Hatred within the wind? Attempt these 6 suggestions

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My alarm clock is set, my clothes and equipment are set up, I'm going to bed early … everything is ready for a great workout tomorrow morning. For a change, I even sleep well – no nightly children's drama or the neighbour's security alarm is triggered. I wake up on time and jump into action … and then I hear it.

The wind is howling. In a second, all of my inner motivation turns into excuses. It's getting cold … and slowly … I always feel so much more tired afterwards … I can run in the afternoon … that way I can go to another part of town where it's more sheltered … mmm that means I can return to sleep now!

Is it just me, or is running in windy weather a motivational killer for some of you too? I checked an hourly wind forecast for a while as I was planning my workout to avoid the worst. But recently I changed tactics. Now I am looking at the purpose of my daily training and accepting the challenge of figuring out how the wind can help me achieve this goal.

Here are 6 ideas to turn the wind from an energy-saving nemesis into a valuable training partner:

1. Free resistance training

Do you want to build strength? Speed? Power? Would you like to do it safely with less impact on your body? Run into the wind. You benefit from your cardiovascular system by working at a higher intensity and at the same time protecting your legs.

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This works even better if you can use a heart rate monitor to measure your intensity, as your pace is different from comparable interval or pace workouts with no wind resistance.

2. Additional rest

Is today your easy day Run with the wind behind you. You can keep your heart rate low while moving your legs quickly and using good form.

Alternatively, you can run into the wind for a recovery workout with slightly different muscle groups. Bonus points when you combine it with hills.

3. Alternate headwind and tailwind

You can do some great interval workout that quickly blows into the wind and turns away from the wind for your recovery intervals. It almost mimics mountain workout for those of us who live in flat areas.

4. Zig-zag

This is my current favorite. Instead of my usual round-trip route along the main road, which would require a long stretch upwind to begin with, I walk all the short blocks in the neighborhood – the streets that branch off the main road and are perpendicular to the wind. On these streets back and forth, the houses block part of the cross wind.

run in the windBoris Behncke, Flickr

I use these cross streets as breaks to drive upwind on the main road and eventually turn around and enjoy the tail wind home. Changing the way you run in relation to the wind is a great way to deal with this and can also give you a Fartlek-type workout by varying the resistance every few minutes.

5. Race preparation in the worst case

I'm training for the marathon in Cape Town. Cape Town is windy so I have to deal with it all the time in training! This is essential preparation. If I avoid the wind in practice, I could really have problems on race day. On the other hand, when I train in strong winds and then I'm lucky with a quiet day of racing, I feel like I'm flying!

It's a great opportunity to practice for what's coming and stand on my side, making it harder for me in training rather than avoiding the challenge.

6. Remember the goal

Even using these strategies, sometimes I still feel discouraged when reviewing my steps after a windy run. Then it's time for mental work. What am I really trying to do here? Beat my last training time? No, today is not the goal, the race is the goal. As long as I'm in training, the effort I make is far more important than the result I get. And running against the wind takes a lot of effort!

Do you ever get discouraged by windy weather and struggle to finish your training runs? Don't let that stop you! Try one of these strategies or come up with your own and just get out there, you won't regret it!

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