Pros and Cons

This winter is the first time I have officially trained for a spring race, with a formal training plan. I have run plenty of spring races in the past, but my goal races that require ‘serious’ training have always been in the fall. To me, it was just easier to deal with a training plan through the summer. Sure, there’s the heat and humidity to contend with. But you also get the promise of those cooler fall days. Up to this point, I had always avoided training for a spring race because I just didn’t want to deal with committing to a training plan through the winter. But as I train for the North Face DC 50K in April, I’m finding there are both pros and cons to winter training.

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Pros

  • You stay accountable – Having a race to train for keeps helps you maintain a good running and workout routine
  • You stay happier – This one can probably be argued, but I think it’s easy to feel sad in January when the excitement of the holidays have passed and it’s still winter. But in the words of Elle/Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde “endorphins make you happy.”
  • It makes you tougher – Getting out there, even when it’s freezing cold, certainly makes me feel bad ass 😉
  • You get rewarded with perfect spring weather (hopefully) – the beginning of spring often has beautiful running weather, but if you do face unfavorable conditions on race day at least you’re trained for them!

Cons

  • There’s limited daylight in the winter – This definitely makes it tougher to get out there if you don’t want to run in the dark. For me, it means more time spent on the treadmill.
  • Unfavorable weather – Things like blizzards can make it tough or impossible to get outside and get your training done, which leads me to my next point…
  • It’s harder to follow a training plan – Various factors in the winter can keep you from following your training plan to a T. But remember, it’s always better to show up at the start line slightly undertrained than overtrained, anyway.

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As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons. I may get to the end of this thing and vow to never train for another big spring race. Time will tell!

What are your pros and cons to winter training?

8 Comments

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  1. I agree with all of your pros and cons. It can be difficult to maintain that training schedule during the winter – especially with snow and ice to contend with! But the endorphins do help, and getting outside more in the winter is a healthy dose of Vitamin D which help mood too. Although yesterday I was definitely wondering what I had gotten myself into, as I was trying to do a speed workout with slick, snowy roads. Hopefully Punxsutawney Phil was right, and spring is just around the corner!
    Alison recently posted…Fitness FridayMy Profile

    1. Yikes- speed work on slick, snowy roads! That’s a tough workout. Good point on the Vitamin D, though. That definitely helps this time of year!

  2. I actually avoid fall races because that would mean training through the Texas summers. I like spring races for all the pros you have, especially when the spring weather is great and I can get outside on days I couldn’t up north.
    Lesley recently posted…My Strength TrainingMy Profile

    1. Training during a Texas summer would make me avoid fall races, too 🙂

  3. Good points! I usually do both a spring and a fall goal race. While I like running in cold weather much more than hot weather, I think sticking to a plan is much tougher in winter like you said, which is frustrating.
    Jennifer @ Dashing in Style recently posted…Announcing My New Blog: Dashing in StyleMy Profile

    1. I definitely prefer cooler temperatures to hot weather running, as well. But I think winter training is more challenging – that makes us tougher, though! 🙂

  4. Another con would be that after training in the cool/cold all winter, race day could be one of those unseasonably hot and humid spring days.
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Triumphant MomentsMy Profile

    1. Good point! Let’s hope it’s not that way on April 9!

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