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St Mary’s Help Athlete Prepare for Record Breaking Challenge

St Mary’s University, Twickenham, is currently working with athlete James Williams in preparation for his ultra-running challenge, travelling from Land’s End to John O’Groats. James is aiming to set a new world record time for the completion of the challenging route of almost 820 miles. The current world record stands at nine days and two hours.

Paul Hough, lead Sport Scientist at St Mary’s, has been working with James to help him prepare for the challenge, which is due to start on the 25th May 2019. James has been visiting the Human Performance lab to perform a physiological profile, which consists of a body composition test and an incremental running test.

The body composition test provides an estimation of James’ level of body fat, which is a key determinant of endurance performance. During the incremental running test James runs at a progressively faster speed, during which various physiological measurements, such as heart rate, blood lactate and oxygen consumption, are recorded.

Following each assessment, Paul has been specifically focusing on how James’ metabolism is adapting from his training/nutrition regime. Paul calculates how much energy and the type of fuel James’ body is using. This information is then used to direct James’ training/nutrition to optimise the amount of fat his body uses during running in preparation for the 820-mile challenge.

Paul commented on the challenge, saying “It’s an incredibly physically and mentally demanding challenge he’s got ahead of him. He’s going to be running approximately over 90 miles a day, which means that he’s going to be on his feet for a long time. This will place a huge stress on his musculoskeletal system (muscles and bones). The sheer volume of running also means he’s going to be running into the evening, reducing the amount of sleep he will get, which will increase the physical and psychological stress.”

James offered some great advice to anyone wanting to challenge themselves in the running world, saying “You can definitely do it, the first step is to make that goal a reality and put it in the calendar, whether that’s a 5K or a 1K run. It’s just making yourself commit to it, have a go, and everything else will fall in place.”

If you’d like to follow James’ journey, go to – alternatively, you can view his social media channels:

FB - JamesRunsFar

Twitter - @James_Runs_Far

Instagram - @JamesRunsFar

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