So this is just my thoughts on winter training and what could possibly help you get through your winter races and training effectively. Also I recommend that you try to always train with a training partner or training group when being silly and jumping in to burns, ponds, lakes or whatever. I have put in as many links for each item of equipment/kit as I could. So anyway....
In 2015 myself and 2 fellows I had been training decide to attempt our first winter Obstacle Race, McTough Guy(now known as MacTuff). We had been taking part in obstacle races for around a year or so and we were very much looking for tougher and tougher challenges. Knowing that I didn't take to the cold weather and water naturally I knew I needed to prepare! So my research began, and judging on how well we performed and how well we have since adjusted to cold water and tougher weather conditions I thought I would share my two cents on what has worked for my team and I.
You will have no doubt have read the tales of hypothermia and adverse reactions to the cold at some races, such as Tough Guy the original, The Nuts Challenge etc. And on completing McTough Guy, it was crazy seeing people suffering from the cold, and suffering bad. And this was without any true full submersion in water! I felt fine with the weather through the race( as we had thoroughly prepared) but once I stopped, it was crazy feeling the effects, such as shaking without even realising it. But it was very mixed on how people reacted. In the changing/shower block people were violently shaking and were unable to strip. Though some seemed to warm back up fine. For me i think it was all about preperation. And with Mactuff and Tough Guy the original coming up for me this coming January, I will be doing the exact same, if not more, preperation again.
Being adeverse to the cold I started looking and googling to see how I could adapt to the shock of cold water and to the cold weather in general.
I decided that a large part of it all was going to be mental toughness. My reaction to cold water at races was, well, over the top to say the least. Artic Enima, water slides etc, would all send me screaming and shouting, soon followed by blue lips and shaking, although that was mainly due to gear (more on that later). So in September 2015, I had Total Warrior. They have their fair share of water to run and jump in to, and so I decided I would start here. I accepted that it was going to be fresh, and attacked it hard. And with this acceptance, there was less of a shock and more enjoyment.
I then stumbled on this article: http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/science/cold_acclimation_human.php
Which although I never had to adapt to anything like the temperatures mentioned, gave me some food for thought. Basically we all have temperatures that we get comfortable with. But we can acclimatize to new environmental changes with gradual changes.
What I did to acclimatize:
So, like we all do, we searched the forums, listened to runners of previous winter obstacle races, and done some trial and error when it came to the gear we chose to train and race in. It all really depends how well you already feel with the cold.
My combination varies depending on the amount of water and temperature of the race.
Also this is order I wear the items of clothing in.
This is just my choice of products and brands and there are thousands of other brands that you can choose from and find with a little research!
So thats how I and my team deal with the winter season and the cold weather and water! Hope it helps a little, and can answer any questions at all in more detail. Enjoy.