Dr Richard Blagrove


  • Senior Lecturer in Physiology

Richard completed his undergraduate degree in Sport Science with Management and his master's in Exercise Physiology at Loughborough University. In 2008, he was appointed as a Lecturer in Strength and Conditioning Science at St Mary’s University, where he also held the position of Programme Director of the BSc Strength and Conditioning Science for six years. Richard then went on to work at Birmingham City University for two years as Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science and in 2018 was awarded Senior Fellowship status with the Higher Education Authority.

Richard returned to Loughborough in April 2019 to take up a role as Lecturer in Physiology, and became Senior Lecturer in 2022. Richard is also Programme Leader for the MSc Strength and Conditioning and contributes to teaching on several undergraduate and other postgraduate programmes in the School. 

Richard's research interests broadly relate to the physiology of endurance running and how overuse injuries can be prevented in endurance athletes. From a performance perspective, he is interested in the determinants of middle- and long-distance running performance and particularly how strength-based exercise can be used as a tool to improve the metabolic cost of running. His recent research explores the value of strength training in offsetting the risk of injury in runners, with a focus on improving markers of bone health in endurance athlete populations. His work also investigates the interaction between energy availability and strength exercise, and how strength training can be used to maximise outcomes during rehabilitation from the relative energy deficiency in sport syndrome and/or from an eating disorder.

Applied/consultancy activities

  • Richard is an Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and previously a Director of the UK Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA). He is also a tutor and assessor for the UKSCA and a member of their research and community grants panel.
  • He has provided strength and conditioning coaching support to numerous athletes over the last 15 years, including several Olympic and Paralympic finalists. 
  • In 2015 he published a book entitled 'Strength and Conditioning for Endurance Runners’ (The Crowood Press) and in 2021 co-edited ‘The Science and Practice of Middle and Long Distance Running’ (Routledge). He has also contributed six book chapters to various textbooks.
  • Richard has completed consultancy work for many national governing bodies and organisations including England Athletics, the Football Association, Northern Ireland Institute of Sport, and the Royal Air Force.
  • Richard is an invited member of the Royal Osteoporosis Society exercise expert steering group and previously managed the sport science support to The Royal Ballet Company in London.

Invited talks and scholarly activity

  • Richard has been an invited speaker at several national and international conferences including the Royal Society of Medicine, Ministry of Defence Rehabilitation Conference, and European Athletics Association Conference. 
  • Richard has been invited to appear on over 20 podcasts and webinars and regularly provides expert commentary for national newspapers and magazines on a range of strength and conditioning related topics.
  • Richard has held the position of External Examiner at Cardiff Metropolitan University, the University of Worcester, the University of East Anglia, University of Winchester, and Middlesex University. He has also been the invited expert panel member at programme validation events at the University of Essex and the University of Gloucestershire.

Featured publications

  • Hutson, M.J., O’Donnell, E., Brooke-Wavell, K., Petherick, E, & Blagrove, R.C. (2021). Incidence of bone stress injury is greater in competitive female distance runners with menstrual disturbances independent of participation in plyometric training. Journal of Sports Sciences, 39(22), 2558-2566.
  • Bruinvels, G., Goldsmith, E., Blagrove, R.C., Simpkin, A.J., Lewis, N.A., Morton, K., Suppiah, A., Rogers, J.P., Ackerman, K.E., Newell, J., & Pedlar, C.R. (2021). The prevalence and frequency of menstrual cycle symptoms are associated with women’s availability to train and compete: A study of 6,812 exercising women recruited using the Strava exercise app. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 55(8), 438-443.
  • Hutson, M.J., O’Donnell, E., Brooke-Wavell, K., Sale, C., & Blagrove, R.C. (2021). Effects of low energy availability on bone health in endurance athletes and high-impact exercise as a potential countermeasure: a narrative review. Sports Medicine, 51(3), 391-403.
  • Blagrove, R.C., Bishop, C., Howatson, G., & Hayes, P.R. (2021). Inter-limb strength asymmetry in adolescent distance runners: test-retest reliability and relationship with performance and running economy. Journal of Sports Sciences. 39(3), 312-321.
  • Blagrove, R.C., Bruinvels, G., & Pedlar, C.R. (2020). Variations in strength-related measures during the menstrual cycle in eumenorrheic women: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 23(12), 1220-1227.
  • Blagrove, R.C., Brown, N. Howatson, G., & Hayes, P.R. (2020). Strength and conditioning habits of competitive distance runners. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(5), 1392-1399.
  • Blagrove, R.C.,Howatson, G., Pedlar, C.R., & Hayes, P.R. (2019). Quantification of aerobic determinants of performance in post-pubertal adolescent middle-distance runners. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 119(8), 1865–1874.
  • Blagrove, R.C., Holding, K.M., Patterson, S.D., Howatson, G., & Hayes, P.R. (2019). Efficacy of depth jumps to elicit a post-activation performance enhancement in junior endurance runners. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 22(2), 239-244.
  • Blagrove, R.C., Howatson, G., & Hayes, P.R. (2019). Use of loaded conditioning activities to potentiate middle- and long-distance performance: a narrative review and practical applications. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 33(8), 2288-2297.
  • Blagrove, R.C., Howe, L.P., Cushion, E.J., Spence, A., Howatson, G., Pedlar, C.R., & Hayes, P.R. (2018). Effect of strength training on physiological variables in adolescent distance runners. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 50(6), 1224-1232.
  • Blagrove, R.C., Howatson, G., & Hayes, P.R. (2018). Effects of strength training on the physiological determinants of middle- and long-distance running performance: a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 48(5), 1117-1149.
  • Nevin, J., Smith, P., Waldron, M., Patterson, S., Price, M., Hunt, A., & Blagrove R. (2018). Efficacy of an 8-Week concurrent strength and endurance training program on hand cycling performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 32(7), 1861-1868.
  • Blagrove, R.C., Howatson, G., & Hayes, P.R. (2017). Test-retest reliability of physiological parameters in elite junior distance runners following allometric scaling. European Journal of Sport Science, 17(10), 1231-1240.