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Running in windy conditions

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Running in the wind can be a real battle: it feels like you don't have time to catch your breath, whatever direction you take. Yet, you need to get used to it, particularly if you live in a windy region. Check out our advice.

 

Why is it difficult to run in the wind?

When you run, you have to fight against the Earth's gravity to propel yourself forwards. This is what uses up most of your energy. Air resistance, on the other hand, is almost negligible when compared with racing speeds. This is good news because a runner is not very aerodynamic. There is a big surface area facing forwards, which means that the body does not travel through the air very well.

However, things get more complicated in windy conditions. Naturally, the worst situation is when you are heading straight into the wind, side winds are not much better: they can unbalance you particularly when there are gusts. It only gets better when the wind comes from behind, but the benefits do not outweigh the disadvantages of heading into the wind.

Consequently, running in windy conditions will be detrimental to your running speed. If you run a 10 km circuit when it is windy, you will run more slowly than on a calm day. You will have to put up with running more slowly and trust in how you feel. If you run using a heart rate monitor, adjusting your pace is easier because your heart rate will give you an idea of your level of effort that is independent of your running speed.

 

How to dress when running in the wind

You are probably aware of the chill effect that occurs in windy conditions. It is known as "wind chill" and is minimised by dressing up warmly. It is better to add a few layers than to wear a single garment, regardless of how warm it is. Several layers of clothing help to trap the air, which is an excellent thermal insulator. The Kalenji garments work using the 4-layer principle: one base layer, one breathable T-shirt, one insulating garment and one wind jacket. Check out the details about the garments that make up these 4 layers and their benefits.

 

How to run in the wind

Your running technique must take into account windy conditions. Shortening your stride and increasing your pace will improve your balance, which is often disrupted in windy conditions. If your centre of gravity is lower, you will be less exposed.

If you run in a group, it will obviously be wise to run at the back of the group or behind a tall person. Be sure to do this sparingly as it is never pleasant to sense that someone is using you to cut through the wind. Competition and fair-play are not incompatible.

In trail running, particular in the mountains, the wind is often part of the challenge.allow yourself enough space when going through challenging sections to recover your balance should you swerve as a result of a gust.

 

Tailor your route to the wind

In training, don't hesitate to plan your route and your running session according to the speed and direction of the wind. If it is very windy, preferably choose more sheltered locations such as forests or hedge-lined paths. Always try to finish your run with the wind behind you. It's easier to handle from the psychological and physical point of view.

Conversely, you can also use the wind to spice up your runs:Interval training in a strong wind requires a similar level of effort to a series of uphill and downhill sections. Another option: finishing a long run heading into the wind helps to test your ability to withstand a challenging race finish.

Finally, don't take any unnecessary risks. If it is too windy, taking refuge in the gym and running on a treadmill can be the right option. Making sure that you enjoy yourself is an important factor if you want to stay motivated.

 

Equipment, technique, route: you now have all the keys to be a runner at the cutting edge!

What about your own experiences of running in windy weather?

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