Heat Training and Heat Acclimation

Preparing for an event in the heat, such as the Marathon de Sables? Performance in the heat can be significantly impaired through the impact of an increase in body temperature, as well as an elevated risk of dehydration.

Prepare for the Marathon des Sables

Conditions in Morocco for the Marathon des Sables are generally hot, and have been known to reach 50C.  So it is wise to do all you can to prepare. 

Every year for the past 11 years we have helped people prepare in our environmental chamber.  We set the conditions to ~40C and 30% humidity, to match likely conditions in the desert.  Regular sessions in the chamber causes several physiological adaptations that can reduce the adverse effects of heat on exercise performance.  

We also include an assessment of sweat sodium concentration, and help you to optimise your hydration strategy based on your sweat rate and sweat sodium concentration.

Take a look at our heat chamber here at Loughborough University

What's involved with heat training?

If you are doing an event in the heat, it is wise to do all you can to prepare.  We have a chamber in which the temperature and humidity can be increased to help you adapt.  Regular exercise in hot, humid conditions causes several physiological adaptations that can reduce the adverse effects of heat on exercise performance.

Heat chamber with text 'Heat chamber with adjustable temperature and humidity'


Whilst a one-off session in the heat chamber would give you an idea of how you respond, a series of sessions would be much more useful as it will allow you to acclimate to the heat, as well as trialling kit, and potentially also different nutrition/hydration strategies. 

We aim for at least an hour of exercise in the chamber, aiming to get your temperature up to around 38.5C for the greatest duration possible.  During the session, we will take regular physiological measurements. We will also get measures of your body mass pre and post-session and how much you drank to calculate your sweat rate. We can also measure sweat sodium concentration.

This helps us track your adaptation and can also be useful in guiding your hydration strategy, particularly if you are a very salty sweater.

Exercise can take place on a treadmill or bike.

Measurement tools used in test with text 'Measurements of heart rate, perception of effort, heat stress, temperature and sweat sodium are taken'


The number of heat acclimation sessions you may need to book with us to prepare for your event depends on many factors, such as whether you’ve been acclimated before, whether you’re male or female, and what heat acclimation resources you have access to outside the lab. 

Ideally, you should do your heat acclimation as close to your departure as possible so you will be ready for your event. However, we understand that your availability and daily schedule plays a part in when you can come in for your sessions, and it is also possible to complete an acclimation block a few weeks or even months before an event, and then 'top up' with a small number of sessions prior to departure.

Our ideal scenario for you to achieve maximal adaptations is to complete 6 sessions in the chamber and to supplement this with passive heat exposures. Our general advice is the more sessions you can complete the better. This may not be possible/necessary for everyone, so we are happy to discuss your individual situation and needs, and come up with an appropriate plan.

Who is it for?

Anyone who is preparing for an event in the heat can access our service. There is also evidence emerging that the physiological adaptations to exercising in the heat can provide benefits when exercising at altitude, as well as when exercising in temperate conditions.  Exercise mode and intensity is adapted to suit the individual’s requirements. 

What do you get?

After each session you will receive a report with your data.  This explains how you responded during the session,  tracks adaptations over time and advises on how much you need to drink to rehydrate post-session. 

After your final session, you will receive a more comprehensive report which will include an analysis of how you have adapted to the heat,  information on your sweat rate and how much you need to drink to maintain hydration, as well as your sweat sodium concentration and how this influences your hydration strategy.  

Throughout the course of sessions we will also be able to help you determine an optimal, appropriate pacing strategy for your event.  You will gain an understanding of how you feel in the heat and how this relates to your physiology, so that you can keep your hydration on track and adapt exercise intensity as necessary to help you avoid overheating.

Cost of sessions

Cost for an individual are:

1 – 3 sessions £100/session

4 – 6 sessions £85/session

7+ sessions £80/session.

Discounts are available for bookings for more than one person.

We also have different (lower) rates for major event bookings where we have multiple people preparing at the same time, such as the Marathon de Sables.  Please contact us with your specific requirements for a bespoke quote.

Hear more on our service

Marathon Des Sables preparation with Fadie at Loughborough University

Tom Evans uses Loughborough University's Performance Support Services to prepare for 100 mile race