Preparation for an Ultra Endurance Challenge

At Loughborough University, we have helped many people achieve their goals, in events such as the Marathon des Sables, multi-day running and cycling races and 24 hour cycling time trials, as well as mountain marathons and high altitude challenges such as climbing Kilimanjaro and Everest.

The extreme nature of any ultra-endurance challenge means that preparing fully and appropriately is vital for success.

We can help you with all aspects of your preparation, from optimising your fitness, to event nutrition strategies and acclimation to the environmental conditions.

When working with you, we draw on our experience and expertise across the University to provide an interdisciplinary support service not only delivering standard testing and assessments but ensuring these are bespoke to the individual and integrated to have optimal impact. Our Performance Support Team are experienced in working with individuals and teams to provide a unique service finding novel and innovative ways to improve an individual’s performance.


an athlete in a fitness testing lab with a mask over his nose and mouth a computer screen is in the foreground

A physiology test (running or cycling) can help you tailor your training in the lead up to an event, ensuring you make the most of the time you have available to train and optimise the relevant aspects of fitness.

We also have an Environmental Chamber.  Extreme environmental conditions can challenge even the most fit person, and we can help you prepare for these and acclimate to your event conditions (heat or altitude) in our environmental chamber, which can reach  ~45C, 80% humidity and ~4500m.  As part of this we can help you with hydration and cooling strategies.


two men sitting at a table

How we eat supports the way we train, adapt and compete, beyond that getting your nutrition right can also improve your concentration, sleep and immunity giving you to tools you need to excel.

Specific to ultra events, we can help with nutrition and hydration strategies for the event itself, addressing areas such as optimising nutrition whilst keeping pack weight down, avoiding gastrointestinal issues and appropriate sodium intake.

Our nutrition team can support to better understand your nutrition for life, training and racing. We can build a package to support you and have a combination of services available to choose from:


After recording a diet log your nutrition will be analysed and you'll meet with a Performance Nutritionist. Areas for improvement and tactics of how to improve your nutrition will be addressed. Following your meeting, a report and recommendations will be provided.

Follow up

These less formal meetings are designed to revisit areas previously covered in a consultation, finding and addressing obstacles to improving your nutrition. Putting new strategies in place to help you achieve your goals. Follow-ups can also be used to address new areas or challenges that arise after consultation improvements are implemented.

ISAK Body Composition Assessment

An internationally recognised method of body composition assessment helps to create a better understanding of the body and, with multiple measures over time, understand how it changes. ISAK body composition assessments create a profile with 5 girths, 8 skinfolds, and 3 bone breadths. Multiple assessments over time allow a better understanding of how nutrition, training, travel, as well as a number of other factors, are affecting your body and performance.

Strength & Conditioning

a man holding a side plank in the gym

Accessing support from our S&C team will help you to optimise performance and reduce injury risk.  This is particularly relevant for events of long duration, on challenging terrain, and/or where you have to carry equipment and kit. 

Utilising athlete expertise and technical coaching staff, the strength and conditioning team seek to identify the gap between current competency and the desired future state.

If an athlete is limited in performing a particular movement skill due to deficiency in a particular physical capacity such as force production, or work capacity (the ability to complete a set amount of work and recover from it) the strength and conditioning team seek to:

1) Assess the physical qualities of the athlete to understand the areas of development, including muscle endurance, strength and power, with respect to the demands of the event.

2) Provide bespoke planning solutions to help resolve physical gaps in performance in alignment with the interdisciplinary team

3) If required provide coaching solutions in person or remotely anywhere in the world, bespoke to the individual based on diagnostics, training history but most importantly athlete goals and the areas they’re trying to improve to help support their race performance.


a man with his arms raised and a physiotherapist standing behind looking at his back


Our team of physiotherapists, soft tissue therapists and network of doctors can help provide full care for all endurance athletes. 

 We would complete a full musculoskeletal screening which would include range of movement, capacity and strength testing. The screening would be individualised based on previous medical history and the goals of the athlete. The information gained would then be used to guide the management of the athlete moving forwards.  


Our aim is to reduce the risk of athletes suffering injuries but unfortunately they are common in endurance sports. Our experienced team can help rehabilitate injuries using our vast experience, facilities and network of specialists. This management and treatment helps reduce time lost to injuries allowing a swift and safe recovery.


The information gained from screening and other disciplines allows us not just to focus on injuries but improving athletes’ performance. This could be physically getting more range of movement or improving movement efficiency allowing athletes to perform over large distances/races.  If an athlete is accessing S&C support we will work in conjunction with the S&C coach to provide support to both rehabilitate/prevent injury, as well as enhancing performance.

For more details about our physiotherapy services please visit our clinic page.