No matter what part of the country you live in, including here in Northern California, it can get cold while you’re training outside and you’re going to want to be as prepared as you can before heading out.  Here are a few tips for keeping yourself dry and warm while training this winter!

  • Layers! Use multiple layers – you can shed them as you get warmer. Try a dry-fit, wicking, material and have the outer layers as jackets or at least with zippers so you can open them up if you get too warm.  Cycling jackets, wind-breakers and vests offer quick and easy upper-body protection from the elements.
  • Chilly extremities? Try a pair of arm warmers, leg warmers, or gloves to keep you toasty. You can always peel these off as you get warmer.
  • Cover your head and ears. The wind in your hair is not great when your hair is wet and it’s cold outside. Air flowing through your cycling helmet will quickly drop your core temperature. Use a wicking helmet liner or a cap that fits under or inside your helmet.
  • Cold Feet?
    • A couple of options – toe covers are awesome for blocking the cold wind.
    • You can also slip hand or foot warmer packets into your shoes.
    • Plastic Baggies?!? Probably one of the most effective and cheapest ways to keep your feet warm, and completely dry, is to use plastic bags.  First, put your socks on, and then get two old bags from the grocery store (without any holes) and slip your feet in them.  Use a rubber band (not too tight!) or slip the ends up under the ankles of your tights to keep them secure around your ankles.  Then, slide your shoes on.  You might look a little funky and get some questions from your fellow riders, but your feet will be warm and dry all ride long.

Always pack some dry clothes for post-ride!  Even if it wasn’t raining out, you’re going to be sweating right after you get off the bike and you want to have some warm and dry clothes to put on.  Don’t risk getting sick by wearing the cold and sweaty clothes you’ve been riding in all day.

John Pottebaum is an Ironman Certified Coach, Four-time Ironman and triathlete for over 20 years.  After training for a decade in the cold Midwest, he now coaches triathletes out of Sacramento, California and welcomes any questions you might have. Contact John directly here.
CategoryBike, Off-Season, Training