When The Wind Blows!

Sure it’s easy to read the title of this post and call it a day! Sunday it was blustery in New York. Winds were steady at about 25-30 miles per hour all day with gusts over 40 miles per hours. This was after a full day of rain on Saturday. If you recall my post from Friday, I needed to get a run into my schedule that wasn’t a treadmill run. I will admit, I was out pretty late on Friday night celebrating a friend’s birthday, so the rain on Saturday made it easy for me to skip a run on this day. In hindsight I regret not running on Saturday, Which meant I had to face the winds on Sunday.

If you are like me you woke up and saw everything blowing around. I took a quick trip to the bagel store and the route there and back usually sees a lot of runners taking a Sunday morning jog. Not today. I had doubts about taking that run. Gusts of up to 40 miles per hour kept rattling my window and taunting me. Knowing I have a race on Thursday coming up I asked myself, “what if we wake up Thursday and the winds are blowing then”. That was enough to get the running shoes on and head on out the door.

On A Windy Day, Consider Forgetting About Pace!

 

My five mile run was interesting to say the least. I thought I felt good on the first 2-3 miles of my run. I wasn’t going all out but I wanted to go fast enough to stretch my strides out as I went along in hopes of getting faster as the run went on. That didn’t quite happen when it was all said and done. My fastest mile was my 3rd mile and it started to get slower after that. That was simply due to the route I ran. It was an out and back loop. The wind was at my back on the first half. On the second half, it was like running into a wall. To the people driving by in cars, I probably gave them a chuckle. There were times I had to squint just to avoid leaves and debris from blowing around in my face. There were times were it was blowing pretty hard that I had to put my head down in an effort to barrel thru the winds. Those last two miles sucked. At the end it felt like an uphill climb for 2 miles even though it wasn’t.

But I stuck to my plan. I got a chance to test out how things feel when the winds blow. Next time I might wear some shades or goggles to keep the crap out of my eyes. Sure it was inconvenient to run in the wind but the debris swirling was a bit of an issue and something I learned next timeΒ I run in these types of conditions. Yes I said next time I run in these conditions. IfΒ I’m sticking to aΒ plan and the winds are blowing on the day I have a run, screw it, I’m going out there. I equate it to running a hilly course, “the uphills will kill you but the downhills will kiss you.” The winds will smack you in the face but they will propel you also when they are at your back. Yes I know I didn’t make my analogy on the winds rhyme like I did with the hills but you got my point right??

Here are a few other things I took away as tips for the next time you or I have to tackle a windy run:

  • Consider wearing shades- debris will fly into your eyes
  • Don’t wear loose fitting clothing. I had a wind breaker on that was just flapping all over the place creating drag! Wear tighter fitting gear!
  • Be ready to have some mental strength. You can’t control the wind so don’t give into it!
  • Definitely consider doing a loop run so that not only will you have to run against the wind but you will also run with it at your back!
  • Forget pace. You will not run your normal pace on a windy day so don’t over exert yourself trying to nail it. Just cover the distance you need to on a windy day!

How about you? Did you stick to your plan this weekend? If you didn’t, there’s always a new time go start or make up for a day that was skipped. Brush off the hiccup in your plan and press on! Thanksgiving is coming and YOU KNOW you will eat more than you should. We all will. You have 3 days to offset what will inevitably go down on Thursday. Here’s your push – go do it

When Dark Is The Only Option

Running-Night

Two weekends ago we had to turn the clocks back an hour. Each year, the night when we turn the clocks back, I rejoice like most people because we get that extra hour of sleep. However once Sunday afternoon rolls around, I realize that this sucks. It gets dark fast! That leaves people who want to run one of two equally unpopular options. Either switch your runs to early morning, which for several people is difficult, or go running in the dark.

Running in the dark can be serene but of course it can obviously be dangerous. However it can come off successfully if certain things are followed. Here are some of the things that I follow because as I noted above, until spring rolls around, I will likely be doing alot of runs in the dark.

  • Invest in some articles of clothing that have reflector strips. These do work and cars will notice you when their headlamps shine on you. Don’t just have one strip on your body, get them on your sneakers, your top, maybe even on your head. I prefer reflector strips over lights and lamps because those will eventually die out!
  • I love to listen to music when I run just as you do, but when running at night, I have the volume all the way down. Take that precaution times two if you have sound drowning ear buds. You have to be able to hear some of what is going on around you in the dark.
  • Try and find areas that are lit up more than others. I like to run in my neighborhood but its very dark to the point that I cant see the sidewalks and some them are uneven or have cracks. I found a stretch in my neighborhood however that is well lit because the street lamps are brighter. Its a drive from my house but I’ll drive out there, park and then run. The drive is worth it for me to see the ground.
  • Make eye contact with a driver at any intersection you come to. You think he may see you in the intersection but theses days, you know everyone is on their phones or doing something else while behind the wheel. You may lose a few seconds on your run but stop and make the eye contact before crossing in front of a car!
  • Find someone to run with. Trust me, there is one of your friends that is likely in the same predicament as you are. Run together and stay safe together!
  • When training for longer distance races, try and schedule shorter runs at night while leaving the longer runs for when you will have time to run during the day. While the longer runs are important, your safety is too. Its okay to do the shorter runs in the dark.
  • Always run against traffic. Yes I know that sometimes staring at headlights coming at you can be annoying, but its safer than cars coming at you from behind. Truth is these days drivers are distracted by so manyΒ  things and while you would like to trust drivers driving behind you, you just can’t take that chance.

What are some of your night time running tips? I plan on keeping this list growing for all to reference! Don’t be afraid of running in the dark, just be smart and safe while doing it!

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Find those well lit areas to run at night!