecutive long days over variable surfaces. This also gave him a chance to try different nutrition strategies, recovery techniques and items of equipment he will need to carry with him for the event. This, Rory found, was “Surprisingly ‘easier’ than I had expected, largely I think because of the varied surface and also the fact that you are running at a lower intensity than you normally would on the road. It was also great to help start building my confidence that I can do this”. Up next will be a single long run of around 45miles, followed by heat acclimation training closer to the time to improve his bodies’ ability to exercise in the conditions expected. Nutrition will also play a key role over the coming months both in maximising training and recovery and also finding out what may work as far as food and fluid are concerned for each day of the event. The challenge facing Rory has already started as training is a major component of his race, and will likely bring both mentally and physically testing times. Training for a sporting goal at any level is made easier with a good support system, and here at St Mary’s we have all the resources available you help you with you achieve your health, fitness and sport related goals this year. Our services include both physiotherapy and rehabilitation, helping you get back onto your feet, and sport performance services, available to provide personalised strength and conditioning coaching, nutritional advice, assessments, or to just help you find where to start! Follow Rory’s progress over the next couple of months and learn more about how our support services that will help him meet his challenge. To book an appointment with the Physio and Rehab Services please call 0208 8240 4070, visit our website or email Or, for a discussion of your needs and suitable starting point or to make a booking with the Sports Perfomance Services, please contact us: Website | Email | 020 8240 4070

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