Nobody likes running in the wind.
It’s like running uphill with no clear end or even the promise of a comparable downhill.
It really sucks!
The precise impact of the wind on your running performance depends, of course, on what direction it’s coming from.
Having the wind at your back while running can make the miles fly by.
But in running, as in life, things don’t always blow your way.
And when the wind is not your ally, you’ve got to learn how to run with it.
Fortunately, there are many measures you can take when running in the wind to have a pleasant, safe, and successful workout.
Here are a few tips to help you brave the elements and get the most out of your runs on windy days.
Why Running In The Wind is So Damn Hard
It doesn’t take hurricane-force winds to mess with your runs.
Even soft breezes can cause drastic difference—and the more miles you log, the more it impacts your time, body temperature, and energy consumption.
So why is running in the wind so hard?
It’s actually quite simple.
When you’re running into the wind, you need to work extra hard to keep your forward momentum, which revs up your energy consumption.
The wind pushes back against you at speed faster than you’re moving forward, therefore hindering your forward propulsion and boosting the energy expenditure of running.
Even though you’re running at your normal pace, your effort will increase thanks to a strong headwind.
Don’t take my word for it.
Research has shown that running into the wind (headwinds) can have a drastic impact on running paces, and the longer you are out there, the greater the impact on your running economy and performance.
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
Here’s the thing: the wind will slow you down, and the quicker you realize and accept that the better off you’re going to be.
Instead of trying to maintain your usual pace, run by perceived effort.
Sure, this means running a few seconds per mile slower than usual, but you’ll be able to complete your run strong.
Try to fight the wind, and you’ll waste your energy.
Just fall back and ride the wind..
2. Finish with the Wind on Your back
On your way out, run into the wind, then finish with the wind behind your back.
By doing this, you’ll be facing the wind half the time, helping you finish your session feeling stronger instead of struggling over the last few miles.
It also gives your body a chance to take a break from the headwind.
You can also switch your run on hot days to take into account a cooling breeze.
3. Change your Technique
Running into the headwind forces you to adopt a slightly different running technique as it will force you to hunch over and tense your shoulders.
This can cause discomfort, aches, and pain—not to mention movement inefficiency.
Here’s how to keep your form when running in headwind:
- Try to stay relaxed. The more you tense up, the more energy you’re expanding into maintain speed. It’s like fighting over nothing.
- Lean slightly into the wind the same way you’d run up a hill to lower resistance and head down. Leaning into the wind can help deflect some of the resistance. This can help you deflect some of the resistance. Just make sure that your body whole is slightly leaning forward instead of simply leaning at the waist.
- Keep your shoulders loose and relaxed to prevent upper back and neck pain.
- Stay Aerodynamic. Keep your elbows by your sides, with the arms bent at a 90-degree angle. Moving your arms across your chest, which forces your body to sway side to side and boost wind drag.
4. Run With a Group
Lucky enough to belong to a running group?
Take turns being in the front so the other runners behind can get a little buffer from the wind.
This is what’s known as wind streaming, and it’s a common practice among cyclists.
Research suggests that drafting three to four feet behind another runner may eliminate up to 80 percent of the resistance created by the headwind.
Another experiment conducted by L.G Pugh found a 6 percent decrease in oxygen consumption when drafting off another runner.
Just remember to run two to three feet behind the other runners.
Another measure you can take to help on windy run days is to dress properly for the wind—the more aerodynamic the outfit, the less wind resistance.
As a rule, avoid baggy shorts, loose shirts, and hoods, and any other layers that may drag in the wind.
Instead, for technical, protective, wicking outfit to keep you warm, dry, comfortable without overheating.
Another win-win tip.
Choose long sleeves or leggings.
By covering your body, even with a thin layer, you’ll also negate some of the temperature-stealing effects.
You should also wear a headband or hat to cover your ears when running in windy, cold weather.
For female runners, keep your hair tied to minimize drag.
Here’s the full guide to cold weather running.
That’s some useful tips and tricks you can apply.
Now you are ready and set. Any comments or suggestions are welcome!