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Triathlon training can be tough at the best of times. But how do you train for a triathlon when it’s cold, wet and dark outside?
At WholyMe, we understand – winter training takes some motivation. When the weather outside is frightful, it can be tempting to stay curled up on the sofa instead of going for a run, swim or cycle.
So let’s explore a few no-nonsense principles for cold-weather training to give you the boost you need to get up and after it this winter!
Train for a Triathlon Indoors
You should by no means make indoor training your only way to train for a triathlon during winter. However, when the weather is too rough or you just cannot summon up the willpower to get out in the dark, you can take advantage of modern technology.
For example, you can clock up some miles on treadmills and exercise bikes at the gym, while turbo trainers will give you the option of cycling your road bike indoors at home. Of course, swimming pools will give you a safe and comfortable swimming option throughout winter.
Prioritize Your Warm Up
A good dynamic warmup is crucial to increase muscle temperature and blood flow in cold weather, when joints are stiffer and the body is generally more fatigued. Think plenty of air squats, Cossack squats, lunges, arm circles, and heel flicks to get your heart rate up and your muscles flexible.
Follow your regular warmup plan, although extend it as long as you need to ensure you are feeling properly prepared for the activity that lies ahead. This is also true if you are exercising indoors at home or in the gym. Better safe than sorry, as failing to warm up can result in injury, as this 2018 study highlights.
Yes, it may be freezing outside, but this doesn’t mean you should go for your run or cycle in thick clothing. Instead, opt for specially designed breathable thermal training gear like base layers, leggings, hats and gloves.
As you plan your outfit, wear clothing that keeps you feeling a bit cold as you head outside. It may sound counterintuitive, but you will quickly warm up as soon as you begin training.
Prep Your Bike for Winter
At some point you will have to brave the great outdoors and get on your bike as you train for a triathlon. Before this, make sure your bike is suitably winter-proofed by doing some of the following.
Ensure front and rear lights are fitted to your bike, while you are covered in reflective gear. Also consider changing your tires to those with a grippier tread. Keep these tires inflated a little less than in the summer months, as this will improve your grip on slippery roads. Finally, good mud guards can help protect your bike (and you!) from corrosive salt spray.
Always plan your cycling route well. If the roads are icy, then it’s a better option to stick to a busier main road – which is likely to have been gritted – than slipping around on a quieter side road.
Run With Care Outside
When running outdoors, many of the same principles apply as discussed in the cycling section above. Plan your route, wear plenty of reflective clothing, and use good running shoes with ample grip to improve traction on slippery pavements.
For more advice, check out our article on Running Outdoors in Winter!
Go Swimming Safely
If you are going to brave the open water this winter as your train for a triathlon, then do so safely! Firstly, always swim in a body of water where you can get in and out easily. Always go with someone who stays on land while you swim and agree a time to leave the water – get them to summon you out as you may lose track of time.
Keep your body warm with a wetsuit, neoprene gloves, a swimming hat (or two), and booties. Immerse yourself in the water fully as soon as possible, know your limits, then get out and warm up quickly. Change into dry clothing immediately, then drink something warm!
You are never going to get the best from your triathlon training if you are battling a cough or a cold. This is why you should prioritize your health and recovery this winter.
This means eating well to boost your immune system, hydrating effectively (yes, this is still crucial in cold weather), and getting a good night of sleep to allow your body time to repair damaged tissue.
For a great night’s sleep this winter, try taking a few drops of our popular WholyMe Relief Drops around 15 minutes before bed. CBD oil is understood to act as a sedative and often used to decrease anxiety and improve sleep. Our certified-organic Relief Drops contain 600mg full-spectrum CBD, which is independently tested and completely non-addictive.
Train for a triathlon sensibly and enjoy the challenge!
The key takeaway from this article is to use sense when training outdoors this winter. Plan ahead, take things slowly, then recover properly.
After training, treat yourself to a well-earned warm bath using a few handfuls of our restorative WholyMe Relief Salts. To make this bestselling blend, we combine natural Epsom salts with organic essential oils such as arnica, eucalyptus, and frankincense to unwind body and mind. It’s the perfect way to relax after a cold run, cycle or swim this winter!