Triathlon Training in the Cold By Brandt Quick
Triathletes or triathlete hopefuls always have to adapt to their environment, whether training or racing. Your training approach will depend on where you live and the climate that is encountered. In cold or harsh weather, the triathlete is driven to utilize different forms/methods of training indoors:
Don't rule out the outdoors, because in certain climates one day it can be in the 30's, and the next day it will be in the 70's. For example in Louisiana, triathletes are not hit with the extreme cold that other areas of the country face in the winter, however, temperatures in the 30's, 40's and 50's can seem a bit chilly, being that most of the year it's 75-100*, usually with a very high humidity.
Therefore, you should blend your triathlon training to maximize your off season, thus maximizing your potential as a triathlete. Here are a couple key things to think about while engaging triathlon training in the cold or indoors:
Make sure you have the appropriate triathlon equipment when training outside. For biking, make sure to have long jerseys or long sleeves and tights layering up as much as you need to in order to stay warm. Arm sleeves, shoe covers, helmet covers, gloves and other accessories are also available. Skull caps can be used under helmets, and biking companies also make unique, warm and thin caps to wear underneath the helmet.
For running, gloves, tights, pants, and skull caps can be used. Try to wear things that are easy to peel off as running in layers can sometimes get hot, and your wardrobe may need to be modified in the middle of a run to accommodate a comfortable, safe completion of that run.
If you are training in an outdoor pool, you can certainly use some layers to get to the pool, and then get in as soon as possible! The correct triathlon equipment is very crucial.
Warm-up - When training for a triathlon outdoors in the cold, make sure to warm up properly. Cold weather injuries can happen because of not paying attention to detail in your warm up. Make sure to first do jog or bike easy to get a little blood flow, then perform 5-10 minutes of dynamic flexibility work (flexibility in motion)to ensure that you are warm, and stretched properly pre-training.
Hydration - Even though you may not feel that you're losing a lot of fluid, make sure to take in 8-12 oz of water per hour of training, and if training for hours, some fuel (calories) as well. This will keep your engine running properly, and will help you limit cramping and potential injuries. Hydrate consistently at all times to ensure that you will not dehydrate.
Biking - When biking on a trainer, a spin bike or stationary bike, make sure to focus on a few key things: smooth pedal stroke, base training, intervals and cadence (rpms).
Running - When on a treadmill, focus on quality miles and foot speed. The beauty of the treadmill is that once it's set on that speed, you have to move your feet that fast or else. Having fast foot contact is key and if our feet are quicker off the ground/belt, we will be faster.
Winter and off season training is where we build up a great base for foundation for racing season. Learning the techniques of properly doing triathlon training in the cold will make you a better all-around competitor. Scheduling key training races is also a big part of that. A few local road races can also help you with that base, and can give you goals to keep you accountable to training. I reside in Louisiana some local races here are the Louisiana Marathon,1/2 marathon and 5k, Rock n Roll half and full marathon, and crescent city classic are all extraordinary venues. Local races will hold you true to your winter/off season training.
By really focusing and staying disciplined, smart, committed and consistent with your training in the off season, you will be pleased and happy you did when it comes time to race, having less chance for injuries, and a much greater chance for success!
A triathlon is one of the most difficult races to train for and compete in. Your expertise and input is very important!
Do you have a great story or any thoughts about this? Share it here!