Inspired by the London Marathon: First Aid Tips for Runners

If you have been motivated by watching the London Marathon on TV last weekend, you might be thinking about starting to train for next year.

With £63.7million being raised for charities following the 2018 London Marathon and the amount set to increase this year, there has never been a better time to get involved in this great event.  So, whether you are new to marathons, or a seasoned pro, don’t pick up your running shoes without first reading our first aid tips for runners.

How to cope with blisters

A blister forms when skin that is damaged leaks fluid.  The fluid gathers under the top layer of the skin, and forms a blister. Runners can be prone to developing blisters as the skin is repeatedly being rubbed against socks and trainers.


  • try to burst the blister
  • peel the skin away from the blister
  • pick at the skin around the blister
  • continue to wear the same footwear until the blister has healed


  • wash your hands before touching the area
  • apply a plaster, a pharmacist might recommend special blister plasters or dressings
  • if the blister bursts allow it to drain before a plaster is applied
  • if you are in pain use an ice pack for up to half an hour
  • if the blister gets infected, see a pharmacist

How to prevent blisters

  1. Check your running shoes fit properly
  2. Try different thicknesses of socks, or wearing two pairs of thinner socks
  3. Rub petroleum jelly on areas that are susceptible to blistering
  4. Change your running shoes regularly

How to avoid dehydration

Start your runs hydrated, (check your urine which should be the colour of straw) and it sounds obvious, but you shouldn’t be feeling thirsty. If you’re going to be out for a while, make sure you drink fluids regularly.

If you get a headache, dizziness or your mouth feels dry and your urine is dark or you get cramping, drink fluids, slowly and gradually.

Don’t: drink excessive amounts in a short space of time

  • Do: seek medical help if you don’t start to feel better 


What to do with heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. If it turns into heatstroke it needs to be treated as an emergency.


  • if you can move to a cooler place.
  • drink plenty of water.
  • spray your skin with water and use a fan if you have one.
  • if you feel nauseous, or have pale, clammy skin, cramping or a rapid, weakening pulse, then seek medical help straight away.

How to treat cuts and grazes


  • apply a plaster if the wound is bleeding
  • touch the area if you haven’t washed your hands


  • clean the area with water or an alcohol-free wipe, then gently pat it dry
  • cover it with a dressing or plaster
  • take painkillers if needed

How to look after your knees


  • try to walk or run on the leg or straighten the knee if it is swollen or very sore.


  • if your knees are hurting, stop and rest.
  • if you fall and hurt your knee, try to lie down and support your knee in an elevated position.
  • put a covered ice pack on it for 10 minutes at a time.
  • put soft padding around your knee and bandage it in place to minimise swelling
  • seek medical help.

How to treat sprains or strains


  • take strenuous exercise for up to 8 weeks, as you may cause more damage
  • take ibuprofen for 48 hours after the injury as it might slow down the healing process


  • follow the RICE advice:

                 Rest – stop and rest and try not to put any weight on the area

                 Ice – apply an ice pack for up to 20 minutes, repeat every 2-3 hours

                 Compression – bandage the injury

                 Elevation – keep it raised up by using a pillow

  • help to prevent swelling, by avoiding heat (such as hot baths and heat packs), alcohol and massages for the first couple of days.
  • do take paracetamol if you are in pain
  • do keep moving so the joint doesn’t become stiff
  • seek medical help if you are not feeling better

How to avoid sprains or strains

  • Make sure you warm up and stretch properly before and after exercising
  • Take rest days between exercise days


Why not take a first aid course?

If you have enjoyed reading our first aid tips for runners and want to know more why not take a course? We recommend that taking a First Response (First Aid) Ltd first aid course is the best way to ensure you have the confidence, knowledge and skills to deal with an emergency.  What’s stopping you investing 3 days of your life to save someone else’s?  Book onto a course today, you may be glad you did.  You can read our reasons to learn first aid here

If running a marathon is not your thing, do remember that the NHS recommends that we should all do at least 10 minutes of brisk walking every day.  Apart from improving your mood, taking regular exercise decreases your chance of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, back and joint pain and even some cancers.

The NHS has a great app called couch to 5k which involves 3 runs each week for 9 weeks which gradually build up stamina and running ability.

Please note that First Response (First Aid) Ltd offers first aid tips for guidance only and should not be taken as medical advice. First Response (First Aid) Ltd is not accountable or responsible for any diagnosis made or actions taken based on our guidance and advice.


Why choose First Response? (First Aid) Ltd

First Response (First Aid) Ltd have some of the most amazing trainers out there and anybody who has had the pleasure of attending any one of the many courses would fully agree with this statement.

Well done team First Response (First Aid) Ltd and a big thank you goes out to our customers for providing us with so much positive feedback.

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