Beach Running is Surprisingly Difficult, and Rewarding!

Why Beach Running is the Perfect Recreational Training

Beaches hold a special attraction to millions of people around the world.

They are the perfect places for vacations, spending time with the family and romantic evenings with a special someone. They also provide the perfect setting for an invigorating run.

Before hitting the sand, consider these pros and cons of running on the beach.

Running on a beach is very good exercise, but very different to regular running

Pros:

  • Running on the beach burns nearly twice as many calories as running on asphalt.
  • You can get the same cardiovascular workout in less time, because your body has to work harder to push out of the soft sand.
  • The soft sand absorbs more impact, reducing stress on your body.
  • The increased collision time provides less rebound, forcing the glutes, hip flexors and quads to engage more deeply.
  • Running on the beach barefoot strengthens the stabilizing muscles in your feet, ankles and knees, which helps prevent common injuries experienced by runners.

Cons:

  • Pronation occurs sooner and ends later, thereby applying more pressure on knee and ankle joints.
    If your stabilizing muscles haven't been properly strengthened before you start running on the beach, you are more likely to be injured.
  • If the sand is hard, you should wear shoes, or you could increase skeletal stress.
  • Risk of injury increases if you don't run using proper form.
  • The sand adds additional stress to your plantar fascia, which can eventually lead to plantar fasciitis.
  • The sand can burn and cut bare feet.
  • There may be seashells or other sharp objects on the beach.

Obviously, many of these cons can be eliminated if you wear shoes, but a lot of runners prefer to run on the beach in bare feet.

The problem is, most people aren't used to going barefoot, not even in their own homes. So, you have to get your feet accustomed to being without shoes in the first place before you can train them to run without them.

Beach Running Safety Tips

Ensure you give yourself a chance to adjust to the new challenges presented by running on sand

The safest place to train your feet to run without shoes is in your own home. Running on grass is not safe because the ground is often uneven, which can cause your foot to roll, spraining your ankle.

Also, you may step on sharp objects or thistles hidden in the grass, which can be very painful. It may even keep you from running for several days. 

Running on the beach barefoot allows your feet to naturally move through their full range of motion, which strengthens your feet and ankles.

But you shouldn't do it too often or for long periods at a time until you build up your muscles. Gradually increase the time and distance as your body adapts.

Beach running while wearing shoes can prevent many injuries such as burns, cuts and excessive stress on your ankles. However, shoes don't solve all of your problems.

The biggest problem is getting sand in your shoes which can cause some serious blisters. Socks and thick creams may be able to prevent much of the rubbing.

The best type of shoes to wear on the beach are ones that will keep out as much sand as possible and provide your ankles with plenty of support.

Whether with or without shoes, beach running gives you a great workout, and you can't beat the view!

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