Training in the desert – the freedom of running



One of the advantages of running is that it gives you a tremendous sense of freedom and providing there are no safety risks, you can virtually do it anywhere. If you are travelling either in the UK or overseas, you literally need to just take your running-kit and shoes with you, and you aren’t reliant on gym opening-hours. It can allow you to explore new places and come face to face with different cultures, and in my experience, even bring about lifelong friendships. If you have had a busy day, it’s also a good way of de-cluttering your mind.

I started jogging (literally 100 metres!) back in 2003, and built the distance up to running a marathon later that year. I honestly believe that anyone can do this, providing you have no injuries. You just need to really want to do it. Without passion, you won’t be able to motivate yourself to go out on rainy winter-mornings or for example, continue with your training-programme when you are on holiday,and there are other distractions!

Let me give you an example. As you will know if you are following my blog, I have just returned visiting Dubai for 4 days There was a lot to squeeze in – catching up with my friends Paul and Mark, doing some sightseeing and of course, some workouts! We thought that it would be fun to visit the desert on Saturday, so we decided to integrate some exercise into the day.

We packed up a healthy picnic with quiches and salads, and drove from the centre of Dubai to the desert. After savouring our culinary delights, we rested for a while, and then, Mark, Maxwell (my friends’ extremely cute Shih Tzu dog) and I went for a fun run over the dunes. It was a really tough workout running up and down them, but Maxwell couldn’t stop barking with excitement.There was nothing but sand, palm trees, a few Bedouin huts and the odd camel on the horizon.

We ran for about 30 minutes, and then, did some Pilates exercises lying on the warm sand, including some squats, leg-raises and the plank. It was a unique way of experiencing the desert.

Of course, you may not have any plans to visit the desert, but this illustrates the versatility of running and how you can adjust your plans to incorporate some exercise if you really want to. Whether you’re near a park, industrial estate or desert (!), you can make it happen!


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