Whether it’s during a race or a training run, sometimes you have no choice but to run in windy conditions. Here are some tips for running in the wind:
Choose your direction strategically.
If you’re doing a training run, not a race, be strategic in your direction choice. If it’s a very cold day, run into the wind first so you’re not freezing on the way back. On a hot day, do the opposite, so you’ll get a cooling breeze during the second half.
If the weather is neutral, run against the wind first, when you’re feeling fresher. Then you’ll have a tailwind on the way back when you’re feeling fatigued.
Use the group.
If you’re in a crowded race or you’re training with your running group, try to stay in a pack as much as possible. Drafting like this can help decrease the effects of a sidewind or headwind. Just make sure you’re being a considerate runner and taking a turn in the front, so one or a few people aren’t doing all the work.
Don’t stress about slowing down.
Your pace is going to slow down during a race. Don’t waste precious energy fighting the wind and trying to maintain your goal pace. Take a walk break if you need it. If you’re doing a training run, remind yourself that you’re still getting the same benefits of your workout.
If it’s a race and you’re struggling in the wind, keep in mind that everyone is dealing with the same conditions, so they’re all slowing down, too. Just be patient and wait until the wind stops or you change direction on the course.
Some runners tense up when running into the wind and lift their shoulder up toward their ears. Running with that kind of improper running form will waste energy and could lead to pain and discomfort later in the run. Shake out your arms every mile or so to try to stay relaxed as possible.
In warm weather, the wind can help evaporate the sweat, so you may feel comfortable. However, if you’re running in cold, windy weather, make sure you’re prepared for changing conditions by dressing in thin layers. You could always take off a light jacket if you warm up, and put it back on if the wind picks up again.
Protect your exposed skin, especially your face, with Vaseline and lip balm. If it’s sunny, make sure you’re using sunscreen. Sometimes the cooling effect of the wind makes people forget that they can still get a sunburn.
Protect your eyes.
The wind blowing into your face for miles is going to leave your eyes dry and irritated, especially if you wear contacts. It’s worth it to invest in a good pair of running sunglasses. Some come with interchangeable lenses so you can wear them when it’s not that sunny, but you still need protection from the wind.
You may not realize how much you’re sweating because the wind is evaporating it off your skin. Make sure you’re drinking when you’re thirsty.