Often you’ll still have time to get ready for an event, even if your performance might not be quite as you’d hoped. But sometimes you just need to accept that it’s better to DNS (did not start) than DNF (did not finish). If these reasons apply to you, it could be time for a rethink.
1. The reason for your missed training hasn’t gone away
If you’re injured, this one is cut and dry. Don’t race until you’re better. You still won’t be able to train before the race and you’re likely to make the problem worse by pinning that number on. If your reason for not training was more complicated, be honest with yourself about whether it’s resolved itself: for example, if you missed training due to long work hours, and that project still isn’t finished, chances are you’ll just burn out. Forget this one and save yourself for next time.
2. It’s your first marathon and you’ve missed a lot of training
We’ll qualify this: if you’re racing a marathon, have missed more than three weeks’ training, and have less than three weeks to go, you should seriously consider skipping this one. At the very least, switch to walk/run strategy to avoid long-term damage. You don’t want your first marathon experience to put you off for life.
3. You feel more stressed than excited
Running should be fun and that extends to racing. If the thought of your missed training is stressing you out, but you’re still dying to race, fair enough. But if the thought of the race itself fills you with dread and is causing sleepless nights, consider swapping for a race down the line when you’re in a better place to train and enjoy it.