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It is recommended that triathletes have 2 different types of training regimes: a summer one and a winter one.
You should not plan to make any increases in mileage or add speed work to your training regime in the winter.
Try to plan your run [or bike ride] so that you start heading into the wind and come back with it at your back. If you do it in the reverse, you will be sweaty and the wind at your face will deep freeze you FAST. Source
What other things should you do (or not do) during your cold weather triathlon training?
Here are some winter training guidelines for triathletes…
Cold Weather Running Tips
Dressing For Cold Weather Running
- If it’s really cold, wear 2 or 3 layers.
- If it’s only moderately cold and dry, wear 2 layers.
- You should be a bit cold when you first start running.
- Tips for running in the dark and on various road surfaces.
- Dress like an onion and peel!
- Cold conditions can slow your heartbeat, especially when your neck & face are exposed.
- Good & bad workouts for winter weather.
7 Tips For Cold Weather Running
- Guys: keep the “little guy” warm. Thawing out your Johnson is one of the most painful things you’ll ever do!
- Mitts are better than gloves.
- Slow down; modify your expectations.
Is Cold Weather Running Bad For You?
- You should be far more concerned about your exteriors than your interiors.
- You may develop “skier’s hack” — a transient cough — during or after training.
- It is possible for your lungs to freeze, but not while you’re alive and running.
- Polypropylene and Goretex clothes keep your body warm and dry.
- Cover your face with a balaclava.
- Specific temperature-based recommendations.
- How to protect your hands & feet.
- Dressing in layers vs how to avoid overdressing.
10 Cold Weather Running Essentials
- Lip balm.
- Running headband.
Military Cold Weather Running Tips – From A Navy Seal
- It’s always colder in the morning/evening, so try to get some cardio at the “heat” of the day in the early afternoon.
- Try a winter running shoe – like the PT-03 made by UK Gear.
- If it’s really cold, you’ll want to protect your ears with a headband that covers the ears.
- If you’re running on snow or ice, try a pair of YakTrax.
- Don’t forget the lip balm!
Marathon Training For Triathletes In The Off-Season
- Weekly & daily training sessions.
- Critical marathon training principles for triathletes.
- Different types of marathons.
- Dress as if the temperature is 20 degrees warmer than it is.
- Warm up indoors, not outside.
Cold Weather Running Tips To Avoid Frostbite
- The reduced blood flow to your extremities coupled with very cold temperatures can lead to actual freezing of your fingers, toes, ears and nose.
- Mild hypothermia (Core 90-97F) – uncontrollable shivering, decreased fine motor skills and cognitive function, amnesia.
- Moderate hypothermia (Core 85-89F) – shivering stops, irrational behavior, grossly uncoordinated movements, somnolence.
- Severe hypothermia (Core below 85F) – no pain response, loss of reflexes, coma, significant hypotension.
Cold Weather Cycling Tips
The Best Cycling Gear For Cold Weather Triathlon Training
- Your indoor cycling options.
- Obstacles to training indoors.
- The best winter cycling gear.
How To Stay Warm On The Bike When Cycling In Winter
- 30% of the body’s heat is lost through the head.
- Traveling through cold air causes your eyes to tear, making it extremely difficult to see.
Cold Weather Cycling Doesn’t Have To Be Indoors
- After 6 weeks of exercise in the cold, exposing fingers to the cold for 4 hours results in less temperature drop, less numbness, and not as much reduction in blood flow as occurs without such adaptation.
- Do your cycling during the midday — the sunlight will keep you warmer, and it will be easier for drivers to see you in daylight.
- The biggest problem with most winter cycling is not keeping warm, it’s keeping cool enough!
- It’s only when temperatures dip to below Zero (F), (-20C) that being warm enough requires some planning.
Cold Weather Riding Gear: Some Ideas
- Wool socks and winter bike shoes.
- Winter cycling cap underneath bike helmet.
How To Dress Right For Cool Weather Cycling
- It’s the best time to bike because the scenery is good and there are no bugs.
- Arm & leg warmers are easy to put on and take off.
What To Wear When Cycling In Cold Weather
- Suggestions for cool vs cold vs freezing temps.
- Wear things that can be unzipped or easily removed.
- Avoid cotton.
How To Survive Cycling In The Winter
- Once you stop riding, get indoors.
- Go into the wind on your way out, and with the wind at your back on your way home.
- When approaching a hill, unzip your outer layer to let out excess heat. Once you hit the top, zip up, roll up, pull up and drop like a stone!
- Use old hiking socks over your cycling shoes.
- Layer up, but don’t bundle up too tightly.
- Make yourself more visible. Shorter daylight hours mean you’ll probably be cycling in darkness some.
- Keep your energy up. Tip: Clif bars can become frozen in cold temperatures.
Cold Weather Swimming Tips
Swimming & Wetsuits For Cold Weather Triathlon Training
- Water temperature vs body temperature explained.
- The best cold water swimming gear.
Cold Weather Swim Training Tips
- Cover your head at all times.
- Always have something on your feet.
- No milk, candy, pop or chips.
Tips For Swimming In Cold Water
- Wear 2 swim caps.
- Wear a full wet suit.
- Make sure you have your car heater on high en route to the race site.
- Keep warm socks and a warm cap on until 10 minutes before the race start.
- Put your wet suit on early.
Winter Nutrition And Fitness Tips For Triathletes
The Fear of Losing Fitness In The Off-Season
- How periodization helps.
- Mind over emotions.
- How to best utilize your time in the off-season.
Cold Weather Training And Your Body
- Glycogen stores are depleted more quickly.
- Layer properly so you sweat properly.
- There’s less blood flow to the skin’s surface.
- Cold-induced injuries to watch for.
How To Maximize Your Off-Season Triathlon Training
- Off-season mistakes that triathletes commonly make.
- How to add some zing to your winter training.
Cold Weather Tips For A Winter Triathlon
- How to prepare and re-adjust after a winter event. (Example: take cold showers!)
- Bring sandwich bags.
- Invest in arm warmers, leg warmers, and tights.
Cold Weather Gear Tips From Fellow Triathletes
- Plastic bags.
- Wear a skull cap.
- Arm & leg warmers.
- Glove liners.
- Shoe covers.
- Cheap helmets are better (or a helmet cover).
Triathlon Tips For Cooler Temps
- Sleeveless tri suit.
- Arm warmers.
- Toe covers.
How To Stay Fit & Gain Endurance In The Cold Weather
- Build your aerobic base.
- Build your strength training.
- Long, easy swimming (drills).
- Take cycling classes.
Fueling For Cold Weather Exercise
- You feel hungrier in the winter than in the summer.
- You burn more calories exercising in the cold.
- What to eat to warm yourself up.
3 Treadmill Threshold Workouts
- Do one workout each week for 3 weeks.
- Repetition leads to improvement.
How The Cold Affects Your Training And Nutrition
- You burn more calories when it’s cold.
- Cycling can burn a significant amount of fat.
- Dry air significantly affects your loss of body fluids.
Cold Weather Triathlon Training Gear
- Compression and dry mesh clothing.
- Recommendations by temp: 15F to 55F.
I represent the non-competitive cyclists, runners, and swimmers of the group. I mostly write about all the ways that biking, jogging, and swimming are fun when you're not a serious athlete.