REBEL IN THE SAHARA. //
Rebels aren't shy of a challenge and Sophie O'Mulloy is taking on her greatest challenge yet- a 7-day trek across the Sahara Desert. Sophie has been training hard over the last few months to take on the dunes, plateaus & salt flats of the Moroccan Sahara. Leaving for the African wonder this Friday, we caught up with Sophie to hear about her training and how she's prepped for the challenge ahead...
What made you decide to take on the challenge?
When I started working in London, I couldn't believe how hard I found it to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day. I decided to sign up for the Paris Marathon out of the blue (having never run further than 5k) and 1Rebel became a huge part of my training ground for it - I was hooked after the first session. That was in 2015 and ever since then I've been looking for my next challenge. I'd heard of people from my company doing the Sahara Trek and it sounded mental; a once in a lifetime experience whilst also raising money for 2 incredible causes. I filled in the application in September, never expecting to be chosen, and then got handed the golden ticket just before Christmas!
What are you most nervous about?
The food situation. I'm a huge foodie (going a week without Franco Manca or Padella pasta gives me nightmares) and the thought of my only real protein source being tinned sardines for 8 days is slightly terrifying. I've been reassured that there's enough food for 2 helpings of breakfast and dinner though...
What has your training regime looked like?
At first I focused on trying to get the miles in - to get used to what it's like to walk all day and to make sure my boots got worn in. However I realised that it's pretty difficult to replicate Saharan conditions over winter in the UK and there's only so many hours of your weekend you can give away to it. Instead I've been focusing more on regular weight sessions, building strength in my legs and core whilst making sure I remain aerobically fit through regular Reshape sessions at 1Rebel. I've never been that comfortable in the weights room so one of my goals for this year was to incorporate weights sessions into my regular training regime to build up confidence, so it's been great having the trek as something to focus on and work towards.
What have you found most difficult in your training?
I was a cardio junky before I started training for this and only ever felt like I was getting a good work out if I was gasping for air and pushing my heart rate to the max. It's been difficult to learn how to work with weights to get the most out of sessions when I have such a short amount of time before work or in between meetings. It's a totally different kind of workout. I found it hard to get used to the slower pace but seeing the results and how much stronger I've become since starting gives you a big confidence boost. And just visualising what my body's going to have to actually go through during the trek has helped. During our 3rd day we climb Erg Ezzahar, a 700m dune which translates to "The Screaming Dune". I'm hoping all the leg sessions were worth it!
How has 1Rebel helped with your training?
1Rebel is my go to place to switch things up and refocus myself and my form. I love treating myself to a mid-week Rumble or a Sunday Reshape. It's also been a self check for my fitness levels along the way, having been doing less cardio, putting myself through Kim's tread sessions or Lisa's AMRAP rounds in Rumble gives me a good idea of where I'm at, compared to when I was doing HIIT sessions 4/5 times a week with no focus on weights.
Do you remember your first 1R session?
Yes! Like it was yesterday, taken by the infamous Pierre. My friend Catherine took me, it was brutal, like no class I've ever done before, but I booked in for another straight away, became a shareholder a few months later, never looking back.
Who is your favourite 1R instructor?
Can you have a favourite?! I think they're all amazing but the ones I refresh my web page for to get a spot in next week's class are Lisa and Kim's. They are killer sessions every time but also the best playlists known to man! I absolutely love the place, everyone's so friendly and it's been great to see it grow from the beginning.
Sophie is raising money for 2 fantastic charities:
The EY Foundation - helping young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, find alternative routes into employment and education, or even set up a business.
Lord's Taverners - Enhances the lives of disabled and disadvantaged young people, through sport and recreation.