How to Run a Marathon in the Wind

Three tips to conquer blustery conditions on race day.

The weather for Sunday’s New York City Marathon will be near perfect marathoning weather, save for one element—the wind.

According to research,  a “substantial” wind (i.e. one approximately equal to the pace you are running at) will set you back 12 seconds per mile with a headwind, and aid you by 6 seconds per mile with a tailwind. The AccuWeather forecast for the marathon on Sunday calls for winds blowing out of the north or northwest with speeds between 15 and 25 mph with gusts of 35 mph or greater.

For NYC marathoners, the toughest parts of the course will be the bridges, said Runner’s World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso. He suggested drafting off of a running partner or nearby runners to protect yourself from the wind.

Jeff Gaudette, a running coach and owner of Runners Connect, offered up three other useful tips for running a marathon—or any race—in blustery conditions.

1. Try to stay within a pack as often as you can when facing the headwind or sidewind conditions. This will mitigate most of the negative effects you're facing. Previous research shows that drafting off another runner can decrease wind resistance by 80 percent.

2. When running into a headwind, turn your head to the side. This will help you breathe easier. The wind blowing in your face can disrupt your breathing pattern, making it more difficult to take in oxygen that you need to fuel yourself through the race.

3. Try not to "fight" the headwind. Accept that you're going to slow down and wait until the course turns or the wind stops. Fighting the wind wastes precious fuel and could lead to bonking prematurely.

As always, it’s important to keep your body in check and run by effort as opposed to focusing on your pace.


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