Prepare for Changing Conditions
Now that the warm spring weather has finally arrived, it’s time to get outside and jumpstart your training for the season. However, as we start spending more and more time outside, it’s important to prepared for the season’s unpredictable conditions. Here in Colorado, our weather can change in the blink of an eye, so having the right equipment and looking at weather forecasts are really important.
Wherever you live, sudden rainstorms, sandy roads, and blindingly bright sunshine can all cause potentially dangerous situations. Taking a few quick and easy precautions, you can set yourself up for success and have a blast out in the warmer weather. So, take it from someone who has made plenty of spring training mistakes, as you’re gearing up for a long ride, run, or adventure this spring, keep yourself safe and protected with these spring training tips.
Protect Your Skin
After a long winter of training indoors or in gloomy and grey conditions, spring weather is a welcome sight to see – my pasty white legs, however, are not such an attractive sight. With the sun shining down and temperatures rising, it’s easy to spend a little extra time outside soaking up the warmth and working on your tan. However, with this extra time in the sun, it’s important to protect your body from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
Sunburns are not only painful, but they cause damage to your skin leaving you more susceptible to skin cancer and premature aging. Nobody wants to look like a lobster after a long day on the bike. So lather on sunscreen 30 minutes before heading out into the sun and reapply approximately ever two hours. I always use sports sunscreens because they work well even if I’m dripping sweat from a tough workout. I also always use SPF 30 or higher. Yes, it will take longer to get that glistening golden tan that I shoot for each summer, but protecting my skin is more important in the long run.
Protect Your Eyes
Skin isn’t the only part of the body that needs protection from the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are also damaging to the eyes. All Rudy Project sunglasses protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays so you can spend time outside without worry about your eyes.
Rudy Project also offers a multitude of different lens colors and lens types to suit anyone’s style and needs. I really love the RP Optic Lenses because they are lightweight and include different levels of light transmission so I can decide how light or dark I want my lenses based on of how sunny it is outside. Another option is the shatterproof ImpactX-2 lenses. The durable, semi-rigid properties of these lenses will shield your eyes from the sun as well as protect them in the event of a crash. Finally, Rudy Project’s Polar 3FX polarized lenses eliminate glare and reduce eye fatigue. With special light absorption and molecular properties, the Polar 3FX lenses provide excellent eye protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
Dress In Layers
Even though the temperatures outside might feel warm and delightful when you leave your house, spring weather can change quickly! Don’t get caught out without the proper clothing and warm gear this spring. I make sure to dress in layers when I leave the house so I can easily take off or add on additional clothes depending on the weather.
A rain jacket and hat are always in my pocket because they can make a big difference if a sudden rainstorm rolls in unexpectedly. Weather stations and apps aren’t always correct so it’s best to be prepared for any possible changes in the weather. Moisture in the air or a slight breeze can make things feel much cooler than the actual temperature so be prepared with extra clothes.
Also, elevation changes can cause significant drops in temperature. I live in Boulder, Colorado and love to ride my bike up and down our canyons in the spring and summer. It’s never hard to stay warm when climbing up these mountain roads but turning around to head downhill can be another story. The long and windy descends can get dangerously cold if you’re not prepared so I always bring plenty of extra clothes including warm gloves, hat, and wind jacket anytime I head to the hills.
Update Your Gear
Spring is a great time to check your training gear and make any updates or replacements you’ve been putting off over the winter. New bar tape can make a bike feel like new again. A new chain will improve your bike’s efficiency and make you feel like you’re flying. If you don’t feel comfortable making these changes yourself, think about taking your bike to a local bike shop and have a professional mechanic do a yearly tune-up.
Also, if you’re like me and you live in an area where it snows throughout the winter, watch out for road damage and debris while riding this spring. Sand from snowplows can build up in curves and corners, so a little extra caution as you ride through these areas is a good idea. New tires will help you navigate these treacherous spring roads and help prevent flats.
Hydration and nutrition are important to focus on anytime of the year. However, springtime is a great time to practice good habits and take care of the little details we often overlook in training. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. I try and take sips every 10-15 minutes while training so I can finish my workouts feeling fresh and ready for whatever tomorrow has in store.
With spring’s sunny skies and warmer temperatures, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the changing season. These warmer temps can be deceiving however, so prepare for the inevitable weather fluctuations and you’ll have a long and enjoyable season of training, racing, and adventures.
Kristen Legan is a former professional triathlete, current elite cyclist, and lives for outdoor adventures the world over. She was one of six women to ride the entire Tour de France in 2012 as part of the women’s Rêve Tour team. Besides riding, running, and adventuring, Legan also coaches with APEX Coaching out of Boulder, Colorado.