Tag Archives: beach running

Got Sand Running? 5 Reasons You Should

Spring has sprung and as temperatures warm up the sandy of a beach looks more and more appealing for everyone.  Runners especially can benefit from hitting the beach.  Sand running is a great tool to get faster, increase strength, see some fresh scenery or stay cool on a hot day.  There are lots of types of sand, from packed wet sand to deep fluffy sand but no matter which one you choose, there are big benefits to be had.  Here are five great reasons you shouldn’t overlook those early morning or evening hours when it isn’t too crowded to get a workout in.

Strength.  With or without shoes sand running is a good way to sand runningearn stronger ankles and feet.  The uneven surface forces your body to respond in ways it doesn’t have to on the road or track. Your core has to work harder to maintain balance and large muscle groups are given an extra challenge.  For even more ways the beach makes you stronger, check out this list.

Cadence.  The best way to get anywhere in the sand is with short, quick steps.  Practicing this higher cadence by running faster in the deep sand will help you see improvements back on the road.  Give it a try by running as fast as you can 2-3 time with rest in the sand then slide your shoes back on and repeat on the road.  Instant gains!

Stay Cool(er).  A hot summer day is hot no matter where you are but being next to the water certainly helps.  Running in the surf keeps cool water running over some of your body at all times and the ocean breeze will likewise aid in preventing overheating.  Be wary of strong winds and plan your run accordingly.

Scenery Change.  Take things easy.  You’re already working harder than you would on the road, trail, track or treadmill.  Enjoy what nature has to offer and use sand running time to have some fun.  Try remembering all of the birds you saw or stop to watch the sunrise/sunset for a minute between repeats.  Unless you live down the street from a shoreline, get the most out of each experience.

Be careful.  Make sure you have a way to stay hydrated when you’re out there on a sunny, warm day.  Take a water source with you or put a bottle at your turnaround point.  Check tide tables and run a low tide, making sure to stay even by running an out and back course on the slanted surface.  Watch for holes, shells, other beach debris and rough patches of packed sand that can cause blisters and abrasions.

Take these tips on your next trip to the beach and reap a few of these big benefits from sand running.

Meredith

Do you run on the beach?  What’s your favorite thing about sand running?

Success!

It was strange Sunday morning getting ready to go for a run in flip flops. I prepared myself for a morning on the beach, first a run then a little bit of sun by grabbing my chair, towel, swim suit, snack, water and spraying on the sunblock.  That all felt perfectly normal.  It was when I slipped on my Garmin 210 my feet started to feel a little naked.

In spite of the bipedal nudity, off I went to the beach.  After picking a spot for my post run sun bathing, I started running along the edge of the water in great, packed sand, with no shells and cool water that kept me from getting too hot as the temperature at 9am approached 80.  After just the first tenth of a mile, I was already surprised by just how much my stride changed.  I had expected a shorter stride and slower pace, but the change in my foot strike was something I hadn’t thought about.  Not having shoes on meant running a little bit more on my toes and I felt my ankles and calves asking what the heck was going on.  The out and back course I took down the shore line meant I could follow my plan perfectly, which was to run out on the packed, wet sand, and return in the deep, mushy sand.  I usually do a small portion of my sand runs in the mushy stuff and spend the majority of it on the edge of the water, but split this one into half and half.  That’s the most time I’ve ever spent running in deep sand, and it was quite a challenge.

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It was great to try something new, a tough workout and a chance to test the strength in my ankles.  I’m not about to hop on the minimalist train for road running, but can see the value in continuing to run in the sand a couple of times a month and using those short mileage runs as a chance to strengthen my ankles, feet and calves.  Not only is it a fun workout, the view can’t be beat and getting out before the heat gave me a nice advantage: I already had a spot secured right where I wanted it so I could get some early sun and continue reading A Dance with Dragons.  A big success and I can’t wait for next week!

Meredith