4 Winter Triathlon Training Secrets From the Pros

Don't let freezing temps and slick roads stall your triathlon training plans this winter. Here, pro triathlete Emma Garrard, the 2011 USAT Winter Triathlon national champ, and Troy Jacobson, the Senior National Director of Endurance Sports Training of Lifetime Fitness, give us their tips on staying motivated—and staying warm—this winter.

Dress the Part

When it comes to keeping your body temperature in check while running or cycling outside, there's a delicate balance between wearing too much—or too little.

"It's all about layers you can peel off if you warm up," says Garrard, who trains throughout the winter near her Park City, Utah home. "On the coldest days, I wear tights under windproof pants, then a thin, wool base layer, a mid-layer and a jacket with windproof fabric on top. Plus a hat and buff or neckwarmer."

Cycling—which exposes you to a harsher wind chill—requires added gear, like insulated and windproof shoe covers, insulated gloves, and a beanie under your helmet. Whatever you're out there doing, you don't want to be in a full sweat before you even leave your house.

"You should feel cold for the first 10 minutes," says Garrard. "If you dress too warm, you may sweat too much and then get chilled when you stop."

More: Winter Triathlon Training: 5 Tips From the Trenches

Hit the Trails

Garrard's secret for staying in shape all winter long? Cross-country skiing.

"It's a great, low-impact activity for triathletes that transfers really well to the bike and run in the spring," she says. "It's also an awesome upper body workout, helps your balance and uses so many more muscles than running and cycling."

If you have access to trails, strap on the skis and try Garrard's favorite workout: Warm up by skiing without poles for 10 minutes, then do 4 rounds of 5 minutes hard with 2 minutes of recovery.

"You'll definitely get your heart rate up a lot higher than you would running or biking," says Garrard. "Cross-country skiers are known to have the highest VO2 max levels."

More: Intro to Cross-Country Skiing

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