Should You Run In The Winter? Pros & Cons To Running A Winter 5k

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Running outside in the winter: either you love it, hate it, or just suck it up to get it done. But when it comes to running a winter 5k it does have some benefits.

Many might think you are insane for willingly going outside to run—let alone pay a fee to participate in a race. But only runners understand the love for the sport and why we just can’t resist running a 5k—even in the winter.

Running in the Winter: Should You Race In The Winter

The Pros To Running In The Winter

Keeping Healthy Habits

Racing in the winter means you have to keep up those healthy habits like eating right and regular exercise. Setting a 5k race goal further makes sure that you don’t fall off the wagon with this around the holidays and after.

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Maintaining Fitness

Signing up for a 5k in the winter also means you have to keep running to be prepared for it. As a result, you are maintaining your fitness and this is important when wanting to reach for larger goals in the spring-like half marathons or faster 5k times.

There Are Fewer Participants

Only the brave souls run winter 5ks. This generally means fewer participants at the events, which allows you to possibly snag an age group award or place in the event.

American Council on ExerciseIt also means meeting runners who are just as crazy as you are, a great chance for new connections.

You Might PR

Many runners perform better in the winter. There is no summer heat and humidity to slow you down and instead, you might pick up the pace to warm up and finish faster. Running a winter 5k might just lead to a new PR for this distance.

Running in a winter 5k

The Cons To Racing In The Winter

It Is Cold

This is obvious, but temperatures could really drop in the winter—not mention snow and ice. Many times the show must go on and runners are participating in all these elements.

While winter running does boost immune health, runners can catch a cold if they don’t change from their sweating clothes and get warmed up following the winter 5k. There is also the risk of slipping on ice and getting an injury.

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Not Many Runners

While it could be a pro that there aren’t many participants, this can also be a con. Running a winter 5k usually means small, local races that only bring out serious runners. So there might be increased competition since these are those who take the events seriously.

Fewer runners mean fewer crowds, fewer volunteers and fewer bells and whistles.

Timing Issues

If the weather is too cold, this can impact timing systems. Even freezing temperatures can cause air horns not to work. This means not having accurate finish times.

Later Times

Because it is darker longer in the winter, the 5k might not start early in the morning. Later start times might affect your schedule for the rest of the day. It just might be not being able to attend functions because you will be running late.


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