Tips for running in wind

Running in wind

Many a PB has been lost to the wind during a coastal race. Having recently competed in a few coastal runs I thought I’d share a few tips on what I’ve learned about running in wind.

Stay strong

A key element when you hit a fierce wind on a training run or on race day is to keep your running form strong. As I experienced at last week’s Bognor 10k Prom, it can be hard when you’re being buffeted by a hefty wind coming off the sea and directly at you. The tendency can be to get down and for your performance (and times) to tail off. Don’t let this happen. Concentrate on your form, driving through the conditions with a strong core.

Maintain focus

It’s easy to lose focus and start looking around at how other runners are attempting to combat the challenge of running in wind but it’s important to look after number one. This not only saves you energy, it will again help you maintain the correct running form as you battle through.

Anticipate running in wind

Generally if you run anywhere in the UK, you should expect to have the occasional stiff breeze keeping you company. Use this to your advantage by adopting a positive approach, particularly when the force is strong (to coin a Star Wars phrase…) Useful advice for a race day on the coast would be to study the course map and work out where the most open, wind-affected parts of the route could be and how long they could go on for. This saves on the shock factor wiping you out when you actually arrive at that point on the course and wonder when the hell it’s going to end!

Wear a hat

I usually wear a baseball cap to keep the sun off but it’s handy when running in wind too. I’ve been on jogs previously without a hat and although it can be cooling at times, when a strong wind hits you square on I tend to feel it more and overall form is affected by the buffeting.

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Pump those arms

A lot of runners forget they have arms to help them around and through windy stretches. This is an area I’m trying to improve currently and the skill of using your arms as pistons to propel you on is a good challenge. There is an excellent video I found recently on running arm swing. View it here.

If the legs are burning and the lactic acid is building, then distract yourself by thinking about what you’re doing with your arms. Add this to a strong, upright core and you’ll hopefully find the breeze, well, a breeze…

Grit your teeth

This is a fun one, although it perhaps won’t feel it at the time. Running through wind is likely way more fun for the photographers at your race as they can capture all manner of grimaces, gurns and sheer sweaty anguished looks on your face. Once you’ve finished all the hard work of the run you can skim through photos taken on the day to see if any of your weird expressions were captured!

Save some energy

As mentioned earlier if you’ve checked out the course map, depending on where the most open parts of the route are, you may need to save some gas. If like at Bognor there was still some way to go once runners had come through the challenging windy promenade then you’ll want to have a little bit more in the legs to see you over the line. Naturally your times would have dropped off a touch if the wind was right in your face, but these can often be recovered by regrouping ready for a strong finish to the race.

Photo credit: VinothChandar Against the wind | Chennai Marina Beach via photopin (license)

2 Responses

  1. Lisa Orchard says:

    I used to run X country when I was younger and I always used to lean into the wind a little bit. It seemed to help me struggle through. 🙂

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