Research Output
Injury, Sleep, Mood And Performance And The Role Of Mental Toughness During An Arctic Ultra-marathon
  Studies examining ultra-endurance racing in ‘extreme environments’ are sparse. However, research has shown that injury and sleep management are crucial. For example, sleep deprivation has been shown to be associated with mood, which can impact on performance. However, little has examined the role of mental toughness.

PURPOSE: To describe injury, performance, mood and sleep patterns during an arctic environment ultra marathon and examine the role of mental toughness.

METHODS: Twelve participants (9 males; 3 females; age 43.7±5.8) completed the MT18, a measure of mental toughness before the race. During the event, injuries were documented by a medical team at race checkpoints. Mood (using BRUMS), sleep duration and distance covered were recorded in a daily log.

RESULTS: There was an average of 1.00 (±0.9) injuries per day. Two participants reported no injuries across the three-day race, two reported a single injury and eight reported multiple injuries. Over half of the participants (58%) reported abrasions, while two reported hip muscle soreness, two reported diarrhea and vomiting and two reported blisters. Exhaustion, back, knee, ankle, and shin problems were injuries reported by individuals. The participants averaged 44.05 (±12.24) miles and slept for on average 3.87 (±2.17) hours per day. No significant correlations were observed between sleep and mood. However, relationships were found between mental toughness and anger (r = -.616); confusion (r = -.558); depression (r = -.623), tension (r = -.40), and vigour (r = .497). Finally, daily trends suggested that those categorized with relatively higher mental toughness covered more distance (higher 45.8 (±14.5); lower 42.6 (±11.2)), slept more (higher 4.5 (±1.5); lower 3.5 (±2.6)), and had fewer injuries (higher 0.87 (±0.45); lower 1.10 (±1.15)). However, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Sleep deprivation and coping with a variety of minor injuries was common. However, in contrast to previous research, sleep was not correlated to mood, but mental toughness was. Tentative evidence suggested more mentally tough individuals covered more distance per day, slept more, and got injured less. As such, further examination of the role of mental toughness in ultra-events is warranted.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    26 May 2015

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • Library of Congress:

    RC1200 Sports Medicine

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    613 Personal health & safety

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Martindale, R., Graham, S., Connaboy, C., & McKinley, M. (2015, May). Injury, Sleep, Mood And Performance And The Role Of Mental Toughness During An Arctic Ultra-marathon. Poster presented at American College of Sports Medicine. Annual Meeting, San Diego, California, USA



Ultra Marathon

Monthly Views:

Available Documents