How to prepare for an endurance race

Dr Leslie Tay, interventional cardiologist from Mount Elizabeth Hospital, gives some tips on what you should do before your next endurance race.


Begin a training programme appropriate for the activity you are participating in and allow time for a gradual build-up of intensity.

As a guide, marathon runners often begin training at least six months ahead of the race, and even earlier if you are a beginner.


You may be prepared to sweat it out during your race, but remember to fuel your body with fluid to avoid dehydration. As your body goes through various stages of dehydration throughout the race, your body loses blood too.

To prevent a lack of oxygen supply (and eventual death by cardiac arrest), do remember to fuel your body with water throughout the race.


It might be difficult but learn to read the signs. Your body is the best indicator of your limits and learning to recognise when your body is exhausted can prevent you from overexerting yourself.


Do not race if you feel faint while exercising, or experience breathlessness, chest pains, heart palpitations.

As a precaution, consult your doctor on whether you should avoid racing if you have any history of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, or a family history of sudden cardiac death. An important part of being well-prepared is to go for a heart screening, which may reduce the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

Don't take your health for granted and assume you are surely fit to race.