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18 March 2011

The Wind At My Back

Going out for my run was great – I love heading outside in the sunshine and fresh air to get my run in. This run was no different – although I had a goal in mind – 8k of my 16k run was supposed to be at goal marathon pace. Unfortunately for me, a poorly-planned […]

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Going out for my run was great – I love heading outside in the sunshine and fresh air to get my run in. This run was no different – although I had a goal in mind – 8k of my 16k run was supposed to be at goal marathon pace. Unfortunately for me, a poorly-planned route didn’t allow me to post the time that I wanted (although the effort was definitely there).

The lead-in to the tempo portion of the run went quite well, but just as I was about to begin my 8k and pick up my tempo I turned the corner and found myself pushing hard into a strong headwind. If you’ve ever seen Mary Poppins – you know, her arrival – then you know what kind of wind I’m talking about. Unfortunately for the next five kilometers I was going down a street out in the country that can only be described as a wind tunnel. That was some poor planning.

Thinking back on it, had I just run the opposite way on the same route I would have had the wind at my back instead of in my face for that big open road portion. I still would have had to battle the wind in spots, but not during the crucial part of my run. It also would have been in more sheltered surroundings while running the suburbs rather than in the country.

Make the wind work for you

When you’ve got to do your run in windy conditions, it’s important to know your route and your goals. This will allow you to make good decisions about where to run and how you’ll get the most out of your run. Here are a few suggestions to make the wind work for you:

  • Tend to start out slow off the start? Push yourself to work harder at the beginning by heading into the wind. This will force you to put more effort into your start, helping you start faster when the wind isn’t there.
  • Going long? You may want to have the wind at your back at the end of your run to give you a pick-me-up. The run will be more difficult at the beginning, but the reprieve of having the wind at your back on your return will likely give you a negative split and boost your confidence for those longer distances.
  • Trying to pick up the pace? If you’ve got a portion of the run you’re trying to do at a quicker tempo, make sure you plan where you’ll be doing it on your route, and figure out where the wind’s coming from. You’ll avoid my mistake and feel better about the time you post for your tempo portion.
  • Change up your route. If it’s windy out and you just want to avoid the wind, hit up the Gmaps Pedometer and alter your route to stay sheltered on the streets, avoiding long strait-aways and headwinds.

Happy running!

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