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Book Review: 824 By P J G Robbins

824 book review.jpg

“I honestly believe that most people could complete the MdS if they put their mind to it.

The thing that will stop almost everyone from signing up to even a regular marathon is their mindset.

It’s all too easy to be overawed by the magnitude of the challenge and giving up before you’ve even put your name down.”

- P Robbins

I really enjoyed this book; it’s a quick informative read. If you like running you’ll probably be able to relate to a lot of what he says. It covered off how the author started running, his training over the years, the challenges he’s entered into including the Marathon des Sables. There are lots of useful pieces of information in relation to his training and equipment. It provides a detailed account of his time in the desert and what he learned.

I’ve made a number of notes to help me with the MdS and have written down all the things I may find useful going forward to help me with my challenge.


  • You know what works for your body – listen to your body!

  • If you set out with a specific distance to run in training. Make sure you stick to it. Nothing more, nothing less. (Barring injury)

  • Have a race strategy for any race you enter into

  • Do hill training

  • Drink water while training

  • The treadmill is another tool you can use as part of your training.

  • Run at least three times a week.

  • When running with others get in step with someone who’s slightly better than yourself and allow them to drag you around.

  • Run an ultra any ultra, just something beyond a marathon distance

  • Run a 50-miler. If you’ve done it once it won’t be so daunting when you get to the long day.

  • Run a multi-day ultra back-to-back marathon. This is what it’s all about so get use to it.

  • Have a run walk strategy. (9 mins running, 1 min walking)

  • Start off slow.

  • Get a foam roller


  • Kit – Raidlight Olmo 20 Litre Backpack

  • Other Ultra brands – Aarn, OMM, Inov8

  • Sand goggles?

  • Take walking poles for the dunes?

  • Take ear plugs


  • You fly from Gatwick to Ouarzazate its then a coach transfer to Berber Palace (5 mins away)

  • “The Road Book” for the MdS race you’ll receive on the coach.


  • Weigh all your food to ensure you’re getting the most calories per gram

  • Take a variety of different food with you.


  • “The only peril comes from a lack of preparation on the part of the competitor.”

  • Drink all the water that’s given to you.

  • Imodium tablets are a must in case you get the shits!

  • Take salt tablets every two hours.

On the Long Day

  • Focus on your breathing and running as efficiently as possible

  • Rory Coleman did a relentless march

  • One salt tablet every twenty minutes

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