You only get half as much back as you put in

You only get half as much back as you put in

Here is an important fact about the wind:

The cost of overcoming air resistance increases at a non-linear rate.

That means that every additional "mile per hour" of wind/air resistance costs more than the last "mile per hour" of wind/air resistance.

Here is one of the major implications of this:

You don't get as much "free speed" out of a tailwind that you lost by running into the wind.

In most common windy scenarios, you only get about half of the power back from a tailwind that you had to put in a headwind

In the windiest scenarios, you don't get much back from a tailwind at all.

Why is this?

When you combine the air resistance created from your forward running speed and the air resistance created from a headwind, the wind can be significantly costly.

But, when you turn around and begin to run with the tailwind, the aiding effect of the tailwind is not that much since the tailwind has to significantly overcome your running speed to be aiding!

Here is an example from our white paper on the wind:

"For example, running 7.5 mph into a 15 mph headwind might cost you 50 extra Watts, while overcoming calm air at that speed would cost about 6 Watts. Running at 7.5 mph with a 7.5 mph tailwind would save you 0 Watts. Running with a 15 mph tailwind would only save you an additional 6 Watts as compared to the 7.5 mph tailwind."

What does this mean for you?

1. You need to significantly drop your effort down when it is extremely windy since the cost of running increases significantly. You cannot get that "effort" back from a tailwind so you need to preserve your energy as much as possible when running in the headwind.

2. You should not turn into a tailwind and begin to run fast to try to make up lost time. If you run too fast, you are just burning yourself out even more. You can run a bit faster, but do not take more than the tailwind is giving you.

While extreme winds can be rare, they also come at unexpected times. You do not want to be caught flat footed when the wind begins to matter.

You want to know exactly how hard you can afford to push into a headwind and how much "free speed" you can choose to get from a tailwind.

It is a fine balance between these two forces but it can make a world of difference on those unexpectedly windy training days and races where the wind is extracting over 10% additional effort from you.

If you want to manage the wind in a structured and methodical way, Stryd is the perfect way to understand and use the wind's effects to your advantage. Stryd's real time power value will help you exert even effort in nearly every running scenario.

You can get Stryd here: