Some days your workouts are so effortless that you feel like your flying. Others are a struggle. But on this weekend's long run, I felt like I was flying...literally!
Similar to this post not too long ago, I was faced with another dilemma - winds. Not just any windy day, mind you. No - the weather man said so! They issued a Wind Warning, with the potential for gusts over 50 mph! On a long run day! So when I describe my run, I can only describe it as the tale of 2 directions. But before I get into my story, check out this video of some struggling cyclists in the wind, especially around 45s in!
Into the Wind
We purposely set sail headed west to start, because it is always better to run into a stiff wind when you are fresh and you mind in sound. Otherwise, if you run with the wind to start, that little devil on your shoulder starts talking to you that a) you should go out at race pace, because you don't realize that running with the wind is like having someone constantly pushing you from behind; and b) as your form slips when you get tired, running into the wind is only going to make it more difficult to maintain proper form. At this stage in the game in our marathon training, putting in the miles is hard enough - no reason to add additional unnecessary stress. So with a 14 miler planned, we headed off into the wind.
If you make the common analogy of running with the wind (aka a tailwind) is like someone gently pushing you from behind, running into the wind feels more like someone drop kicking you to the face. When the gust hits, it is so forceful that I was blown off balance a number of times. My avg pace fell by about 40s/mile into the wind when it kicked up, but even that effort was yielding a much higher HR than my long run pace. After about 45 minutes or so of struggling, I hit the turnaround. The glorious turnaround!
With the Wind
Instead of a gentle push from behind like a typical tailwind, this wind felt like it had been working out at the gym recently. There was occasionally a gentle push, but more often than not, it was more like a shove. But here's the thing - the wind was never directly at your back. So even when you had a tailwind, it was more toward the side. Sure it gives you some push, but it also throws you off balance, forcing you to use extra energy to maintain pace.
All this is great for a training day - let's just hope I don't see anything like it on race day! At the very least, I CAN say that I've run in this kind of weather. And having gone through similar conditions in training always makes it that much more possible to accept whatever race day brings you. Heck - we've had ice, snow, blustery winds, persistent rain, and who can forget the 1 mile game of pong! I think I'm ready. 4 weeks to go!