Obstacle Race Magazine – Cold Weather & Cold Water Acclimatisation Training

Obstacle Race Magazine Interview with Michael Cohen
Obstacle Racing Magazine

Cold Weather & Cold Water Acclimatisation Training

by Michael Cohen

Issue 1
February 2014

Cold weather training for an event can be very daunting if you haven’t done one before. We are in the UK, so we have to be prepared. At Tough Guy on January 29 2013 it was -10 degrees in the water and the ice was 1cm thick.  In March it was no better at The Nuts Challenge, it was frigid. Hundreds of contenders at last winter obstacle race (OCR) events around the country experienced hypothermia. Many were miserable and just cold. Where’s the fun in that!

Cold Water Temperatures

Just to give you an idea on change in water temperatures. On 13 October lake water temperature in Berkshire was 16.6°. By the 28 November it had dropped to 7°. From here on it is going to get colder and colder.

So have you got ball of ice or steel?

Be assured there is nothing that will beat cold weather acclimatisation training under coached supervision. Please note cold-water acclimatisation training should not be looked at lightly and neither should it be attempted without coach supervision to reduce the risk and incident of accidents and cases of hypothermia.

How trained and ready are you for this winters events?

cold weather and water training

Get your FREE Cold Water Training Plan

To get your FREE 4 week training plan click here.

Training Techniques:

Stage 1

  • From one month before your race start to wear shorts only around the house to start changing your body thermometer and also to adjust your perception of colder temperatures.
  • Keep your house radiators off when possible. Otherwise at a low temperature.
  • Then you need to lock away hats and jackets and start to go outside in shorts and vest tops.

Stage 2

  • Next stage is to slowly lower the temperature of your showers.

Stage 3

Stage 4

This stage is really going to test you on how far you can push your boundaries in preparing for your cold weather and cold-water obstacle racing.

WARNING – This training should only be undertaken under the supervision of a coach. Please tell other people at home what you are doing so they can be aware and help. Signs of your body going into shock is that you can’t get your words out, feeling of nausea/claustrophobia, purple and numb body parts. Always seek medical assistance if you do not make a full recovery within 10 minutes of showering.

  • Put the suggested kit above, plus leg compressors and some arm sleeves, and a fast wicking muscle top over the neoprene top. These layer deals with in and out of water thermoregulation.
  • Then…into a cold shower. Brain freeze!!! But otherwise the insulation of your clothes should keep the frigid cold from your hands and chest, which should be your main areas of concern.
  • Still wet go out for your training.
  • If you fingers get really cold and yellow this is a sign of poor blood flow. Pulse your fingers. If necessary shake them out in between pulsing the hands. You should now see blood back into the fingers…good sign!
  • After 20 mins find a safe bit of water / large puddle / hose to drop into. If very shallow roll in it, do press-ups and sit-ups all the way down so your clothes and shoes are completely re-soaked. Do this every 10 minutes, which will simulate getting in and out of water.
  • The hardest work is with your hands, pulsing and shaking and loosing movement and grip when racing. Guys, you may need to check that Jimmy down below is still there.
  • At end of workout. Go home strip off and get into the shower. If you can’t undress get in the shower fully dressed until you can gain control of your hands and remove your clothes item by item. VERY IMPORTANT – DO NOT TURN THE SHOWER ON FULL HEAT. Instead start very cool and very slowly increase the temperature up. Otherwise your body will go into shock. DO NOT stand around in cold wet clothes, talking you risk hypothermia setting in really quickly.
  • Then have hot drink / food.

Stage 5

  • Plan your next cold water & cold weather acclimatisation training session.

Get your FREE Cold Water Training Plan

To get your FREE 4 week training plan click here.

Are you training for an event?

Let me know how you are doing and whether you need some tips and advice. You can email me at info@wildforestgym.com

Cold Water/ Cold Weather OCR Races

Coach Michael recommends Cold Weather & Cold Water Acclimatisation training for all the following events. Races marked bold are priority as they have large ice cold water obstacles.

Back to the Trenches – Over The Top – Surrey
Braveheart Battle Run – Scotland
Brooks HellRunner
Brutal 10
DirtRun – Worcester
DirtRun Duathlon – Worcester
Glack Attack – Aberdeenshire
Gladi8or – Suffolk
Grim Challenge Original
Iron Run – East Midlands
Lactic Fallout Junior – Essex
Major Series
Mens Health Survival of the Fittest
Monster Race – Wiltshire
Mud Man Trail Run – Surrey
Muddy Trials – Scotland
Night Rush Xtreme Run – Essex
Nuclear Blackout – Essex
One True Grit – Hertfordshire
Pain & Suffering 10 mile – Midlands
Pandemonium Adventure Race Iced – Midlands
Ram Run Wild Run – Midlands
Rock Solid Race – Exeter
Rough & Tumble – Hampshire
Rough Runner – Knebworth
Shropshire Mud Run Series
Sole Destroyer – Northampton
Spartan Race Beast – London
SuperShot Challenge – Buckingham
Survival Running – Worcestershire
The Avalanche Run – Leicester
The Hope Northern Skeleton Run – Cumbria
The Human Hunt – Peterborough
The Mighty Deerstalker Night Run – Scotland
The Nuts Challenge – Dorking
The Pain Barrier – Bradford
The Wolf Run – Lutterworth
The Xtreme Challenge – Derby
Tough Guy
TuffMan Trail Run- East Sussex
Turbo X Trail – Bordon, Hants
Wild Run – Derby
WildMan Trail Run -Surrey

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