When training for endurance events such as the Marathon and triathlons it is easy to sustain injuries. It is equally important to take into account factors such as the weather and pre-existing illnesses and injuries when training for endurance sports. Failing to do so, you put yourself at risk of making yourself ill or making your injury worse. In this article, Sports Medicine Physician and Medical Director of the London Marathon, Professor Courtney Kipps, offers advice for avoiding injury and illness during endurance training.

Tips for avoiding injury and illness during endurance training

Below are some basic but important tips to help you avoid injury and illness during endurance training.

Avoiding injury

  • Avoid extrinsic over-training issues that lead to injury (e.g., excessive hills, stairs, cambers, track)
  • Avoid too rapid a progression.
  • Incorporate rest and recovery sessions.
  • Do not try and make up missed sessions.
  • Address all injuries, even minor ones.
  • Run in shoes that are comfortable.
  • No need to overdo the stretching.
  • Don’t try anything new on race day.

Avoiding illness

  • If it’s hot and humid, don’t go for a PB.
  • Avoid exercising if you are unwell or have a temperature.
  • Don’t take NSAIDs during or before a race.
  • Drink according to thirst.
  • Listen to your body and rest when needed.


Did you know that it is possible to become over-hydrated while exercising? This condition is known as hyponatraemia and is caused by low sodium levels in the blood. It can occur if too much water is drunk over a short time period. Hyponatraemia sometimes affects athletes whose blood sodium level is reduced through sweat and then diluted by drinking large amounts of water. Symptoms of hyponatraemia include nausea, vomiting and headache. In serious cases, the brain can swell, causing confusion, seizures, coma and, in rare cases, death.

Avoiding hyponatraemia

Here are some tips to help you avoid hyponatraemia during training or competing.

  • Drink according to thirst.
  • Avoid excessive drinking during and after exercise.
  • Sodium-containing sports drinks DO NOT prevent Exercise-Associated Hyponatraemia


For appointments at our Sports Injury Clinic,  call us on 020 8789 3881.