Should I race undertrained?

I’m registered for Muskoka 70.3 in about a month.

For background I have completed one half Ironman distance race before and a number of shorter tris.

Here is the problem… due to life circumstances I am undertrained and underprepared.

I’m not sure whether I should race or not… I don’t want to bail on it, I think I would be disappointed “quitting,” but I also am very torn because if I do do it just to enjoy the day and cruise through it, I think I’ll be frustrated with the result.

I’m not as concerned with overdoing it and getting injured (knock on wood), but more just unsure if it’s worth it.

Not sure what im looking for, validation? But if someone has some insight on being in a similar situation and doing it, or not I would appreciate any insight I can get.


If you don’t have injury concerns then go for it. Some of my most enjoyable races are the ones where my fitness isn’t great and I race like I don’t give a damn

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Which leg of the race are you most undertrained for?

This boils down to goals and expectations. These are very personal and up to you to set.

But you can make any race worthwhile if you go in with the right perspective. As you allude to, I think you should consider the positive ways you can leverage the experience to gain knowledge that can be applied in the future.

Consider it a ‘B’ race and get something out of it. Or maybe try to do it for “fun”… heresy I know :stuck_out_tongue:


Everything haha.

No, probably the bike. I’m a strong swimmer so that isn’t super concerning. I would say I’m lacking big bike mileage this year big time.

That is true, I hadn’t really thought about lessons learned, I always take away a lot from each race I do so maybe it’s worth it for that alone.

And ya I’m sure about “fun” haha but maybe that’s the only goal I need. I just know I’ll be easily frustrated seeing my paces and getting down about it.

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@aroeck I get it. I think the same. However, now that I’m a bit older, I’ve realized…

Standing on the podium is lonely if there is no one to share the journey with. One day we will all be either too old or injured/medically unable to do this. It’s a gift to some degree. So, while you are young enough, healthy enough, go forth and kick ass while you are still able. If you miss the podium or your expectations believe me no one cares but, you. It really is about the journey. As has been said, there is a ton of learning to be had from B and C races. Nutrition, pacing, hydration, equipment. Use this opportunity to be smarter for the A event. Enjoy the ride.


:raised_hands: :fire: :1st_place_medal: :+1: :checkered_flag:

Thread win, @Landis

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You might be surprised how your time compares if you dial back the effort to match your fitness.

I’ve raced (only cycling not tri) in the past doing just that and actually had good and actually enjoyable rides and was only about 15 minutes slower than normal over 100km.

Like above, no one really cares except yourself


Landis’ post is awesome. I agree with others: sometimes I flat out have more fun when I go in knowing it’s probably not going to be my best day. Self-generated pressure is off, and I’m just there for the sheer enjoyment of the sport.

I think as long as you can do the swim safely, you can finish the other stuff even if you walk. Get out there and have some fun! That’s what we do this for!


Go race. Racing is fun. Fun is the point.


I think this concept is worth further discussion on the podcast. It partially springboards off the A-B-C event priority discussion in podcast 206.

There are many reasons to do an event besides getting on the top step. Some are already covered here, but I think there are more that are worth consideration. And I believe this would be worth a wider audience on the cast.

Any chance you guys can expand on the discussion about the “other” reasons we should take on these events?

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If they decide to do so I’d love if they could cover the mental aspect of performance as it relates to this.

In particular, on the last podcast, there was some discussion of how much @Pete dislikes his A races - presumably due to the pressure, etc.

I experience the same thing and would go further to say that many of my best results come at B races. This means I gamble more and put less pressure on myself to do everything perfectly which often leads to a strong result (or an awful result it must be said)

How do I translate this mindset into a race where I’ve done a proper taper and am hitting a physical peak?

Obviously something that comes with experience, and I’m getting there - but how do you cope with this self generated pressure at an A race?

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Yes. Reset your goals based on your actual level of fitness and send it.


Other reasons;
Racecraft - you can’t practice reading the dynamics on the day.
Highlight where you need to focus.
But aside from using them to build up towards an A race I find they are useful “reset” events.
Mentally stopping and smelling the roses, remembering why you do what you do.
Case in point.
I rode the Cape Argus many times and people would comment that its supposed to be incredibly scenic, I never noticed until I took it easy one year, it really is. I only ever knew the route by key hills, corners and stretches of road to watch out for hazards. I only ever looked at the riders around me and the tar in front of me, slowing down allowed me to look around and appreciate my surroundings.


Further on @mcneese.chad comment, as our top Cat 1 racer advised me, you should have “process goals” for any race and not tie your worth [solely] to the result.


if you’ll have fun, go do it! are you going with friends? if so, do it!

who cares about the result; you can’t always be in tip top shape.

if you have better plans that weekend, go for those, but don’t skip just because you aren’t 100% and will be pissed at the result.

good luck!