Baby it’s Cold Outside – But We’re Skiing!

It’s cold out – stay in or get out there?  We all know the answer.

Here are some ideas ( modified from http://proactiveoutside.wordpress.com/) to get you outside and get your training in…

First, prepare your mind. You can dread the cold, or you can take it on as a challenge.  Mental toughness is part of becoming a better athlete, and part of that is being able to tackle a wider variety of conditions. If you’re constantly looking for the Goldilocks zone of training, you’ll only get outside a smattering of weeks during the year. So get your mind right, saddle up and go.

Keep in mind, you’ll warm up as you go. If you’re standing around outside when it’s cold, you’ll feel cold. But when you’re moving, things change.  Some say you can expect to feel 20 degrees warmer than the actual outside temps during exercise.

Dress for success. No, you won’t be able to train comfortably in sub-freezing temperatures dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. You’ve got to plan better than that. When it’s really cold, you need to warm your extremities, so that means a hat, decent socks and gloves. You also don’t want to get too warm – sweat will chill you further.  Runners World came up with a handy guide to clothing for the cold:

  • 30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm. Tights (or shorts, for polar bears).
  • 10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. A jacket over your base layer, and wind pants over the tights.
  • 0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Windbrief for the fellas.
  • Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.
  • Minus 20 degrees: 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses. Or, in other words, “Stay inside.”

Fuel and hydrate properly. Just because it’s not hot does not mean your hydration needs won’t be high. Colder months are often drier months, so proper hydration is still very important. Also, your body burns more calories when it’s cold than when it does when it’s warm to keep its core temperature up. Stoking your inner furnace costs calories, so if you’re not properly fueled, you can bonk pretty hard in the cold. It happens. So fuel up and hydrate.

And get out there!

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