Wind As Your Training Tool

One thing that is never in doubt when we visit Florida, Chicago, or NYC, is the crazy winds.  During Rock’s first visit to Florida, I took him on a run that was so windy, our ears actually ached afterwards.

I will admit that I am not usually a huge fan of the wind.  As a girl with curly hair,  it makes me look like a hot mess.  As a runner, it really kills my pace and sometimes even my enjoyment!


How I want to think I look.


How I really look!


The key to running in the wind is to learn to make it work for you, or find a way to work around it.

I once read that during any run, you need to know that your pace will slow when you run into the wind.  While your pace will speed up once you have your back to the wind, you will never be able to make up any lost time from when your pace slowed.  Lesson to be learned, is that you just need to be patient and work with what you’ve got.

Here are a few pointers to make running with the wind work for you:


Use resistance training to work on form.  One thing I noticed on a particularly breezy day was that you really need to focus on the drive of your knees.  Efficient form makes running into the wind a lot less frustrating.  Take the time to use this resistance as a lesson in working on driving your legs forward more efficiently.  Powerful strides using both the knees and glutes will make your running much stronger.

Keep your shoulders and hands relaxed.  A slight lean is fine but never hunch over.  While you want to look ahead, it can be useful on hills and with wind to look forward and down little in front of you to push through.

Choose the least annoying route.  Mentally, it is much easier to running with the wind for the second half of a run.  If you have the chance to alter a route, take a look at the weather before you head out.  Aim to run into the wind for your first half and then head home with the wind at your back.  Knowing that the second half of your run will be easier will make everything a little bit more bearable.

Planning ahead is always helpful.  It can be very frustrating to not realize you are running with the wind, only to turn around and get smacked in the face!

Arrange for a drop off.  I’m not going to lie.  On a particularly windy day, there is no shame in having someone drive you a few miles out and then run the entire route with the wind at your back.

In fact, I had the most wonderful 10 mile run on the beach in Florida with 15-20 mile gusts.  My GPS said that this pregnant runner was knocking out times similar to when I was in marathon shape.  I knew that the wind was giving me a giant cheat, but it was still a nice mental boost.

Turn up the tunes or find another way to ignore its existence.  Sometimes you have no choice but to just deal with the wind.  We can complain all we want, but if you want to get a workout in, you might just have to deal with it.  Turn up the tunes, tuck your chin, and just power through.   You will be so glad you did once it is over!  And you will also likely be so glad it is over too!

How do you like to deal with windy runs?

12 thoughts on “Wind As Your Training Tool

  1. Living along the coast all my runs are head and tail winds! I’ll definitely put the knee drive technique to use – thank you!
    I’d also like to point out cycling into the wind is harder than running into the wind!

    • Oh yes, and so is cycling up hills. Sometimes when I am whining about running up a hill, I look over and see someone absolutely struggling to get up and I realize I am definitely not alone!

  2. Last spring I swear it was always ~15 mph wind on the days of my speed work. I would alternating which direction I ran so that half had a tail wind and half had a head wind. Running into a head wind sucks, but I always repeated to myself that I can’t control the weather and it might be windy on race day.

  3. Because of where we are located – valley with loads of hills surrounding it – we get much less snow than the surrounding areas … but constant winds. It is never less than ~5MPH, and days like today where the base winds are ~20MPH are rather common.

    Personally I love wind ~75% of the time and hate it 25%. The difference? Temperature! When it is cold, the winds rip through me, and send me between cold and hot, which is just no fun. Today was 50F when I ran, so wind and light rain made my hands a bit cold, but I could just pull them inside my sleeves.

    But I have to laugh when I round a corner and the wind is in my face, so strong it feels like you can’t move … :). It is yet another challenge.

    • You have a much better attitude about this than I do. I suppose you have to if you know it will almost always be there. Not that it helps any, but I have definitely shouted at the wind on occasion!

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