Welcome to The Ultra Lab

Here you will find a wealth of information, from training plans to nutrition advice and tips on how to fuel properly during training sessions and any events you may be taking part in.

Training plan elements

In the following training plans you'll find some running jargon so we thought we'd break it down for you, the following guide should cover all bases but if you do still have questions about anything then please get in touch and we will help you out.

Training runs:

Training runs are usually about 3-6 miles long and their main objective is to build good running form and increase the time on your feet. They should be run at a pace about 5-10% below your target race pace.

Long runs:

Long runs are designed to build stamina. The only thing they are meant to do is increase the amount of time you can continuously run. Pace isn't important and we'd suggest running at about a 3-4/10.

Interval training:

Intervals are designed to increase speed and are a key tool if you're training for longer distances. It's a great way to increase your running efficiency and doesn't over stress your system which can lead to fatigue and injury.

Cross training:

Cross training is any exercise that isn't running, and ideally will be low impact. We recommend things such as yoga, swimming, cycling and strength training.

Strength training:

Whatever stage of your running journey you're at, strength training is incredibly important. Your body absorbs huge amounts of shock when you run and being stronger can help reduce your chance of injury and eat up the miles with ease.

  • Sub 28 minute 5k

  • Sub 24 minute 5k

  • Sub 20 minute 5k

  • Moderate 10k - Block 1

  • Moderate 10k - Block 2

  • Intermediate 10k - Block 1

  • Intermediate 10k - Block 2

  • Advanced 10k - Block 1

  • Advanced 10k - Block 2

  • Sub 2hr half marathon

  • 1hr 45 half marathon

  • 1hr 30 half marathon

  • Beginner marathon - Block 1

  • Beginner marathon - Block 2

  • Sub 3hr 30 marathon - Block 1

  • Sub 3hr 30 marathon - Block 2

  • Sub 3hr marathon - Block 1

  • Sub 3hr marathon - Block 2

  • 50k - Block 1

  • 50k - Block 2

  • 50 mile - Block 1

  • 50 mile - Block 2

  • 100k - Block 1

  • 100k - Block 2

  • 100 mile - Block 1

  • 100 mile - Block 2


Why do I need carbohydrate?

Carbohydrates are converted in to glycogen and when consumed they are stored in our muscles and liver. When we exercise this glycogen is used as energy to fuel our activity. There are a number of diets that eliminate carbs which can be problematic if you're looking for an immediate source of energy. We can use protein and fat for energy too, however these macronutrients take a lot longer to digest than carbohydrate. as a general rule of thumb maintaining a 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio will do you well.

How many carbohydrates should I eat?

The amount of carbohydrates you should consume will depend entirely on the intensity of your exercise program. If youre doing light exercise during your off season, you will need about 3g of carbohydrate for every kilo of bodyweight. If you're training for and/or competing in races you should be consuming 5-6g of carbs per kilo of bodyweight.

Good sources of carbohydrate: Sweet potato, oats, brown rice, fresh fruit, dried fruit.


Why do I need protein?

Protein is a key macro for increasing muscle mass and muscle recovery. When we consume protein it gets broken down in to amino acids which are then used to repair any damage that has been done to your muscles. When we exercise, whether it be running, strength training or any other exercise, we cause micro-tears in our muscles. Protein helps us recover from this damage and fortunately for us we get stronger. With this said protein is far more important for a body builder than a runner as generally runners aren't looking to increase body mass, however, if training for marathons and ultras the requirement increases.

How much protein should I eat?

Your protein requirements will vary depending on your level of activity. If you're training for anything up to a half marathon you should start at 1.2g of protein per kg of body weight, if you find you aren't recovering well or keep getting injured then increase to 1.5g per kg of body weight. If training for a marathon or ultra then start at 1.4g of protein per kg of body weight and increase accordingly depending on recovery. Experiment with slight changes in protein intake and give yourself a week at each protein level until you find your sweet spot.

Good sources of protein: Meat, eggs, dairy, fish, greek yoghurt, nuts, beans.


Why do I need fat?

Healthy fat is essential and should be part of a balanced diet. It's the second energy source your body will reach for during exercise. Healthy fats can also support cardiovascular health, joint health and improve brain function. Fat takes longer to digest than carbohydrate and protein as it contains more calories per gram, this means it's important to leave enough time after eating fatty food to allow your body time to digest them properly. Any fat left in your stomach during a run can lead to GI disturbances. Some runners are experimenting with low-carb, high-fat diets, like keto, to use fat as their primary fuel source. The jury is still out on this and the general consensus on its affect on performance is mixed.

How much fat should I eat?

In an ideal world any where between 20-30% of your total daily calories should come from fat. You can also approximate your fat requirements as 1g per kilo of body weight. If your daily calorie intake is 2,000 then between 400 to 600 calories should be from fats. This is just a guideline and as with anything you should experiment until you find what works for you.

Good sources of fat: Butter, nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado, salmon, sardines.


Why do I need electrolytes?

Electrolytes are essential minerals that the body requires to stay hydrated. They also support muscle contraction, blood pressure and nerve signalling. When we sweat we don't just lose water, we also lose sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. If we don't replace these we become dehydrated and can suffer gastrointestinal issues, muscle cramps, nausea, bloating, fatigue and a reduced ability to concentrate. A 2% loss in body weight due to dehydration can significantly impair exercise performance, so making sure we replace these essential minerals is vital, especially during prolonged training sessions and competitive events. It is as important to introduce electrolytes pre and post exercise as it is during and it goes without saying that the warmer it is, the more you'll sweat and the more sodium you'll lose.

How many electrolytes do I need?

Doing a sweat test will really help you here as the amount of fluid and sodium we lose varies massively with anywhere between 400 to 2,400ml of fluid per hour and between 115 to 2,000mg of sodium per litre of sweat. A general suggestion would be to aim for 700 to 900mg of sodium per 1,000ml of fluid during longer training sessions and races.

Good sources of electrolytes: Hydration tablets & powders, coconut water, milk, watermelon, salted nuts, slated potatoes.

Please enjoy our endurance training meal plan laid out for you below, it includes a bit more information on diet and nutrition as well as some weekly meal plan ideas for training weeks and race weeks

Your fuelling plan should be highly tested and adapted to achieve specific goals. You will need to adapt your plan for differences in weather, terrain, duration, intensity and various other factors. If you are just starting to figure out your fuelling plan then the first step is to ensure you are covering the three main components: calories, fluids and electrolytes. Once the basics are dialled in then your plan should evolve and adjustments should be made for specific targets.

Calories & Carbs

Think of calories like fuel in your car, without them you aren't likely to be going anywhere. Your body can only store a limited amount of carbs in its muscles and liver - about 1,800-2,000 calories worth. Once these stores are depleted the body will revert to using protein and fat to fuel itself, this is a much slower process and can lead to feelings of less energy and increase the chances of a bonk. If you wish to avoid the dreaded bonk then we suggest taking in 1g of carbs per kg of body weight per hour - so if you weigh 70kgs then aim for 70g of carbs during each hour of exertion. It's important to switch up the type of sugars (glucose and fructose) when taking in a lot of carbs due to the limited number of individual transporters.

During endurance sport you can easily burn 600-1,000 calories every hour. You should aim to replace about 30-40% of these, which works out at about 180-400 calories per hour. You can get your calories from a variety of sources including: hydration drinks, energy gels, energy chews, energy bars and real food.

Hydration & Electrolytes

Hydration is as important as calories. It has been shown that even a 2% loss in body weight can drastically increase levels of fatigue and lead to a decline in cognitive performance. Balancing the fluid in your body is super important to maintain plasma volume and exercise capacity, as well as avoiding heat related illnesses. Over hydrating is as detrimental to health as under hydrating and can lead to hyponatremia so finding the balance is key.

There are a number of ways to determine fluid loss rates, you can get a sweat test done which will give you some precise measurements around fluid loss and the amount of sodium you secrete n your sweat. You can also get a pretty good estimate by weighing yourself naked pre and post exercise and recording the differences - it's important not to do this home test if partaking in long exercise as the loss in glycogen can impact the results. Once you know what your losses are then aim to replace 75-100% of this per hour.

We don't sweat water so it's vital to replace the minerals that are present in our sweat. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium all contribute to optimal performance so when considering your replenishment make sure you are adding these to your water.

Once you have dialled in your calories, fluids and electrolytes it's time to start considering other factors such as race distance, terrain and climate.


You will need to plan your calorie consumption around the length of your race or training effort. For longer durations, increasing your calorie intake every hour can be beneficial and with the pace being slower your gut will be able to withstand the higher intake. The longer you are out there, the bigger the hole you are digging yourself in to. More calories per hour will help you keep pushing on.

As distances increase you can consider changes to the type of fuel you are consuming. You will definitely need to maintain your carbohydrate intake but it will also be beneficial to add in some protein and fat to help prevent fatigue and keep you feeling full. It is still harder to digest protein and fat so try not to consume too much at any one time.


If your race or training session is over hilly or mountainous terrain it is wise to consider the duration you will be out there. Lumps in the road can increase time and energy expenditure so this will need to be factored in to the fuelling plan. Hills require an increased effort so using easy to digest fuel sources such as gels can be helpful to prevent any GI distress.


Increases in altitude can have interesting effects on your body. It can make you feel less hungry but increase your need for carbs, fluids and electrolytes. If you have an event at altitude it is useful to try and train in the same conditions, this will help you get a feeling for how it alters your body, the requirements your body will need and also the logistical factors of carrying higher amounts of fuel.


Our capability to regulate body temperature is massively affected by heat and humidity. Exercising in an environment that is hot and humid can increase the need for fluid and electrolytes. Measuring you fluid loss rate in a hotter environment can be really useful to help plan your fluid and electrolyte needs for when it really matters. The same goes for cooler climates as it does for hotter, your body will behave differently so if you can then make sure to do the same measurements.

Hotter climates can also change your food preferences and you might find you are craving savoury rather than sweet. Salted potatoes and tortilla wraps are your friend in this situation. If you're in a colder climate make sure your fuel isn't going to freeze and also make sure you have a plan to stop your fluids from freezing too.

We hope you have found some value in the information provided. If you have any questions about the above content or feel we have missed anything then please don't hesitate to get in touch using the form below.

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