10 Running Tips On A Windy Day

Even though windy conditions are not a favourite of runners, if you approach them the right way, you can reap a variety of advantages. Running in the wind can be utilized to not only make your strength and endurance better but to also take advantage of it as an unconventional training method.

Running into the wind may impede your ability to achieve a record time that day, however, it has its own advantages, especially when utilized to structure your exercise.

No matter if you reside in an area that gets a lot of wind or not, these are five things that all runners should understand when it comes to running in breezy conditions.

How Much Will The Wind Affect My Run

A lot of the existing studies in sports science have their attention on how the breeze impacts sprinters instead of long-distance runners. There have been some invaluable studies done in the 1970s and 1980s which are beneficial in providing long-distance runners with a better understanding of how the wind can affect their performance.

Two studies have been outlined by Runners Connect that provide insight into how wind can have an impact on those who participate in long-distance running.

The initial research, which was printed in 1971, was conducted by L.G. from London. Pugh set up a treadmill inside an airflow laboratory to evaluate a runner’s oxygen usage when running at different speeds and with different winds.

Pugh determined that oxygen use, and hence, the energy needed, will rise with the square of the air current flowing over the body. Basically, this means running with the wind is simpler, however, a stronger breeze will be much more difficult to manage.

Headwinds vs. Tailwinds

The second study, published in 1980 by C.T.M. Davies’ treadmill arrangement resembles that of Pugh’s as he looks into the impacts of headwinds and tailwinds on three different runners. Davies came to the same conclusion as Pugh concerning how running in the wind increases the amount of oxygen used and subsequently reduces performance.

He also discovered that running with the wind behind you can significantly improve your speed (You would have noticed this as well if you tried it!). However, this will not be enough to counterbalance the harm caused by reversing the direction and running with the wind in one’s face.

Runners Connect states that having a wind that is comparable to your running speed can slow down your mile time by up to 12 seconds in the case of a headwind, and can help you shave off 6 seconds per mile with a tailwind.

In other terms, the influence a headwind has is approximately twice as bad as the influence a tailwind of the same strength has. What effect do headwinds have on a run?

Here’s a guide to give you a more specific idea:

  • 5mph winds – add 0-15 seconds per mile
  • 10mph winds – add 20-30 seconds per mile
  • 15mph winds – add 30-45 seconds per mile
  • 20mph winds – add 50-60+ seconds per mile

If you would like to be a better runner, you should understand how different winds and wind speeds impact your running.

1. Make smart clothing choices

The way you dress can affect your ability to go running in windy weather. In breezy conditions, it’s best to wear snug-fitting clothing as the dangling fabric can slow you down and require extra energy output.

The key objective for running is to complete a specified distance in the quickest time possible, so it is vital to reduce any form of resistance.

It has been found through studying garment aerodynamics that wearing a snug-fitting suit can reduce the amount of air resistance that your body experiences. Putting on baggy clothes can amplify your resistance by as much as 40%, thus your vigour output is much stronger and you could become exhausted faster.

The review also states that textiles make a difference. Things to take into account include nylon and materials like Gore-Tex.

Wind protection, waterproofness, and breathability are all features of these items. These materials can help prevent you from becoming wet and help you to stay at a comfortable temperature.

2. Use the wind as a training tool

If you are completing a course that requires you to return to your starting point, it might be a good idea to run with the wind at your back when you are feeling more energized.

Whenever you face an obstacle, it can make you more resilient, particularly if you modify yourself to the situation, exert a bit more energy, or attempt to quicken your speed despite the obstacle.

If you start off by running with the wind, you will have more energy to put into the activity and be able to handle the challenge from the wind.

If you inhabit an environment where there are often gusts of wind, and the windy weather is a regular occurrence, you can diversify your activities. Alternatively, instead of always running against the wind when you go out for your daily exercise, begin by running with the wind blowing at your back.

Jogging into the breeze while making your return journey is an excellent way to exercise when your limbs are tired.

This experience can enable you to start managing the requirements your body goes through toward the finish of a race and is an incredible race-preparing technique. After your run, you can replicate the feeling of the last hard strides of a race by running against the wind.

Utilizing running against the wind during the conclusion of your exercise could assist you with training your pace in the initial miles.

You also can use tailwinds to help you train. Take advantage of running with the wind in your favour to practice your stride rate, stride length, and turnover.

Researchers conducted a study to learn about the influence of climate conditions on runners’ results in the Boston Marathon from 1972 to 2018. It was determined that people who run, from experienced athletes to absolute beginners, all benefit from favourable wind conditions (i.e. a tailwind).

3. Focus on something else

One can easily become disheartened when running in the wind, especially if one is aiming to keep a specific pace or finish a specific workout within a certain amount of time. You can get rid of your dispiritedness by honing other abilities that you will require for your contest.

For instance, try running tempo workouts in the wind. Push yourself for 5 minutes facing head-on into the wind and then reward yourself with 5 minutes of sailing with the wind in your favour, not looking at your speedometer. If you work out with someone else or in a group, you can also practice drafting.

It could be possible to save energy by having another runner in front of you, though the exact degree of decrease is not yet established.

A research project determined that you could save 80% of the energy it takes to run in windy conditions by running 1 meter behind another runner. However, another study revealed that only 2-4% of your energy output is reduced when you are shielded from the wind.

No matter how much one can reduce speed, developing the ability to arrange an alternative racer is an essential talent to acquire before competing on days when the atmosphere may not be ideal.

It also can lead to improved race times. Research has determined that with the utilization of drafting in the 2019 Berlin marathon, Kenyan runner Kenenisa Bekele attained the second-greatest marathon time in history.

Even if you don’t have the intention to trim your duration or lessen the amount of work you have to put in, it is still advantageous to have someone to run with you and share the difficulty of running in windy conditions.

The Bekele research team observed that one more positive aspect of drafting is that it gives you the ability to forget your worries and merely go along.

4. Embrace the positive

Jogging in the wind may appear strenuous at the outset, but it can be extremely useful for your workout program. You need to change the way you think about the experience so that you can benefit from it.

For example, the wind can be a beneficial force to help push against when running by yourself. Consider the wind to be an aid rather than a hindrance. Instead, it is just hidden speed work.

Running against a headwind at your usual speed means you will have to work harder and expend more energy to progress.

By engaging in resistance running, you can increase your stamina, strength, and approach. Some individuals take advantage of parachutes or pull sledges loaded with weights to gain the same resistance that wind would regularly provide them with.

Jogging with the wind can also give you an advantage in mind, conditioning you for competing in difficult weather conditions.

It can be difficult to jog in strong gusts; however, if you stay calm and accept the challenge, it may enhance your mental fortitude for competitions that have challenging conditions.

Research has suggested that exercising in poor weather may have beneficial effects on mental health, particularly when it comes to seasonal affective disorder.

5. Draft behind another runner

It’s impossible to outrun the wind when running solo. Going for a jog in a group is beneficial for runners on windy days due to the draft each individual can obtain from the other.

This method is usually performed by cyclists, known as ‘slipstreaming’. During a group of runners, one person will lead the rest and the others can then take advantage of the wind resistance by running behind them. This approach saves energy and is the only known method for protecting against strong winds from different directions.

A study conducted by Davies supports Knighton’s assertion that running with a group is the most efficient approach to handling headwinds and crosswinds.

Davies discovered that running behind another athlete at a distance of one meter could reduce drag from wind by 80 per cent. He asserts that if you run a mile alongside someone else, it will take you four seconds less than running the same distance alone.

6. Run against the wind on the way out

Running in the wind is looked at as a cardinal principle by countless runners. Running into the wind on the way out helps runners in two important ways:

  1. It forces you to work harder during the first half of your run, keeping you from getting burnt out on the way back.
  1. It can keep you from getting too cold. Running against the wind when you’re already sweaty from the first half of your run could create an energy-wasting shiver effect (not to mention discomfort!).

7. It’s about effort, not pace

Even something as slight as a gentle headwind or crosswind can wear you out quickly and cause your pace to slow down considerably. Regardless of the situation, unless you work harder, you won’t be able to maintain your speed when running in windy circumstances.

Knighton explains that your running rate is influenced by factors from the exterior environment and not by the levels of your efforts or physical conditioning.

Rather than straining to reach your goal time, concentrate on how much energy you’re putting into your performance. Completing this will enable you to end your run with intensity.

8. Maintain proper form

Moving swiftly through the air can be detrimental to your running style if you’re not being cautious. Most long-distance runners tend to hunch their backs and lean into the wind when running in gusty conditions.

Doing that could negatively harm your form for good. The situation is even worse with the strain of hunching over, which utilizes more energy, tires muscles out quicker, and has the potential to give you an awful attitude.

It is important to resist the temptation to bend your back when running against the wind. Instead, focus on good running form:

  • Focus on proper breathing technique through a strong headwind
  • Rolling your shoulders down and back, standing tall, and releasing built-up tension
  • Leaving your jaw and hands unclenched
  • Keeping a smooth and relaxed stride.

Giving attention to these elements will aid in keeping you relaxed and ensure your technique is accurate. If you’re having difficulty, try angling your head away from the wind. It can help improve your breathing.

9. Stay positive

Having a good attitude can be the key to success in all areas of life.

Running against the wind may present a few difficulties, yet it is still achievable. In the end, it all comes down to the power of the mind over physical reality.

Will you finish your run regardless of wind conditions? Will you let difficult circumstances prevent you from progressing or cause you to abandon the task too soon?

Don’t be scared to modify your plans if you encounter windy weather on competition day.

Running against the wind will affect all participants, not only you. It is more beneficial to maintain an even speed for the entirety of the competition than to expend all of your energy too quickly by trying too hard.

10. Stay safe

It is essential to be cognizant of safety when running in challenging conditions, therefore it is advisable to take precautions before setting off on a jog. It is generally alright to exercise in windy conditions, but it is wise to check the weather forecast before undertaking an extensive workout.

If there is a wind advisory that day with high winds or other dangerous weather, it could be a good idea to stay inside and do a cardio workout like swimming or a cycling class instead of heading outside for a run. Windy days provide the perfect occasion to engage in strength training.

The National Weather Service has warned that during times of strong wind, tree branches could snap, street signs may become unstable, and items on balconies might be blown off. You could wind up with dust in your eyes or find yourself in a place too distant to make it back with no strength left.

Be very aware of electric cables that have fallen onto the ground. If you encounter an electrical power line that is on the ground while running, do not make contact with it or anything next to it like vehicles and tree limbs.

Puddles and surfaces that are moist or covered with snow can act as conductors of electricity under certain conditions.

Before executing a running workout when there is wind, investigate the conditions and decide your course as well as your exercise plan.

You want to go running, but you don’t want to take the risk of hurting yourself. Be wise in selecting your exercise and recognize that days with strong winds can be a chance to switch activities up.


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