Training in the cold can lead to certain dangers that aren't really an issue in warmer weather -- and even some that you may not have thought of. In temperatures below zero (or even colder), it's possible for an injury to occur without you knowing about it. This could either be an old injury flaring up during a run outside or a new injury occurrence. Whether you're running, cycling or swimming, incurring a new injury or aggravating an old one could hamper future training efforts, or even keep you out of a competition.
When it's cold outside the metabolic heat production that keeps your body's core temperature where it should be, slows down. When this happens, your body is more apt to suffer from things like frostbite or hypothermia [source: McManus]. Frostbite occurs when an exposed area of skin and the tissue layers under the skin freeze, which can lead to permanent damage on those areas of the body. Because triathlon training involves swimming, hypothermia is also a risk for cold weather training, because it can be onset by swimming in cold water. Hypothermia affects the body when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. Being exposed to the elements for any part of triathlon training opens athletes up for these potential cold-weather dangers. In addition to frostbite and hypothermia, cold-weather asthma can occur, especially when running, which makes it difficult for athletes to breathe.
Aside from these dangers, training in the cold can cause one other unexpected issue, dehydration. It's possible for your body to sweat just as much on a cold day as it does on a hot day, so hydration is just as important when it's cold out.
On the next page, we'll take a look at how you can prepare for cold-weather triathlon training and how you can avoid some of these dangers by taking a few simple precautions.