When the weather turns cold, windy and snow accumulates, training becomes a challenge. When we get a break from winter’s grip, the temptation is to take advantage of the nice weather.
Both situations need to be approached with caution.
First, remember that winter is the time for base building. Increasing your aerobic fitness. This is best done by working out at a comfortable to slightly moderate effort – keeping your heart rate below 80% of your Max HR. Your focus should be on increasing your weekly mileage and the time (or distance) of your long workout. For most of us, it’s too early for hard workouts.
Winter conditions limit our training and present serious dangers for cyclists. Both wind chill and “Black Ice” can bring your training to an abrupt halt. Be cautious, rides when wind chill is below freezing should be short – no more than 90 minutes. If there is any chance of ice on the course, find a different route or train indoors.
Runners can venture out in harsher conditions, since they generate more heat and produce significantly less wind chill. But, the danger of ice, especially “Black Ice” is as high.
Treadmill and trainer workouts are not as much fun, but they are significantly safer during winter. Loosing weeks due to an injury caused by a fall, is a lot worse than training indoors!
When the weather warm, we are tempted to take advantage and get in extra miles. The wise athlete sticks to his/her training plan even when the temps soar into the 40s! Doing more than your training plan calls for will put you at risk for injury and more lost training time.
Be careful out there!