If you are anything like me, you always check the weather before you head out the door. Sometimes this might mean that you just throw your shoes on and hit the pavement, other times, you might first Google, “How to run in the _________?” to be prepared before you leave the comfort of your home.
The most constant weather event in our part of the world is wind. This is kind of a tough weather situation for runners because, while I know what 35 degrees feels like, I struggle to remember what 20 mile per hour winds feel like. Regardless, being a fair weather runner doesn’t work out for me so sometimes, I have to tough it out.
I tested these strategies on my very windy run this morning:
- Come prepared–This is a personal issue. Somethings bother me more than others in the wind. On really cold days, I make sure my ears are covered. This serves to keep my ears warm and keep my headphones in. I know other people can’t handle cold fingers so maybe you need to make sure you have your gloves along. Other people can’t stand all that wind pelting their eyes so sunglasses might be on your list. Think about which part of you may be uncomfortable in the wind and do what you can to find some level of comfort.
- Rearrange your route–This is important in many ways. One a windy day, you don’t want to be on a trail with loose, fine dirt. That just sounds miserable. You also probably don’t want to be in the middle of no where without any protection. Rearrange your route to ensure that you have some protection and won’t be battling dust. More over, if you can, arrange your route so that you run with the wind for the first portion of your run, into the wind during the middle portion, and with the wind again at the end of your run. You are more likely to cut your run short if you start out running to the wind. Throw running into the wind mid run and you’ll have to make it through to get back home.
- Focus on something else–Crank up the tunes, repeat your go to mantra, watch the clouds, do anything but think about how terrible the wind is..that will only serve to make it worse. Beyond that, today is not the day to keep your eyes on your watch, your pace is likely to suffer today. It’s ok though, what you are doing is not easy and you have to give yourself a little credit for that!
- Take on a new strategy–This is a time to be flexible. I have a few strategies that I use when I am running right into the wind. I tend to lose my breath pretty easily in strong winds which is overwhelming. I will use either a time strategy in which I run 30 seconds, walk and catch my breath for 10 seconds. When I don’t have a watch along, I will run a block and a half then catch my breath for half a block. I also, depending on my running route, will run a block into the wind then a block with the wind. This doesn’t work so great if you are on the east side of town and the wind is from the north wet but it is a great strategy to allow you to recover your breath after those windy sections.
- Be realistic–This run probably isn’t going to be the most fun but do what you can to stick it out. I planned 7 miles today and only got 5 in. Once I felt like I was getting a full body, microderm abrasion treatment, I realized I should call it a day. Are those 2 miles I missed going to kick me in the long run, probably not! Do what you can but be sure to recognize when you should just give in.
Sure, windy runs aren’t always the most fun. They do a lot to provide mental and physical toughness and really help me to appreciate those fair weather running days.
A very wind blown Christa after today’s run.
What weather do you hate to contend with the most on your runs?