General Guidance

IN NAM '17 Desert Challenge

The IN NAM ’17 Desert Challenge is fast approaching, and advance preparation is key to crossing the finish line in May. The aim of this section is to provide you with training hints, tips and advice, alongside some more general practical information as the departure date approaches.


As we have a cross section of graduates with varied abilities and experiences, we have kept the training plans generic. Feel free to tailor them to your needs and ability.

The running training plans are designed for beginners who are embarking on their first steps towards completing an event. You can tweak these plans to increase the distance and speed if you feel they are too easy. (Alternatively, please feel free to ask the training team for a bespoke training plan!)

For those more experienced graduates who have completed a number of events; we recommend following a “maintaining mode”. This is the period when you’re not actively training for a race.

Training two days per week is the bare minimum to prevent losses in fitness. If you are going through a busy period at work and are struggling to get out the door to train, then doing two runs or going to the gym will go a long way towards preventing detraining. You can repeat it as many times as you’d like until you’re ready to start a new event- specific training plan.



As we approach the event, and in response to incoming questions, we will provide you with more general information such as suggested kit list, daily routine details, and more general tips on what to expect. Check the “Practical Prep” tab for more!

The training milestones to be completed

The purpose of the action plan is to break training for Namibia into small achievable goals such that you remain motivated. Completing these milestones will ensure you are in great shape for the trip. It is also important from a safety point of view that the milestones are completed. Note there is some degree of flexibility with regards to the times set.

10km Run
– To be completed in around 1 hour
– Task completed before beginning of November

1/2 Marathon
– To be completed in around 2 hours and 15 minutes
– Task completed between January and beginning April subject to Marathon event selected

Home Marathon

Barcelona (European Graduates)
Woodlands (USA Graduates)
– To be completed in around 5 hours
– Task to be completed in March

Namibia Training Weekend
– Task to completed in April



10 ways to motivate yourself to train

Measure and track your progress
Joining perfomance tracking apps like Strava, Runkeeper and others can be hugely helpful to structuring and motivating your training. They provide a means to analyse your perfomance, and also a place to store all your training details and interact with other local runners if you wish. We recommend Strava which has a free app to measure run and cycle training.

Put your kit on
Getting your running kit on helps put you in a running frame of mind and the chances are, once you’ve got it on you’ll feel too guilty to take it off again without having gone for a run!

Be ready
A flicker of motivation can easily be snuffed out if going for a run entails rifling through the laundry basket for some clean kit and a 20-minute search for your watch. Have your kit laid out ready and you’ll be able to seize the moment.

Just do it
Sometimes, we spend so long agonising about whether or not to go running that we could have been and come back by the time we’ve reached the end of our deliberations! So just get up and go before your brain starts lining up the pros and cons.

Run with friends
Arrange to go for a run with a friend or colleague and you are far less likely to cancel and let them down than if you pledge to run alone. Joining a running club gives you the same sense of accountability – not to mention lots of new routes to try and buddies to run with.

Set intermediate goals
As you train for the big event, we recommend finding smaller races locally to take part in with your friends- these will be achievements in themselves! Why not use the Namibia grads Facebook group to organise race entries with your local (or less local!)Namibia team mates?

Plan a reward
Give yourself something to look forward to after you’ve completed a run or gym session. You could even keep a mileage jar, putting in a pound, euro or dollar for every mile/km you complete and spending the money on a treat at the end of each month.

Have a goal
Goals – whether they are race finish lines or a desire to achieve a personal best time – give you something to aim for, a reason to lace up those trainers. They also give your training purpose and structure – each run or session plays a part in the overall plan, and can’t just be skipped because you aren’t in the mood!

Imagine the consequences
Picture yourself not going. How will you feel later on? Guilty? Irritated? Stressed? Now visualise yourself coming back from a run or gym session feeling pleased with yourself, re-energised and proud of your dedication and commitment.

Get stranded
It’s easier mentally to be running towards home than away from it, so get your partner or a friend to drop you off a few miles away and run back. That way, there’s no chickening out!