Tips for Running in Winter Winds

Coaching off season track practices twice a week and some rather nasty cold weather recently has caused my usual three runs a week to become two runs a week.  I’m hoping to soon increase this back to three, but another major cold spell due to arrive later this week may prevent that.  That said I have been tackling some hilly courses on my runs and managed 6.5 miles last Friday afternoon.  The temperatures were in the low 30s but with sustained winds of 15-20 mph and gusts up to 30 mph.  In the past I would’ve been deterred enough by the wind to stay indoors, but I knew I needed to get a quality run in that day.  I managed a semi-decent, albeit slow run, thanks in part to the following:

1. Chapstick.  I finally picked up a tube the other week and have actually been remembering to wear it.  It prevents the cracked, sore lips that make my mouth feel dry on runs.

2.  Petroleum jelly.  My skin is very fair and I flush easily.  This means when I suffer wind burn my face stays red for quite a long time.  It dawned on me Friday afternoon to apply some petroleum jelly to my nose, cheeks and forehead before running.  My skin felt better moisturized even after the run, and my usual redness did not persist into the evening.

3.  Windbreaker pants.  I’m not sure if the type of Adidas windbreaker pants I wear even exist anymore.  I own several pairs that were purchased while I was in high school and have been blessed to be able to still fit in them.  While I don’t enjoy wearing two layers of pants to run, by layering them over my leggings I’m assured to stay warm and winter winds do not penetrate to chill my legs.

4.  Staying in town.  I began my run with a quarter mile through the cemetery by my house which was a very rough start.  A strong crosswind made me second guess wanting to run that day.  Fortunately when I returned to the alley and had buildings to block some of the wind the run became a lot more tolerable.

5.  Utilizing the woods.  Much like the buildings in town, the woods on either side of a rural road I ran ensured the winds were kept at bay.  I did encounter a nasty head wind upon turning on another road with an open field to one side, but pushed through and was soon back in town.

I recommend anyone who is wanting to brave the winter winds to keep running, try the above tips.  By preparing in advance physically with appropriate clothing and skin care, and mentally with a well planned route, a windy run can be a challenging but manageable experience.

Do you let windy days keep you from running outside?  What other tips do you have for surviving winter’s winds?

About Tracy

Runner. Writer. Reader. Environmental and Indigenous Peoples advocate. Work from home Workforce Specialist. NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Assistant Varsity Track Coach. Fascinated by the ocean, waterfalls and Christmas lights.
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7 Responses to Tips for Running in Winter Winds

  1. AJ says:

    Good tips! I’ve definitely been going through the lip balm!

  2. Laurie says:

    These are great tips, Tracy. I think wind bothers me more than cold and even more than hills. When I ran the Providence (RI) marathon, it got so windy that one of the last miles turned into a mile-long trudge down by the water. As soon as we turned into town, the wind was blocked by the tall buildings, but that stretch by the river was a killer!

    • TracyNicole says:

      I agree that wind is worse than cold and hills. I hate how it can be a 30* day but with strong winds it could feel like 20 or below. The only thing I hate more is cold rainy weather. That marathon sounds super cold imaging winds by the water; I’m glad you got a reprieve running in town at least!

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