Thursday, November 30, 2006

Subjective Training Comfort in the Cold

Isn’t it strange how different we all are in terms of what we consider “cold” for either running or cycling training? I must run on the hotter side than most because I seem to always show up for group rides with the least amount of clothing on when it’s cold. It never ceases to amaze me how early some of my friends break out their balaclavas in the fall. I would be boiling over in five minutes if I had my head completely covered at some of the temps that they pull them on for.

Here are my personal guidelines and thresholds for riding and running in the cold. (I’m not so anal that I follow these to the letter, but these are about where the thresholds are.)

For cycling:
·I use toe covers and knee warmers if the temp is between 45 and 50 degrees F
·I use booties and tights if the temp is below 45
·I use a cycling cap under my helmet if the temp is between 35 and 50
·I use a headband to cover my ears if the temp is between 28 and 34
·I put on the dreaded balaclava if the temp is below 28

For running:
·I wear shorts and short sleeves (or no sleeves) until the temp gets to about 40
·I put on a long sleeve jersey between 35 and 40
·I put on a technical undershirt at 35
·I put on tights at 32
·I put on a wind-breaker type shell at about 27
·I always wear a running cap. It’s great for wicking sweat off my head in the heat, for keeping me warm in the cold, and (by lowering the brim) for blocking out the high-beams of an on-coming car in the dark

There is a former US Olympic team 1500 meter runner who lives locally and writes a bi-weekly running column in our newspaper. She once stated that she puts on tights to run when the temp gets down to only 50 degrees. That would be a recipe for suffering for me!

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