30ème Sultan Marathon des Sables - Journey to the Sahara, 2015

MDS 2015: Research and goal setting is now underway…

30ème Sultan Marathon des Sables - Journey to the Sahara, 2015

This is the first of my weekly dedicated MdS posts and as such I’m going to start at the beginning!

I recently attended a Team Work/Team Building seminar for work and there was an interesting correlation between what behaviours and expectancies a Team might need to foster to what an individual competitor at MdS might require to achieve successful outcomes.

Below are my takeaways from this particular seminar in relation to my MdS goals:


The incentive for me is the chance to achieve a dream – to complete a race that I thought was beyond me until recently.


I’d like to finish in the top 10% of finishers- that would be huge! Failing this I’d be happy to finish in the top 50 British finishers.


They say pride comes before a fall but I’m not entirely convinced by this. I look at this word as ‘Proud’ – I want to finish MdS with my head held high and knowing that I gave it everything – to me this is pride. I want to feel proud of myself and, I guess, I want those nearest and dearest to me to feel proud of my achievements.

Resilience & Endurance

Obviously, running across the hottest desert on the planet and carrying everything you might need over six days is going to require mental resilience and physical endurance – life and my running to date have provided me with quite a bit of both so therefore I’m going to keep on keeping on with it!

On the mental resilience side I’m going to start meditating more on my long runs, playing word games and counting games when the pain starts kicking in. I am also starting to think about how to incorporate happy memories into my thought patterns during tough moments on the run.

Endurance wise, I’m just going to keep on running longer and harder – off-road, on-road, with race-weight pack and in race-weight plus pack! It’s becoming clear to me that I’m going to have to run at least one ultra race before heading to Morocco and I have my sights on a couple at the moment.


Determination, in my opinion, is a by-product of incentive, focus and pride. I am determined to realise my dream, to maintain my focus and to feel proud about the achievement once I cross the line in April 2015!


Consistency in training, consistency in the organisational and planning stages, consistency in the race plan! A consistent and methodical approach to all aspects of the Marathon des Sables should go a long way to getting me across the finish line!

Preparation & Organisation

Three maxims come to mind on seeing these two words:

  1. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail!
  2. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.
  3. A place for everything and everything in its place.

Fortunately I am, if I say so myself, very good at planning and organising! My mug at work states I HEART SPREADSHEETS and I have a number of these already in operation for my MdS preparation! So far I have sheets covering everything from my weight, my training mileage, my equipment list with comparisons on price and efficiency and, obviously, one that is dedicated to financing this endeavour with a few more in development. I’m also a fan of a good list, I have a hand written list on my desk at home and ‘MdS List’ on Evernote that is synced between my tablet, my computer and my phone – should anything come to mind then I jot it down and add it to my Evernote list for further consideration and research.


I am by no means a natural optimist but I am pretty good at keeping a positive mental attitude when it comes to my running. So it is that I keep reminding myself that this is real, this is fantastic, I can do this and most importantly I will do this!

Peace & Blessings

2 thoughts on “MDS 2015: Research and goal setting is now underway…

  1. Ash

    Hi Alistair,

    I clearly remember that same thought process, I’m so envious of you doing the 30th edition, I wish I was going back.

    The one bit of advice that I received prior to MdS2014 that I’m going to pay forward is this – MdS is 60% mental. The other 40% is in your head.

    With your placing goals kit weight, food and feet are going to be your priorities. That and getting in the sauna frequently in the month before flying out.

    I’ll be following with interest!


    1. Alistair Flowers Post author

      Hi Ash

      Thanks for the comment, I’m glad my posts seem to be getting out there!

      I aim to put out an MdS specific post once a week either on a Thursday or Friday so I hope you enjoy them.

      Thanks for passing on the wisdom about mental strength!



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