Running in a Windy Climate
I live in Oklahoma now which is notoriously known for it’s extreme wind. It’s frustrating being a runner. There’s nothing like a 40 mph wind to suck the joy right out of running. During the summer, the days that it’s not too hot, it’s too windy to run. It seems crazy, but I think I’ve just now discovered a solution to my running in a windy climate problem: alleys.
I discovered this while visiting my previous home town in West Texas. There is some pretty strong winds there although they don’t blow that hard or hit you from all directions. It’s such a flat place that the wind usually just hits you very hard from one side. When I went for runs there, I usually just tried to run perpendicular to the direction of the wind so it wasn’t ever blowing directly in my face.
Anyway, while I was visiting I found that most of the streets had an alley that ran behind the homes on each street. These alleys had the wind blocked on two sides which made the winds not an issue. When I got back home to Oklahoma I realized that just a few blocks away was a neighborhood that had these same alleys. So I tried to run down these for my run and sure enough I was able to enjoy a 3 mile run for a couple different days when the winds were around 15-20 mph.
Benefits to Alley-Running
- Easy on joints. Most of the alley was soft material like gravel, dirt, or grass. This was soft on my joints. Also, it seemed like they were smooth, maintained and kept mowed. Perfect running paths.
- Away from traffic. These paths are safer than running on the roads.
- Wind blocked. And of course, the wind was blocked on both sides (usually) by houses, fences, garages, etc.
Drawbacks to Alley Running
- Dogs. People keep their dogs in the backyard which meant a few times a dog scared the crap out of me. Also, once or twice a dog was loose.
- Back and forth. Each alley was around 3/4 mile in the neighborhood I ran in. So I had to run down one then up another. Didn’t bother me, but some might not like that.
- Stroller unfriendly? Not sure yet since I haven’t tried it, but it may not be easy to run down these alleys with a jogging stroller.