Post Marathon Training Update

My last post was the marathon race report, but I have been training since the race. Since the race I have done some research about how much a headwind can effect performance and I have been amazed at how much even one of 5 mph can make a huge difference. There were headwinds from 6-16 miles (crazy bad from 10-16) and again really bad from 19 to a little after 21 miles. I don’t know how accurate these calculators are, but the one at RunWorks and another showed a 10 mph headwind was worth as much as :20-:30/mile. This sounds a little extreme….,but the sustained winds during the race were at 10-15 mph with 25 mph gusts! Knowing this makes Chris Zablocki’s 2:17 even more impressive!

Can any physicists out there give a more detailed answer?

I have been running since the race and I have updated my training on the training page. I am looking at running another marathon in mid-late May. I will post my decision soon….


8 thoughts on “Post Marathon Training Update

  1. Ryan McGrath

    Your comment about the headwind negatively affecting performance is funny as the folks who all ran out-of-their-minds fast at Boston a few years ago with the tailwind refuse to accept that the tailwind positively affected their performance!

    1. daveberdan Post author

      I know…ridiculous! I know the calculators are not completely accurate, but if I put 5:15/mile in with a 10 mph tailwind (I believe it was even more at Boston) it says that I would only be running at 5:35/mile effort. I will say that everything I read said there is a MUCH bigger difference when running into a headwind versus with a tailwind, but a tailwind definitely helps tremendously.

  2. Cory Donovan

    I’ve read that too, that a headwind can significantly slow you down but a tailwind of the same degree is only slightly as beneficial. Bummer that a tailwind can’t be as advantageous as a headwind is detrimental. Stupid physics.

  3. Graham Peck

    Dave –

    I’m sure that none of this is news to you but I’ll be the nerd so you don’t have to be.

    I think the reasoning behind the “MUCH bigger difference when running into a headwind versus with a tailwind,” is that air drag increases exponentially with speed. If Dave is running 12 miles/hour with a 13 MPH tailwind, he is getting a small (1^2 = 1 N) boost of help from the tailwind compared to running on a treadmill with no drag force. A 13 MPH headwind combined with Dave’s 12 MPH speed brings a force of 25^2 = 625 N working against him. Yikes!

    Also, since Dave is running nearly 12 MPH, he faces much more than 50% more drag than folks running 8 MPH. (12*12)/(8*8) = 144/64 or an increased drag force of 125%, assuming they are the same size as Dave. Beats me what that equates to in actual loss of seconds/mile… that’s for another day.

  4. Anarcha/Darkwave/Cris

    Very interesting. As someone who ran the same marathon, but a bit behind you, I’ll also note that the slower you are, the more people you have around you to use as wind blocks. From mile 6 on, I was able to jump from windblock to windblock – made my life considerably easier.


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