Stockholm Marathon: Would You Run A Marathon With No Training

stockholm marathon

On Thursday I was given the option to run the Stockholm marathon.

The race was on Saturday.

I thought about it, but ultimately decided that running wasn’t a good idea.

I was invited out to Stockholm with Visit Sweden to watch the Stockholm City Marathon and experience the healthy side to the city. There was no obligation to run (we were only given a couple of weeks notice about the trip) but there were bibs available if we wanted them.

Stockholm Marathon

Stockholm marathon

One of the other girls on the trip decided to run, and it made me start questioning my decision not to. I weighed up the reasons for and against running;

I should run the marathon because; 

  • I’ve got the opportunity for a free spot
  • It’s one of Europe’s biggest marathons with over 17000 runners
  • It’s a gorgeous course, snaking through the city along the water and various islands
  • I’m here to cover the marathon and what better way to review it than by running it
  • The weather was amazing (although maybe a little hot for this Brit)
  • I’ve heard it is one of the best organised marathons in the world
  • You get to finish on the track at the 1912 Olympic stadium, truly an epic finish line!

Stockholm Marathon

I shouldn’t run the marathon because; 

  • I am not trained for it
  • I’m coming back from a long injury recovery and I don’t want to hurt myself again
  • I haven’t run more than 7 miles since January
  • I didn’t have any tried and tested running kit with me – instead I had kit that I’m testing out for future blog posts, not what you want to run a marathon in. Nor did I have any gels, Nuun or body glide.
  • The course is two laps. I hate lapped courses (although at least it would mean that your spectators could see you easily multiple times)

Stockholm Marathon

Ultimately, I decided not to run. Partly because I go on and on about respecting the marathon distance, and felt a little hypocritical going against my own marathon beliefs, and partly because I wasn’t confident that I would be able to finish. With all challenges, I know that so much of it is mental.

‘If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. 

I didn’t think my body or self-determination would hold out for 26.2 miles, no matter how long that took. I also know that I’m very competitive and would have wanted to run a time I was proud of, which I just don’t think would have been achievable yesterday.

At least we got to spectate the race in a couple of places and watch a new course record being set! I love the atmosphere of a marathon, and got really emotional every time a runner finished. It is such an epic feeling and I can’t wait to finish the New York Marathon in November!

Stockholm Marathon

Debs did run it and had a great time, she’s not even that sore today despite zero training for the race.

What would you have done in my situation? Would you ever run a marathon without training for it? 

17 Comments

  1. 5th June 2016 / 7:53 pm

    I’d do a half without training but I think a marathon is too far untrained. You made a wise call.

    I also hate loops but I do think that 2 x 13.1m loops would be totally do-able. My parkrun where we used to live was 3 loops within 5k, that was unbearable. But this route sounds okay!

  2. 5th June 2016 / 8:16 pm

    You definitely made the right decision – a friend of mine ran the Stockholm Marathon yesterday and had a really tough race with the heat, despite being well-trained. I’m looking forward to visiting Stockholm someday, nice to know it’s a great city for runners!

  3. 5th June 2016 / 8:57 pm

    Noooooo that’s an injury waiting to happen! You definitely did the right thing. My old coach says that a road marathon is one of the hardest things you can do to your body – not to be taken lightly! X

  4. W. Purves.
    5th June 2016 / 9:06 pm

    Wise decision. Love,G.

  5. Chiswick mum
    5th June 2016 / 10:05 pm

    Very wise decision – especially as your spectators weren’t there! Xxx

  6. Debbie
    5th June 2016 / 11:01 pm

    Sensible decision 👍

  7. 5th June 2016 / 11:45 pm

    Totally understand your decision – now that Im a “fellow marathoner” . That race was INTENSE. Glad I did it but no way I could have ran it w/o training…and personally no training can equal lifelong issues…

  8. 6th June 2016 / 1:10 am

    I think you made the right call. Respect the distance it’s the right. I hope you had an awesome time there can’t wait to hear all about it!

  9. 6th June 2016 / 8:12 am

    I think you made the right decision! Bex and I have done a few untrained marathons, but in reality they’ve been very close to other marathons we’ve done or we’ve run some long distances relatively close to the event, so they were more like ‘not trained as much as we would like to get an Pb,’ but still had some recent miles in the legs. I think if you’ve just come back from injury and haven’t run over 15 miles recently it would be an error- you may have ended up injured again which would have been hugely frustrating! Looks like one to add to the list though….

  10. 6th June 2016 / 10:40 am

    You completely made the right decision, don’t doubt that 🙂

  11. 6th June 2016 / 12:03 pm

    That sounds like a well-considered decision. I wouldn’t consider running anything like that if I was just coming back from injury.

  12. Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen)
    6th June 2016 / 12:30 pm

    I think you made the right call and I like your pros/cons analysis (but I agree that finish line is amazing!).

  13. 8th June 2016 / 5:47 am

    Smart decision! I would have been tempted but also wouldn’t have done it!

  14. 8th June 2016 / 4:54 pm

    I once volunteered at Sheffield Half Marathon and got chatting to someone who was running it on the Sunday after signing up on the Thursday. He said he wasn’t a regular runner but still managed to finish it ok. I think a full marathon is a touch to far to try and push yourself through though.

  15. 10th June 2016 / 3:37 am

    Deciding to run or not is really important. Just as what you’ve written, you have to identify the pros and cons before running. You have to feel your body if it can handle running until the finish line. Thanks for sharing this.

  16. Kelly
    10th June 2016 / 4:30 pm

    I live in Chicago and every year after the marathon a local radio station has people call in who ran the marathon with minimal to no training. Some people make it and others don’t, but they all agree that it wasn’t a very good idea!

  17. 21st June 2016 / 9:16 pm

    I think you made the right decision, especially coming off a long injury. I was training to run the Big Sur marathon back in April but struggled with a foot injury and decided not to run the race. There will always be other races but you gotta get healthy first!