I know what it feels like to be cold. I mean really cold. I grew up in south eastern Idaho, and still live here today and let me tell you, we get COLD weather! Idaho Falls, Idaho (which is about a half hour from where I live) was listed as #18 out of America’s top 25 coldest cities. Anyways, we are starting to get to that time of year where we will be receiving low temperatures so let’s go over some rules about training outside in the cold and inside on the trainers.
Let’s just point this out in the beginning—there is a fine line between building toughness by fighting the elements and getting sick. However, you may find exercising in the outdoors to be enjoyable and doable. Just use your common sense when deciding to train indoors or outdoors with cold temperatures. Let’s go over some guidelines we should all follow while exercising outdoors in the cold:
- Did you know that your airways and nasal passages are very effective at warming up the cold air you breath in before it hits your lungs? So, there is no problem with breathing cold air, as long as you dress appropriately and bring enough food/water with you.
- Wind greatly increases the amount of heat loss from your skin and puts you at greater risk for frostnip and frostbite, so watch out for those wind chills! If you switch your course to an area with tree covered trails, that may help block the wind.
- If it is cold and raining or if you are near water, this is when you need to be extremely careful! We all know that water conducts heat faster than air due the fact that its more dense (25 times as fast). If it’s cold and wet, it might be better to consider doing something indoors. If not, make sure you have great rain gear, and if you insist on being outside, keep your breaks to a minimum because you need the heat your body is producing from exercise to warm you.
- Make sure to wear underclothing that will keep the sweat off your body. If your sweat gets trapped, it will start to cool you down, and you do not want that!
- Layer, layer, layer! Layering actually does work, and the great thing about layering is that you can customize your amount of ventilation. Each individual layer acts as a barrier to the wind—you can also layer up by wearing a hat under your helmet.
Have fun while riding in the winter, but most importantly BE SAFE!