August 1


Running in strong wind

By Conor Graham

August 1, 2021

Strong winds can make running much tougher when you’re hoping to acheive a target speed.

The down wind sections feel great but if you get carried away then you can find yourself really struggling as you run back into the wind.

Running downwind may feel easy in regards to your lungs but the stress placed on your running muscles increases much the same as running fast on a quiet day.

You may not have to propel yourself but catching your body hundreds of times at a faster speed than your body is used to will lead to more micro-tears in your muscle fibres and that “lead leg” feeling which will make running into the wind much harder.

Pacing Yourself When Running with the Wind
If you have a target speed for your run or interval reps then it’s in your best interest to stick to them regardless of wind speed.

Run tall and allow the wind to take care of your propulsion but keep an eye on your speed and put in even less effort to slow down if your speed creeps up.

Technique for Running Strong into a Head Wind
If you’ve let the tailwind do most of your propulsive work but kept the speed to plan then you’re going to feel pretty Strong each time you turn into a headwind. 

Run tall and lean forward slightly to ensure your body isn’t blown backwards. Drive your knees into the wind more powerfully than you usually would, almost like you’re breaking your way through the wall of wind with your knees.

Driving your elbows backwards will help your legs stride more powerfully but make sure they’re tracking parallel to set the right forces through your legs.

Pacing Yourself While Running into a Head Wind
Using your knees and elbows powerfully will enable you to hit your target speed but can quickly leave you running faster than planned and lifting the intensity higher than you’re capable of sustaining. 

Check your speed regularly and fine-tune it by varying the power you put into leg and arm drive. 
Adjusting Expectations
Running in strong wind is similar to running around hills. If your planned speeds are based on you running a flat course with minimal hills or wind then you should adjust your targets based on the impact you expect the wind to have. 

You’ll learn how much wind affects your speed if you check the lap speeds after each run but the effects will typically range from a 0.2-6kph decrease in speed. 


It’s one thing to learn from the guidance from this article but in order to really capitalise on the impact wind had on you and your competitors you need to take on the challenge in training.
Look at running in strong winds as an opportunity to learn and improve your running.

Conor Graham

About the author

Conor is the Head Coach and Founder of Cheltenham Running and Walking Club.

His experience as a Strength & Conditioning Coach, Triathlete and Personal Trainer ensure members are educated on best practice in regards to training progression while also nurtured through the early stages of fitness development.

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