Most of the 2020 triathlon season got cancelled because of the covid-19 pandemic but there were a few races at the end of the season. I was lucky enough to race in September at the Cotswold 113 middle distance race.

I usually make a plan to do a few little races through the winter for a whole host of reasons. It seemed even more important in 2020 because most of the race season had been cancelled so I’d only had one race of any sort in the whole of 2020.

But then the second wave of the pandemic started, races got cancelled and I started to wonder if I really wanted to race in the middle of winter. The practicalities of race kit, the freezing cold, the travel, the time and stress etc. really put me off.  I couldn’t find anyone to do it with and no one else I talked to seemed to think it was a good idea!  So I dithered and talked myself out of it many times.

I almost let myself off the hook but then I thought I ought to re-visit the reasons I thought it would be a good idea in the first place.  This is what I came up with.

  • It helps to keep you motivated
  • It reminds you what happens at a race and how it makes you feel such as race day nerves and negativity. I can still turn up to a race and feel intimidated by all the other perfect looking athletes with all the kit. So putting myself through these experiences can help me learn how to deal with it in a more constructive way.
  • It’s an opportunity to practice your race craft. Racing is a skill so if it only gets practised once a year it won’t get any better!
  • It’s an opportunity to practice all the stuff around the race e.g. packing your kit, preparation, pacing, nutrition, travel etc. I get a bit stressed out about this stuff so practicing it is really helpful to me
  • It’s an opportunity to practice with your kit. I’m still tinkering with my Time Trial bike position, helmet, shoes, hydration etc. so any opportunity to race and practice with my kit is a good opportunity to fine tune it ready for the next Ironman.
  • I always work harder in a race and thrive on the competition! So it’s a great opportunity to remind yourself what working hard feels like and to really push yourself
  • Given that you often work harder in a race this makes it a great opportunity to practice the mental side of how to push hard so it’s good for mental toughness.
  • It’s an opportunity to practice goal setting.
  • It helps focus your mind and gives structure to training.
  • Having an event acts as a small milestone and breaks up the winter season and the gap until the next triathlon.
  • It can be a good benchmark of your current fitness and what you might need to work on for next season.
  • It’s an opportunity to work on the individual disciplines e.g. with a running race which you don’t necessarily have lots of time for in the triathlon race season
  • It’s fun!

I entered the Duathlon in November only for it to get cancelled due to the second covid-19 lockdown. We were given a code to enter any race we liked and I almost talked myself out of it again! But reminding myself about all of the above helped me to commit and I re-booked for December. Only to get injured! But I’m transferred to February. I’m determined to get a race done!

Let me know if you’ve got any races booked this winter!