On Wednesday evening, I ran outside against a very strong wind for about an hour while I was waiting for my middle son to finish his sport. I always find it much more difficult to run in the wind than in any other type of weather.
It was an extremely uncomfortable, slow run. At times, the wind was so intense I could barely breathe. My eyes kept watering, my nose was running, and I could barely hold my head up.
Yet, I’m training for a marathon and I need to be prepared for all kinds of weather.
According to an article I read in a running magazine, running in the wind can have many benefits. The wind forces you to work harder and use more energy to move forward. So, your effort level will increase at your normal running pace with a strong headwind.
Here are some tips for running in the wind:
Run against the wind: Run at least once per week against the wind and learn to work with it. That is, deliberately head into the wind on your way out on your run and then turn around and use the wind to push you home. Think of it as weight resistance in the gym. When you adapt to the demands, increase your pace going out and push a little harder.
Run with the wind: Harness the power of the wind and use it to train for speed. Although the energy lost in running against a headwind doesn’t equally match the benefits of a tailwind, you will run slightly faster and can use it to focus on stride rate, stride length, and turnover. Head out on a point to point run with the wind entirely at your back.
Run like a cyclist: By leaning slightly into the wind, you can reduce the amount of drag and energy loss. Wear tighter fitting clothing like compression shorts and a snug singlet. Wind tunnel tests on runners have shown specific clothing materials, hair, and shoes can lower the wind resistance of a runner by .5% to 6% by improved aerodynamics. Every little bit counts.
Run like a champion: Run with a group or buddy and take turns drafting off one another. Figure out where the wind is coming from and find the pocket where the air resistance is the lowest. This is a great strategy for a long training run, and an even better one in a race.
As Kathy says, running in poor weather conditions will make you a stronger runner. It was these words that kept me going that Wednesday evening as I continued to push forward, into the wind.