Cold Weather Training for your event

cold weather trainingCold weather training for an event can be very daunting if you haven’t done one before. For me my last event was in the autumn at the end of September. It was a XT Triathlon which included a 1.5k cold water lake swim then 25k mountain bike finishing with a 10k trail run. Training for this event as far as the weather was concerned wasn’t too bad with a late summer. Plus I had the luxury of a 5mm neoprene full body wetsuit.

But what happens when you are training for a full-on winter event where you don’t have the luxuries of a wetsuit. For me my next event is the Tough Guy Obstacle Course Challenge which is 16k of mud, fridgid waters and massive obstacles on 27 January. Going by the current weather patterns we could be looking at -6 degrees if we are lucky.

So how do you prepare.

  • For the last few weeks I have been wearing shorts and vest tops around the house to start changing my body thermometer and also to adjust my perception of colder temperatures. I have done this in the past, which is why I get hassled by those around me when I walk around under-dressed…not undressed!
  • Then I locked away my hats and jackets and started to go outside in my shorts and vest top.
  • Next stage was to slowly lower the temperature of my showers.
  • Last week a bought some new kit a Tribord surfers top with 0.5mm neoprene, Tribord thermal shorts and Tribord 2.5mm neoprene gloves which I cut the thumb, index and middle fingers off so I have some grip.
  • tribord neoprene topToday was the big test. I put the above kit on, plus leg compressors and some arm sleeves, then…into a cold shower bearing in mind it was -3 degrees today the water was ice cold. Brain freeze!!! But otherwise I was impressed with the insulation of this single layer. The kit kept the fridged cold from my hands and chest, which were my main areas of concern.
  • Stage 2 – still wet I was out the door in the snow and -3 degrees.
  • 10 minutes and I realised my fingers were still really cold and yellow with little signs of blood flow. The rest of my body not doing badly. Had been pulsing my fingers but it wasn’t enough.
  • Started to regularly shake them out in between pulsing the hands. Could now see blood back into my fingers…good sign!
  • After 20 mins found a massive puddle so press-ups and sit-ups in the middle of it and all the way down so my clothes and shoes were completely re-soaked. Did this three times every 10 minutes just stimulate getting in and out of water.
  • The hardest work I had to do was with my hands, pulsing and shaking. My biggest concern is that my loss of movement and sense is what is going to be testing on the Tough Guy Obstacle Course. Feet were fine. Jimmy down below was starting to sting and was definitely numb. So any suggestions for Jimmy would be appreciated.
  • Got back home after 60 minutes and saw my neighbour. So started to talk, which is when I realised that I couldn’t stand around. If I wasn’t careful then hypothermia could set in really quickly. I already noticed that I starting to have difficulty getting my words out.
  • Got in the house. Shoes off and fully dressed into the shower. Now I felt my body going into shock, feeling of nausea/claustrophobia, Its hard to describe, however I was still able to control it. Kept the temperature mid way as too hot would shock my body. Pink blotches over areas of my arms , legs and tummy. Jimmy was purple and numb! After 5 minutes got my clothes off and all in all it took me 10 minutes in the shower to normalise.
  • As got dressed shakes started to come in. Dressed with hoody, hat tracksuit bottoms,  and socks and the shakes started to go down over the next 10 minutes whilst I drank a hot lemon water.

Would I do it again. Yep tomorrow. You see you have to acclimatise the body then I know on the big day of my Tough Guy 2013 Obstacle Course Challenge event you can deal better with the unknown and unknowable.

Are you training for an event. Let me know how you are doing and whether you need some tips and advice. Plus subscribe to the blog and you will gets lots of tips and  advice on training and kit!

Other Cold Weather Events for 2013

  • Brooks HellRunner – Midlands (February 9, 2013)
  • Mud Runner: Icebreaker Muddy Duathlon (February 17, 2013)
  • The Avalanche Run – Leicester (February 17, 2013)
  • Tuff Man Trail Run – Essex (February 23, 2013)
  • The Beast – Leicestershire (February 24, 2013)
  • Major Series – Leeds (March 2, 2013)
  • The Nuts Challenge – Dorking – 7km (March 2, 2013)
  • Sole Destroyer – Northampton (March 2, 2013)
  • Legends of Sherwood Forest Night Run (March 2, 2013)
  • Runners Need G3 – Surrey (March 2, 2013)
  • Night Terror – Manchester (March 2, 2013)
  • Go “Insane” at Woodbridge! – Suffolk (March 3, 2013)
  • DirtRun Duathlon – Worcester (March 3, 2013)
  • Tough Nutz – Wirral (March 4, 2013)
  • Major Series – South (March 9, 2013)
  • Demon Run Series – Glasgow (March 9, 2013)
  • Yorkshire Terrior Night Run – North Yorkshire (March 9, 2013)
  • Back to the Trenches – Surrey (March 9, 2013)
  • No Ego Challenge Head Torch Race (March 9, 2013)
  • Devil’s Challenge – South East (March 10, 2013)
  • The Mighty Deerstalker Night Run – Scotland (March 16, 2013)
  • The Reaper Night Run – Midlands (March 16, 2013)
  • Rock Solid Race – Devon (March 16, 2013)
  • Night Terror – Bristol (March 16, 2013)
  • Wild Warrior – Derby (March 17, 2013)
  • The Northern Beast – Cheshire (March 17, 2013)
  • Demon Run Series – London (March 23, 2013)
  • Horseplay – Buckinghamshire (March 23, 2013)
  • Snakes Pit Challenge – Essex (March 23, 2013)
  • Dirty Dozen Races – Kent (March 23, 2013)
  • Mud Runner – Equinox, Scotland (March 24, 2013)
  • The Reaper – East Sussex (March 30, 2013)
  • The Witches’ Revenge 10km Obstacle Challenge – Lancaster (March 31, 2013)
  • Tough Mudder – Cheshire/North (October 5, 2013)
  • Mens Health Survival of The Fittest – Cardiff (October 6, 2013)
  • Mens Health Survival of the Fittest – Nottingham (October 12, 2013)
  • Grim Challenge Duathlon – Aldershot (October 19, 2013)
  • Mud Runner – Classic (October 20, 2013)
  • Mens Health Survival of the Fittest – Edinburgh (October 20, 2013)
  • Steeple Chase Obstacle Race (October 27, 2013)
  • Brooks Hellrunner – North Cheshire (November 2, 2013)
  • Mens Health Survival of the Fittest – Manchester (November 2, 2013)
  • Spartan Race Beast – London (November 9, 2013)
  • Mens Health Survival of the Fittest – London (November 16, 2013)
  • Grim Challenge Original – 8 Mile Muddy Trail Run (November 30, 2013)


For full details visit our friends at who have all and everything you need to know about up and coming challenges.

Related Articles on Obstacle Course Training click here

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