It is never easy to train in unusual weather conditions like winter. However, a few modifications in the equipment and mentality can surely help you get ready, even when the temperature is freezing.
Brrrr…. it’s cold!
First, you have to accept that it is winter. You must befriend the cold, and treat it the same way you treat your friends, welcoming. Consider it as a chance for you to push yourself to the limit. It is not easy to get up in the cold morning and run for miles, but this kind of discipline will surely make it easier for you to get up and train on the summer. Coping with bad weather is a learned skill, and to learn this skill you will have to practice. The point is, it is hard to tell the kind of weather on race day. If you know how to cope with whatever the weather conditions are, this will not impede you from doing your best on the race.
A few changes in your gear may prove to be beneficial as well. When running, instead of wearing your regular running shoes, try wearing trail shoes instead. Trail shoes provide more traction, which you need in order to keep yourself from slipping in the ice, and it provides more warmth as well because of its construction and design. Moreover, trail shoes are usually waterproof. Your bike may need some modifications as well. Rather than using your regular tire, use a wider tyre like the 25c tyre. This will give your tyre more surface area that comes in contact with the ground, thus improving your stability when riding on slippery roads. Protect your tyres from flats by installing tyre liners or slime. Moreover, a rear fender is also important because this keeps cold water from soaking your behind when you are out riding. There are different types of rear fender, but the type that attaches to your seat post easiest may be more beneficial.
But what do I wear?
In terms of your wardrobe, there is only one thing that you must remember and that is to dress accordingly. This means that if you train in winter, take into consideration the temperature and your number one enemy, which is the wind. The moment the wind gets to you especially when you are biking, warming up is close to impossible. It is best that you wear something that is windproof or has a windproof barrier. Moreover, you should complete this get up with hats, gloves, jackets, vests, and socks that are all wind proof. Synthetic materials should be layered beneath your jacket, in order to keep you dry by drawing the moisture away from your body. An alternative though, are the skinsuits. Skinsuits with full sleeves are more efficient at trapping heat in your body than wearing a jacket and a scarf. However, you cannot go out without your gloves and hats.
Engage in other winter sports. These sports can also prove to beneficial, like a hike in the snow, which helps strengthen your hips and core. If you want to build power and endurance then you can engage in downhill skiing. Some of my athletes are Colorado locals. Therefore, in their training program, I see to it that I include some winter sports like skiing, hiking and skating. This is important in order to make training enjoyable even in winter. A personal favorite of mine is skate skiing, where you get to establish strength and maximize your aerobic capacity.
As far as I am concerned, this winter can be your best winter and perfectly prepare you for the triathlon season. Keep in mind that how you deal with the current situation plays a huge role. Therefore, be open to change in order to cope with anything that comes your way.