Conquering Windy Runs: Strategies to Make Running in the Wind Easier

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

Let’s talk about one of the most dreaded foes of our running adventures— the wind!

Ugh, it’s like running uphill with no finish line in sight, right? We’ve all been there, huffing and puffing against those gusty gusts, wondering if we’ll ever catch a break.

Fret no more.

Fear not, my running pals, because I’ve got a bunch of awesome tips to share! From mastering the art of running with the wind to safeguarding your workout, we’ll ensure those gusts won’t stand a chance against your determination.

Are you ready? Let’s do this!

Why Running In The Wind is Hard

Running in the wind is quite tricky.

I mean, seriously, it doesn’t even have to be a hurricane-level wind to mess with our beloved runs.

Those sneaky soft breezes can make a world of difference, and the more miles we log, the more they love to play with our time, body temperature, and energy levels.

So, what’s the deal with running in the wind?

Let me break it down for you in simple terms.

Picture this: you’re pushing forward, giving it your all, and then bam! The wind decides to throw a party crasher move and push back at you with all its might.

It’s like running on a treadmill with an invisible hand trying to hold you back. Sneaky, right?

Now, you might wonder why something as gentle as a breeze can mess with our running mojo.

Well, the science behind it is fascinating! When we’re running into the wind, our body needs to kick it up a notch to maintain that precious forward momentum.

You see, that gusty wind is working against us, pushing back at a faster speed than we’re moving forward. So, instead of gracefully gliding along, we end up using extra energy just to counteract its force. It’s like we’re running at our usual pace, but with a heavy backpack filled with wind. No wonder it feels so darn hard!

Now, don’t just take my word for it—science backs this up!

Research has delved into the impact of headwinds on our running performance, and boy, it’s eye-opening. Those headwinds can really take a toll on our running economy and overall performance, especially the longer we’re out there battling those invisible forces.

Here’s how running into a headwind impacts your running times:

  • 20 seconds per mile slower in 10 mph wind
  • 30 seconds per miles slower in 15 mph wind.
  • Sixty seconds slower per mile in 20 mph wind.

5 Training Strategies For Running In The Wind

Without further ado, here are the guidelines you need for those headwind runs.

  1. Accept The Wind

The secret sauce to conquer the wind: acceptance!

Yep, you heard it right. Acceptance is the name of the game when it comes to running in the wind.

So, instead of trying to battle the wind head-on and maintain your usual pace, let’s shift gears and embrace the art of perceived effort. It’s like going with the flow of the wind and making it work for us. Trust me, this simple mindset shift can do wonders for your windy runs.

Sure, you might find yourself running a few seconds slower per mile than your usual pace, but that’s totally okay! It’s not about being the fastest gazelle in the savannah; it’s about completing your run strong and with a sense of accomplishment.

Think of it as a dance with the wind. Sometimes, you lead, and sometimes, it leads. Embrace the rhythm and let the wind guide you. Instead of wasting your precious energy fighting against its invisible force, fall back and ride the wind like a surfer riding those epic waves. You’ll be amazed at how much easier and enjoyable your windy runs become when you flow with the wind instead of against it.

  1. Finish with the Wind on Your back

Here’s a little pro tip for all you wind warriors out there: when life throws a headwind at you, just turn it into your tailwind advantage!

Picture this: you’re out on your run, facing that stubborn headwind like a true champion, pushing through with determination and grit. But instead of letting it drain all your energy, you’re already planning your triumphant return with the wind as your ally!

Here’s the strategy: start your run by running into the wind, tackling it head-on like the fearless runner you are. As you conquer those miles with the wind challenging your every step, you’re building up mental fortitude and physical strength. But wait for it; the best part is yet to come!

As you turn back towards home, guess what’s waiting for you? That’s right, the wind is now at your back, gently pushing you forward like a secret running partner giving you a boost. Suddenly, those last few miles feel like a breeze, and you find yourself finishing the session feeling stronger than ever before!

By finishing with the wind on your back, you’ve effectively faced the wind only half the time, sparing yourself from the constant struggle and fatigue. It’s like turning the tables on the wind and making it work for you. You know what they say: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

And here’s a cool bonus benefit: on hot, scorching days, this tactic can be a game-changer. Instead of battling the heat throughout your entire run, why not strategically switch it up and let the cooling breeze embrace you during those critical last miles? It’s like nature’s way of rewarding your efforts with a refreshing reprieve.

  1. Change your Technique

Technique also matters when trying to run in windy conditions.

First and foremost, let’s talk about the dreaded hunch and shoulder tension. It’s like the wind is whispering in your ear, “Hunch over, tense up, and lose your stride!” But we won’t let that happen, will we? No way!

So here’s the secret sauce: try to stay relaxed and loose. When you tense up, you’re wasting precious energy that could be better spent propelling you forward. Instead, stay calm, let your muscles flow with ease, and you’ll find yourself gliding through the wind like a breeze.

Now, picture this: running into a headwind is like running up a never-ending hill. It feels like the wind is pushing you back, resisting your every stride.

So how do you overcome this?

Just like when you tackle a hill, lean slightly into the wind. It’s like leaning into the challenge, saying, “I got this!”

This subtle lean helps lower resistance and keeps you moving forward with determination. But remember, it’s not a full-body tilt like you’re about to take off in flight; just a gentle, assertive lean to show that headwind who’s boss.

And let’s not forget about our shoulders and upper back. When the wind is playing rough, it’s tempting to scrunch up your shoulders like a turtle retreating into its shell. But we won’t be playing hide-and-seek with the wind, will we? Nope!

So keep those shoulders loose and relaxed, allowing your upper body to move freely with the rhythm of your run.

This way, you’ll prevent any unwanted discomfort or pain and maintain your form like the wind isn’t even there.

  1. Run With a Group 

There’s something magical about running together with your fellow enthusiasts, facing the challenges of the wind as a united force.

So, if you’re part of a lucky running pack, here’s a brilliant strategy to make the wind work in your favor: take turns being the wind warrior at the front!

Imagine this: you’re all lined up, ready to take on the gusty elements. One brave soul steps up to lead the pack, cutting through the wind like a trailblazer. As they forge ahead, the rest of the group tucks in closely behind, finding solace in the shelter they create. It’s like a perfectly choreographed dance with the wind, where each runner plays their part to keep the group moving efficiently.

And guess what? This tactic has a name: wind streaming. You know how cyclists often ride closely behind each other to reduce wind resistance? Well, we runners can do the same! By following in the footsteps of the leader, each runner benefits from a little buffer against the headwind. It’s like having your own personal windbreaker, shielding you from the gusts that could slow you down.

But don’t just take my word for it; science has our back on this one too! Research has shown that when you draft three to four feet behind another runner, you can eliminate up to a whopping 80 percent of the resistance created by the headwind. Talk about teamwork at its finest!

And if that’s not enough to convince you, let me throw in another fun fact: an experiment conducted by the esteemed L.G Pugh found that drafting off another runner can lead to a 6 percent decrease in oxygen consumption. That means you save precious energy and oxygen, giving you the boost you need to power through your run.

So, next time you hit the road with your running crew, consider taking turns being the wind warrior at the front. Not only will it make the run more fun and engaging, but it will also make you all more efficient and effective against the wind’s mighty force.

  1. Clothing

Picture this: you step outside, ready to take on the wind head-on. But wait! Before you hit the pavement, let’s talk fashion – windproof fashion, that is. The key to success on windy days lies in your outfit choice. Just like a sleek superhero suit, the more aerodynamic your running gear, the less wind resistance you’ll face.

So, here’s rule number one: avoid those baggy shorts, loose shirts, and hooded tops. While they may be comfy on other days, they’ll be like little wind-catching sails, slowing you down and stealing your momentum. Instead, opt for technical, protective, and moisture-wicking outfits that will keep you warm and dry without the risk of overheating. It’s a win-win situation – you’ll be comfortable, and the wind won’t stand a chance!

Now, for the next tip: choose long sleeves or leggings to cover your body. Yes, I know it’s tempting to show off those toned arms and legs, but trust me, a thin layer of fabric can be your best ally against the temperature-stealing effects of the wind. Embrace the power of coverage and keep those muscles warm and firing on all cylinders.

And let’s not forget about protecting those precious ears! When the wind is howling, it can be quite the nuisance. So, be sure to wear a snug-fitting headband or a trusty hat to keep those ears cozy and focused on the task at hand – running like the wind, but not against it.

And for all you fabulous female runners out there, here’s a pro tip: keep your hair tied up. Not only will it make you feel like a speed demon, but it also minimizes any potential drag. Who knew your hairstyle could affect your running performance? It’s all about the details, my friends.

Now, with your wind-resistant outfit on point, you’re ready to face the wind head-on, like a warrior ready for battle. As you hit the road, don’t forget to feel the power of the wind at your back, pushing you forward with each stride.

So, next time the wind blows your way, remember these tips, gear up like a pro, and let the wind be your ally instead of your foe.

Happy running, and may the wind ever be in your favor!

Now lace up those shoes, embrace the elements, and hit the road with confidence. You’ve got this! And as always, any comments or suggestions are more than welcome – after all, we’re all in this windy run journey together. Cheers to your wind-beating adventures!

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