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  1. #1
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    New question here. Benefits of training in cold weather?

    Are there any benefits to training in cold weather? Other than keeping you cool and perhaps burning more calories, are there any aerobic advantages in the long run?

  2. #2
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    You push a lot of extra resistance in the winter.....more clothes rubbing, more weight, more air resistance, heavier air to push through.

    Tires are less compliant and have more rolling resistance, studs, lube and greas in bearings gets thicker...

    After a winter when you get back to summer, you are definately faster.

  3. #3
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    I couldn't find any evidence that training in cold is beneficial. One study did show that training in the heat is beneficial:
    Heat acclimation improves exercise performance. [J Appl Physiol. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI

    The control group (that stayed in "cool" temps for the whole study) had no changes in VO2max, time-trial performance, lactate threshold, or any physiological parameters.

    The group that incorporated "heat" into their training improved all metrics in both temperature conditions (cool and hot).

    Probably another hidden reason for indoor trainers being so effective.
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  4. #4
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    Besides thinking you're a bad ass because you're outside and maybe having some cool stories to tell No, there's no benefit. Why do you think pros go to Mallorca?

    but training in cold weather is better than not training at all so get out there and ride.

  5. #5
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    And training outside is SO MUCH more fun than indoor!!!

  6. #6
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    Main benefit would be that you aren't sitting around on the couch, eating bon-bons.

  7. #7
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    Mmmmm.....Bon Bons.....

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    The main benifits are that when you encounter horrible weather on race day you will hardly notice whereas those that trained in hot weather or turbos all winter will be miserable.

    I've also found that you can "train" yourself to wear less and less (up to a point) in colder conditions.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwanttolookatpics View Post
    The main benifits are that when you encounter horrible weather on race day you will hardly notice whereas those that trained in hot weather or turbos all winter will be miserable..
    Agree. Commuting and training in nearly any weathercrap New England can deliver definitely has made me feel like there's not much mother nature can throw at me on race day that I can't easily handle (physio and psychologically).

    A former pro roadie friend contends that working out in colder (sub-30 say) weather is more taxing and thus more beneficial training-wise. I think I've found that I agree with that, though I'm not sure science would back it. But if I do 2 hours at 20 degrees, I'm sure I'm more burnt than if I did same at 50. Psychologically toughened and inspired for sure, but physiologically as well.
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  10. #10
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    I would say if you are riding on snow or ice, your bike handling skills should improve significantly at least.
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  11. #11
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    I've done over 3 hours on the trainer but it is really mentally hard. I would much rather ride 3 hours in 30 degrees. I find outside in the cold far better for base building because I can mentally complete the rides. OTOH, the trainer works better for intervals in that it is really easy to track my interval times.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlliKat View Post
    I've done over 3 hours on the trainer but it is really mentally hard. I would much rather ride 3 hours in 30 degrees. I find outside in the cold far better for base building because I can mentally complete the rides. OTOH, the trainer works better for intervals in that it is really easy to track my interval times.
    Some of us would consider 30 nice and warm at this point....

    Chilled

    I made it about 15 minutes outside this morning (was -2 with wind chill about -20). I just don't have the gear to handle riding outside when it gets this cold - so the indoor trainer it is.

    Luckily, the last 2 Friday's were in the mid to upper 50's which allowed for some nice outdoor longer rides.

  13. #13
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    30 is too warm. That's prime slop temperature right there. Between 15 and 25 degrees is the sweet spot in eastern Iowa. Not so cold that you can't feel your extremities but cold enough to keep the ground solid. The right clothing does make all the difference though.
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  14. #14
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    Cold weather training could make you mentally tougher. I guess. Proper dress and just getting out there is the key. Also having another rider with you helps, you're less likely to call it quits.
    Comas aren't as fun as riding your bike, so wear a Helmet.

  15. #15
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    I bonk faster in the cold. Calories being burned to keep me from turning into a popsicle are lost and not put into my legs. I have had a few of my worst rides ever in the cold, doing the exact same training ride I always do and coming short 30minutes. It builds character for sure, and I do feel like these miserable days make me a better rider.

    That being said I am plopping my ass on the trainer today....too cold!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by y0bailey View Post
    I bonk faster in the cold. !
    Personally speaking I've found that a good bonk warms me right up.

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    I think of it as "well, at least I'm riding and building base, not sitting around waiting for March."

    I happen to train on a >40lb studded-tire bike with panniers and a trunk bag, with almost a pound of Hotronic foot-warmer batteries clipped to my hefty Lake winter boots, and it runs a 36-48 crankset, so when I finally switch to the XC bike and light shoes in springtime, it'll be like having wings.

    So there's that benefit, if you're on a heavy slow training bike it'll give you extra resistance to work against. Some would say that's irrelevant since you still put out the same wattage and simply go slower, but I'm not sure it's always that simple. Last spring I took the studded-tire bike on a ride with four roadies and a triathelete, sans panniers, and halfway through the ride the guy on the Tarmac said "who ARE you?!" after I ditched them all on a climb and towed them around on the flats. Dude, I've been training since December, ok?

  19. #19
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    I would second the comment on mental toughness. Getting out the door when it is 35 degrees is a lot more difficult than when it's 65. However, if you are going to do an endurance race or night lap in a 24 hour race, having the knowledge of what 35 degrees feels like will give you more confidence.

    Theoretically you should be able to do more work in a colder environment. Some of the thermodynamicists can correct me, but the definition of work (power x time) has a temperature delta to it. I know in steam plants you generate more power for a given input if you have a colder environment.

    That all said, that's theory. My guess us that unless your are competing in the TDF the benefit will only be mental toughness.

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