Should you race without training..?

It’s that time of year again.. 90% of my Facebook feed have just run Cardiff Half marathon, the London Marathon magazines are landing on doorsteps and I’m seeing posts on the “Ironman Wales Journey” facebook group which read abit like “So I’ve got a spot for Ironman Wales, I’ve never ridden a bike/done a triathlon/swum a length before – any tips?”

I’m not elitist, far from it infact! I’ve got nothing against people entering events for the first time, (we all have to start somewhere!) or taking up the full amount of allocated time to reach the cut offs etc. Infact I encourage it and love to see newcomers embracing the sport of triathlon.

But I just think that because you “could” do the event without training or building up to it slowly doesn’t mean you “should”.

Here’s why.

  1. You’ll probably end up injured.. Asking your body to run 13.1 miles when the most you’ve run in training is 30 minutes is going to put a strain on those joints! This is a bad thing for a number of reasons.. you’ll be injured, in pain, maybe unable to finish the race or unable to continue your new found love of running for a few weeks afterwards or maybe even longer.
  2. Are you putting others at risk? Cycling in groups is hard enough, it’s even harder if the only cycling you’ve ever done is on your turbo on zwift. The last thing you want to do is crash and potentially take another cyclist out with you.
  3. Could somebody else have had that spot? With Ironman for example you cannot transfer your place. So if you DNS (Do not start) the race that you entered on a whim after spending a day in Tenby on the booze cheering on the Ironmen is somebody else missing out? This year Ironman Wales sold out in record time and as you’re reading this some poor chap is reading his “Sorry, you didn’t make the cut” London Marathon magazine. (I had no intention of entering either of these events before you accuse me of being bitter 😜 )
  4. You wont enjoy it as much as you would have done had you prepared properly. I can’t see there being much fun in reaching half way, struggling and spending the rest of the race berating yourself for not training. The journey – the training, the smaller events leading up to this one is all part of the fun. That feeling of satisfaction of crossing the line knowing that all of the effort you’ve put in to get there was worth it 😊

So by all means get into a new sport, start something new, but ask for help, get some training under your belt, it’ll be far more enjoyable and less painful in the long run. You won’t regret it. My first “big” race was Cardiff half marathon which I completed in two hours on the dot – and I haven’t looked back since.

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