Windy Marathon - any tips/suggestions? (Read 64 times)


Overweight per CDC BMI

    I would like to hear thoughts on any strategies anyone has used to minimize the effect of the wind during a marathon. We are not supposed to have super intense winds this Saturday but the forecast is supposed to be 14mph winds with gusts in the low 20's so enough to have at least some negative effect. Temps are supposed to be in the low 50's so the wind should at least keep me from getting sweaty.


    I had no plans of paying any attention to the 3:30 pace group (my goal time) but after thinking about the wind, I thought it would be a good strategy to keep the pace group close so that when the course turns into the wind, I can slip in at the back of the pack to avoid some of the wind. After talking to the pacers today at the expo, it scared me. They couldn't explain their strategy for splits saying they generally keep the same pace, even uphill, and they slowed down in the 2nd half last year to "give everyone a break". A perfect example of why I always have heard not to trust pacers with your race plan.


    Anyway, I would love to hear thoughts on limiting head winds and side winds. OR you can just say I am over thinking it too much.

    Memphis / 37 male

    5k - 21:01 / 10k - 45:20 / Half - 1:40:17 / Full - 3:38:10

    Half Crazy K 2.0

      Where is the race? City street? Wide open country roads? Along a beach? As crazy as it sounds, I think it makes a bit of a difference. I've done a few really windy racecs. 2 weere on the Atlantic City boardwalk and a road just off it. For the race with a cross wind, I found if I tucked in as close to the buildings in the casino district, it minimied the wind a bit. Oncce there were less buildings for shelter, not much I could do. For a headwind, if you can work with a group, it may help a bit if everyone is willing to take turns being in the lead.


      I'd definitely be a little worried about the pace group. I tried to go with one oncce and they shot out 20 seconds over goal pace in mile 1. I didn;t bother.


      Are we there, yet?

        Stay relaxed and don't try to force the pace into the wind. Draft if you can.  Worst marathon for the wind I can remember running was the First Jersey Shore Marathon in 1972 starting and finishing in Asbury Park: out with the wind at out backs to the turnaround, then straight into the wind for the return.  I saw runners with 20+ minute positive splits, e.g. out in 1:23, back in 1:45, whereas I ran very conservatively going out and saving my strength and energy and finished with about a 2 minute positive split, roughly 1:29:30, 1:31:30.

         2023 Races:

              On IR for now



        Overweight per CDC BMI

          The race is downtown with the buildings for about 8 miles. 3-4 miles is in a park with lots of trees but majority is going through neighborhoods. I will have to see how big the pace group will be but I doubt I will find anyone this big to draft...


          Memphis / 37 male

          5k - 21:01 / 10k - 45:20 / Half - 1:40:17 / Full - 3:38:10

          Half Crazy K 2.0

            So downtown, youo may get some protection from the buildings. For cross winds, I'd try to get to the side of the road where the wind is coming from. Maybe the same in the neighborhoods. If the houses are close enough, it does break the wind a bit it it's a cross wind. As wcrunner, said, don't fighht the wind too much.

              It's likely you'll have as many miles with tailwind as headwind. So same strategy that works for you with hills; attack the wind and coast/recover with tailwind, or if you're like me, hold your own and don't fight the wind, and use the tailwind to make up the time.

              55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

              Running Problem

              Problem Child

                I’d expect everyone in a pace group to want to draft. No one wants to lead.  This gets annoying. After a few miles don’t be surprised if the guys and girls up front move on because they’re tired of being drafted.  Also, it’s going to get hot in the draft group.  No breeze to cool you down. The wind might not be as bad as you’re thinking.  I recall being afraid of a 9-12 mph headwind going for a PR and on the day of the race it was just not there.  I could have ruined my race and I just went for it from the start.  If you have lots of buildings it could just be windy in the park. 




                best of luck. Looking forward to you reporting back.

                Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                VDOT 52.45

                5k19:35 | Marathon 2:56:07


                  Yeah, all of you suggesting "draft off someone" and probably doing that in your races... perfectly legal, scientifically proven... and guaranteed to make you one annoying mf'er if you do it too long. Unless you are going for the win, I don't recommend doing it for very long unless you are willing to take turns and let others draft off of you and/or ask the human windshield if they mind.

                  Especially if you going for a BQ (which given the target time of 3:30, sounds likely). Perfectly legal, scientifically proven... and you are relying on someone else to get you through without their consent. That person is going to realize what's up fairly quickly. Maybe they won't care. Maybe they will.

                  Anyway, that's my story. Take turns. But also, 14 mph wind? Eh, that's a light breeze to me and I'm not going to worry about it at all unless the "feels like" is -20 or something.

                  Half Crazy K 2.0

                    If there are official pace groups, typically the pacers are going to be the ones out in front. From what I've seen, there is then a core group that are obviously with the group and often chatty and then hangers-on who are on the finge. I like my personal space, so I stay away from people.


                    Overweight per CDC BMI

                      Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm going to write up a more thorough race report tomorrow when I'm at my computer. I did 3:38:10 which was 32 minutes faster than last year but my hamstrings died on me in the late miles. I however was encouraged with my overall fitness because I felt fine from an endurance standpoint.


                      I have a funny story about drafting some guy too.

                      Memphis / 37 male

                      5k - 21:01 / 10k - 45:20 / Half - 1:40:17 / Full - 3:38:10



                        Best way to get rid of drafters is launching snot rockets.

                        12-22  Last One Standing

                        2-23 Sun Marathon 

                        4-23 Zion 100




                        Overweight per CDC BMI

                          Here is my race report for those interested. It is a little lengthy but I am also documenting it for my own benefit later. I was disappointed in not getting to my ambitious 3:30 goal but I still improved my marathon PR by 32 minutes, didn't get injured in training, and I feel like my fitness level right now would get me a new PR at the half marathon.


                          Wind factor: So tracing back to my original question in this thread, the wind was just more of an annoyance than feeling like it was pushing me backwards. There were a few significant gusts to slow me down but they only lasted a few seconds. A few times running through the buildings downtown, we would get a gust from the side that made your bib feel like it was ripping off. The temps never actually got down into the lower 50's so the wind helped keep me cool when combined with dumping water cups on my shirt.


                          Start to mile 9: I somehow got stuck in corral C when the 3:30-3:45 pacers were all up in B so they all started a minute ahead of me. It didn't matter because there were no packs of runners sticking with these faster pace groups like I had envisioned. When I caught up to the 3:35-3:45 pacers, it was just them running by themselves. I saw the 4:15 pace group later out on the course and it was a pack of about 20 people taking up the width of a single lane road.


                          Since I started with people targeting a slower pace, I was able to be constantly passing people which was probably all the help I truly needed with the wind. I was shocked to see that no one around me understood the concept of running the tangents. There would be long, bending right turns on roads 50 feet wide yet I was the only one out of the 200-300 people in immediate sight who was on the right side of the road. I saw my family for the first time at mile 9 and my 3-year-old wasn't going to let go of his sign for anything to give me a high five.


                          Drafting: There was a young guy running with 2 girls in front of me for several miles. When I finally caught up to them around mile 10, we turned north right into the wind. I was running right behind them for 400-500 meters when the guy in the middle turned around and asked "are you drafting me or something?" I laughed and said "That is exactly what I am doing. The view would be better following on the left or right sides of your group but you are bigger." He then said "well she is bigger than me so you should follow her". The girl to the left was clearly his girlfriend and yelled "excuse me!" She then made him run on the other side of the road. After a couple minutes, the guy came back to our group and I offered to lead him for a few minutes to allow me to get out of that awkward situation, which I separated from them shortly after.


                          Middle miles: I felt really good during the first half and was having to slow myself down most of those miles. I started to fade a bit in miles 11-13 but wasn't worried because the first half of the course is more difficult and I hit mile 13 only a minute behind target. The 3:35 pacer was just ahead of me at the half and I was just trying to keep him close for miles 14-18 as I was very unlikely to ever see the 3:30 pacer. Once I started to have trouble keeping up with the 3:35 pacer around 17-18, I eased up a bit because I knew the 3:30 goal was not happening and wanted to shoot for 3:35 with the last 3-4 miles being manageable, from a course/wind perspective.


                          Last 10k: Around mile 20 is when my hamstrings started to go out. I was feeling fine with my endurance but I just couldn't keep pushing the 8:05-8:15 pace. I had set down a frozen water bottle on my first pass through the park and when I tried to pick it up coming through the second time, I almost fell over into the bushes because the hamstrings were shot. By mile 23, I was just moving the best I could and even lost focus for a bit with my heartrate going down into the 140's. I started trying to push a lot more with my calves with miles 23-25 slowing to just under 9:00 pace. There was a guy who was walking with 1 mile to go and I said "come on, finish with me" as I passed. He was a good companion the final mile and thanked me after the race because he would have just walked the rest of the way. My family also surprised me at the finish line which was great help to finish the last 300 meters.


                          Thanks for reading if you made it this far. I don't know what I did wrong to cause my hamstrings to die on me when my endurance and all other leg muscles were fine. I was dealing with knee pain all spring and summer so I kept my focus this fall on building miles and endurance. I likely didn't do enough fast running during my training. I also have a fairly short stride with cadence usually at 190 spm so I may need to work on a longer stride length. Suggestions are welcome.

                          Memphis / 37 male

                          5k - 21:01 / 10k - 45:20 / Half - 1:40:17 / Full - 3:38:10



                            Thanks for this report, Andy TN. I'm likely doing a beach-front marathon in a few months and was warned it's very windy, so I'll be saving these notes for my turn. Well done on the PR! No idea on how to help the hamstrings. For me it's always the quads that fail.

                            Qualifications: I like to run. In Florida. In the summer. At noon.  

                            Last race: 12-11-22 Jacksonville Marathon bust, 3:32:59

                            Up next: Ft. Lauderdale Marathon  Feb. 19, but also probably, most likely, definitely Hungryland 40-Mile March 25