Running in the Wind: 11 Tips for a Windy Day Run

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could lace up those running shoes, head out the door, and enjoy a perfect run in perfect weather everyday?  Those balmy, sunny days where it is just warm enough, but not too hot, where the breeze is just a gentle whisper?  Unfortunately, as most runners know, you can’t predict the weather, and facing environmental challenges is one of the biggest hurdles in maintaining a runner’s routine. It definitely is for me, in central Texas where the wind gusts are notorious and I find myself running in windy weather many days. Most days I can’t decide what irks me more, running in the wind or running uphill!   It is easy to let weather challenges be one of the millions of excuses trying to convince us not to run, but there is no reason that wind has to stop you from having a successful run outside!  The fact is, wind is something that is not going away anytime soon, so a more proactive approach is to follow this guide and learn how to embrace running in the wind!


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Guide to Running in the Wind


This guide explains why running in windy weather is so difficult, and the 11 TIPS to make it easier!


  • Adjust What You Wear
  • Draft Behind Others
  • Defend Against the Elements
  • Start Your Run Against the Wind
  • Accept a Slower Pace
  • Look for the Silver Lining
  • Watch Your Form
  • Turn Your Head
  • Assess the Weather
  • Adjust Your Course
  • Hydrate


How to go running in the wind
Learn how to confidently face running in windy weather!


Why is Running in the Wind So Difficult?


Simply put, because running in windy weather takes more energy!  Why do planes take longer to reach their destination when flying into a headwind?  Or have you ever noticed it takes more gas to drive for a long distance against wind?  The same applies to running in the wind.  


As runners, we become acutely aware of what requires more output during a run, like our own special radar! And this is why most runners have come to dread those windy days.  Unlike some weather patterns like heat, cold, snow, etc., wind actually causes us to have to work harder and expend more energy simply to continue moving forward. This is due to simple physics, and the fact that running in wind means that you are running against a force that is moving faster than you are.  This increases your own energy output to continue running at your regular pace.  


Here’s a simple chart to help visualize what that extra output looks like and how running in windy weather can affect your speed:


  • 5 mph wind = 0-15 seconds slower per mile
  • 10 mph wind = 20-30 seconds slower per mile
  • 15 mph wind = 30-45 seconds slower per mile
  • 20 mph wind = 50-60+ seconds slower per mile
  • 25 mph wind = More than 1 minute slower per mile


In fact, studies have been done on wind resistance and its effect on runners, and it proves that there is a definable energy cost to overcoming wind resistance.  This means runners may face increased fatigue and early burnout, but there are ways to mitigate these risks.  If you are tired of dreading running in the wind, you are in the right place, just follow these 11 proven tips!


11 Tips for Running in the Wind


So, you can’t control the weather, but what can you do to help with running in the wind?  Here’s 11 proven strategies!


#1: Adjust What You Wear


Avoid baggy clothes or excessive layers that can cause extra drag and wind resistance. Instead, opt for tighter fitting clothes that will help make you more streamlined.  For example, instead of loose running pants, choose tighter fitting leggings.  


***In winter, it may be necessary to still run with layers, especially in extreme cold temperatures.  You can still wear layers and stay form fitting, with a moisture wicking base layer, a breathable midlayer, and a windproof and waterproof outer shell if necessary.  Here are my recommendations for the best winter running layers.



#2: Draft Behind Another Runner


Honestly, this is a strategy I first learned as a cyclist, where you can use drafting to help with wind.  The same concept applies to running in windy weather, where you can help to minimize the effect of wind resistance by running behind others.  This is a good strategy for group running, but unfortunately, does not help you much if you are running alone.  If you are drafting with a group, it is courteous to switch lead positions and rotate with all runners in the group, to allow everyone to experience the benefit of being able to draft.  


#3: Defend Against the Elements


While it might not make you any faster or lessen the amount of extra effort required, defending against the elements can make you feel better and more comfortable while running in the wind, and that can be a big boost to your mental game!  Wear a head covering to protect your ears from wind, if they get sensitive like mine.  This GORE headband works wonders for keeping wind out of my ears, and its snug design means it won’t get blown off my head by a big gust.  Bring Chapstick, and wear sunglasses.  Know what gets you the most comfortable.


#4: Start Your Run Against the Wind


This strategy focuses on tackling running in the wind during the first part of your run, when you have more energy, versus fighting it later in your run, when you are running lower on energy and more tired already.  This means that you will need to be directionally aware of your planned running course, and also aware of the wind pattern in your area, to be able to sync these up successfully.  


#5: Accept a Slower Pace


It is a cold hard fact that you can’t run at the same pace with wind as without. You need to adjust your expectations.  Instead of worrying about your pace, just worry about your effort.  Focus on effort over pace and speed. Don’t go looking for a PR on a windy day.  Part of running is knowing and accepting that you will have “off” days, or slower days, and often weather is one component.  


***Accepting “off” days is just 1 step in my 12 step half marathon training plan for beginners – catch up on the other 11 steps to training for a half marathon HERE!


#6: Look for the Silver Lining


Running in the wind is largely a mental game, so try to have a silver lining mindset.  You can reap a harder workout when you run in the wind, so be proud of yourself for accomplishing the harder workout and reaping that benefit!  Think of it as a little extra strength training.  


#7: Watch Your Form


Running in the wind can cause some runners to unknowingly, or knowingly, alter their running form to try and compensate.  With every gust of wind, you may find yourself tensing up and bracing.  It is easy to want to lean forward or hunch over when running in windy weather.  Resist altering your running form, as this can lead to negative, long term consequences.  Remember to:


  • Stand up straight
  • Keep your shoulders up and back
  • Focus on breathing
  • Be aware of any tension building up.  Try to run with a relaxed body and mind. Unclench your jaws and fists as one strategy to deal with tension.


You never want to knowingly or unknowingly practice a bad habit, as it can be harder to undo later.  Additionally, changing your running form can burn through more of your energy, which just adds to the increase in difficulty.  


#8: Turn Your Head


While this doesn’t have 100% results for every single runner, for many, turning your head slightly when running to avoid running completely face forward into the wind can help some.  


#9: Assess the Weather


While it is completely possible to go running in the wind, there are times when the risk is too great.  Know what are safe limits, and be especially aware of your surroundings when running in the wind, being especially watchful for obstacles that may appear due to windy conditions, like downed trees or limbs, or flying debris.  Remember, there are appropriate times to use a treadmill!  I know, I despise treadmill running too, but I despise it less than getting leveled by a falling branch!


Another note about assessing the weather – keep in mind that temperatures can vary on windy days due to wind chill.  So dress accordingly, not just to the posted temperature, but to the predicted wind chill temperatures.  


#10: Adjust Your Course


This isn’t possible for everyone, but sometimes adjusting WHERE you are planning to run can have some impact on the amount of wind you have to deal with during your run.  For example, if I check the weather forecast and notice that there are going to be 20 mile per hour winds during my run, I may choose to run on the heavily wooded trail near my home, versus the road that winds around my local lake.  This is because there are no natural wind breaks around the lake, but a heavily wooded trail has lots of wind breaks from the trees and foliage.  So, if you have the ability, making this switch can help with how much wind you have to negotiate with.  


#11: Continue to Hydrate


On especially windy days, you may not notice how much you are sweating if your sweat is evaporating and drying more quickly.  Make sure that on each and every run, regardless of how windy it is or not, that you are staying consistently hydrated.  Luckily, there are tons of great options for on the go hydration.  These are a couple of my favorites:



On your running journey, you are going to encounter lots of literal and mental obstacles, but facing them head on with proven strategies is the best way to handle them!  Here’s a few helpful hints on other environmental obstacles to tackle!




10 Tips for Running in Hot Weather

9 Tips for Running in Cold Weather

How to Confidently Conquer Running Uphill

Do You Run With or Against Traffic?



Now what’s the next step?  Sign up for that first half marathon or marathon! You can start HERE with my:





Want MORE?  My Half Marathon EBOOK for Beginners will walk you step by step through your first finish line!  From training, to gear, to nutrition, to race day checklists, it is all covered here!


***If you are new to running and looking to start building your newbie running inventory, check out this simple Running Essentials Checklist to help you get started!




Tips for running in windy weather

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