Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Running in the Wind

Every spring, I turmoil with the issue of wind.  I have no problems running in 10 degree cold, but fierce winds will chase me to the treadmill every time.  Spring seems to be coming early this year.  The temps have soared (yesterday into the 70's!) and the winds have picked up.  Living near the airport, my favorite run routes become great big wind tunnels.

This year, I'm accepting the challenge.
No excuses.

I headed out yesterday afternoon for a quick 4 miles before Spinning class. Every flag stood at attention in the 25-30 mph winds.  I tried to make every excuse not to run.  I almost hit the treadmill inside, but it was 70 degrees outside.  How could I run inside?  So I tackled the wind head-on.  It turned into a simply great run!


• Dress appropriately.  Make sure your gear in optimized to run in wind.  Your apparel should be fairly fitted to prevent it from twisting in the wind. Wide headbands, like BondiBands, keep ears warm in cool winds while also securing flyaway hair away from your face. A good pair of sunglasses help protect your eyes from the wind.  My eyes tend to dry out quickly with contacts, so I wear my Ryders Hex glasses year-round to protect my eyes.

• Make it a fun run. Put expectations of a certain pace aside so you're not disappointed at the end.  If you have a tempo or intervals on the schedule, be flexible and change it up. The wind will be an added challenge in itself... think of it as a bonus strength workout!  Play around with your run - run head first into the wind for a 1/2 mile, then turn around and sprint back with the wind.  Repeat for a good interval workout.

• Plan your route.  Go for an out-and-back route or large loop. Your energy level is highest at the beginning, so run into the wind first. By conquering the toughest part of the run first, you'll be eager for the turnaround.  Yesterday, I felt completely winded when I hit the 2 mile mark.  Once I made the turnaround, my legs just took off on me. The wind was pushing against my back and I couldn't seem to run fast enough.  It was a really fun way to end a run!

• Find barriers.  Windy days are a good time to hit wooded trails.  Dense trees offer a nice barrier to wind gusts.  If you can't get out of town, try older neighborhoods with grown-up trees.  The houses are typically closer together, offering more protection from wind.  Completely out of the box... run on the sidewalk of a busy street on the side with the traffic.  As you run into the wind, the cars coming from your backside will offer a little counter-wind, especially those big semis!

Do you have any other windy tips to add?
If you had to pick, would you rather have FIERCE WIND or HILLS?

• • •

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  1. I hate the wind, which is why spring is my least favorite running season! I would pick hills over fierce wind for sure. I totally agree with trail running. I've been doing a lot of that and it is so much more protected.

  2. I'd take hills any day over the wind. I was out running yesterday too, 4 miles in the afternoon. Einstein here planned my route to loop out into the country....wide open space. But I welcomed the challenge and with that mind set I suceeded! It was actually almost comical at some points when it blew so hard....I just laughed and kept on pushing through.

  3. Do you take the kids in the stroller? I can deal with wind (well sorta of!) but with a stroller it becomes to much for me I think. This weather is insane for us but the wind is a bitch. LOL.

  4. Thanks for the tips! Its nice and windy here (KY) for my afternoon run today:)

  5. HaHaHa! This is my LIFE, running into the wind. I live in the middle of nowhere. We don't have trees or many houses, just open fields. Aby and I went for a run yesterday and I was concerned she would get blown away. I was going to say we had to have 40+ mph winds but i never did check. Yep, run into the wind first so you can FLY home, wear something that fits tight (made that mistake yestertday and had to tuck in my shirt), and the glasses are key to keep out the flying debis. I even wore glasses in Miami Beach for that reason. Great post!

  6. I ran a windy 8k last Saturday--30-40 mph winds with even higher gusts. At times I felt like I was running sideways :) It was a great workout for my upper body; my arms were sore the next day! More than anything, I think the race showed me I can race in the wind, and my finishing time didn't suffer as much as I thought it would.

  7. Leave the stroller at home:) Luckily I already ran on the tm early this am - even walking with a double stroller in the wind today (Chicago area) was difficult:)

  8. Eww, do I have to choose. I think I would pick hills.

  9. Just moving to the Chicago-land area, I am also struggling with the wind!!!! It nearly knocks my breath out of my chest. (Can we choose, well, something else? LOL!!)
    Thanks for the tips!

  10. I had a good run in the wind yesterday too (I also live in Peoria). I just thought of it as Mother Nature's resistance :) I couldn't not run outside when it was sunny and warm for the first time in months!

  11. Great tips! I like the idea of intervals. Ultimately I would pick hills over wind.

  12. and now I want (need? :)) a post about RUNNING LIKE THE WIND!


I appreciate your feedback and comments!