Now that the seasons are changing and cooler weather is here, it's time to consider what gear and nutrition changes need to be made in order to adjust well to the colder temps. Cold weather temperature regulation is a little more complicated than it is in the warmer months. You want to ensure your energy is going toward the effort of the training and not the effort of heating your body. Below is a guide for adjusting to the colder training temps.
DON'T DO THIS
One mistake triathletes in training make is piling on too many layers when it's chilly outside. They end up overheating and expending needed energy on cooling down rather than the training itself. Keep in mind that your training temperature is going to add between 10 and 20 degrees, depending on your size, pace and duration. Doubling up on your base layer is generally not necessary until temps start to dip below 30 degrees.
DEFINITELY DO THIS
Adjust your gear. Adding the following items to your gear collection will make temperature regulation the least difficult thing your body does during training.
- Arm and leg warmers – These are ideal for temperatures in the 30s, 40s and 50s. If you find that you are getting too warm, they are easy to remove and put in your pack.
- Long sleeve tech base layer – a tech base layer will keep the sweat away from your skin, keeping you warmer and more comfortable.
- Windproof jacket – Much like the base layer, these are tech material and will insulate you from the weather and help to keep you dry and comfortable.
- Gloves – Fingers lose heat quickly! Gloves will keep your hands warm and dry. In extreme cold conditions it's better to wear mittens when running as your fingers will share their natural body heat.
- Headwear – For temperatures above 30 a helmet liner will usually work. If you find that your head tends to get too warm then a good earmuff is the way to go. In extreme cold conditions, a running/cycling mask is best.
- Socks - Tech socks are a must all year round. If it's particularly cold out and you find that your feet are too cold to be comfortable then double up!
Gain some weight…but not too much. During the off season it's tempting to plow through a nice bottle of scotch or a couple dozen of your Aunt Agnes's holiday cookies. As appetizing at that sounds, over indulging in unhealthy food during the offseason could potentially have huge negative effects when it's time to compete next season. However, gaining a manageable amount of weight, provided you want to and it's no more than 10 lbs., can actually work to your advantage. For one, it can give you a needed break from the psychological and physical rigor of competition season nutrition. Also, training at a slightly higher weight will have your body working harder. Much like using a weighted vest, this can increase strength and endurance when the season rolls around again and you drop the weight. While it's nice to ease up a little nutritionally, it is still vitally important to fuel your body with healthy food, stay hydrated and take effective supplements.