Tips on How to Successfully Run In Sand
The great outdoors is one of the best places to enjoy running. Not only are you in the fresh air but you can take in some spectacular sights along the way. The beach is just one of the many places outdoors where you can enjoy a competitive sprint or a leisurely jog.
Whether it’s a cold winter morning or a balmy summer evening, the beach is the perfect place for running. Different types of sand will determine the intensity of your workout, choose deep sand for a high-intensity run and flat trails for lighter intensity.
Make the most out of your beach run by following these tips:
Choose the right time of day and the year
Choosing the time of day can make all the difference. When you run in sand you need to be careful of the tides. Don’t get caught out by an incoming tide. Wrap up in winter to protect yourself from the chill coastal wind and take in the stunning views and cool breeze from the sea during the summer. An ideal location year round, beach running is great for anyone wanting to step up their fitness while enjoying the outdoors and the spectacular scenery of the coast throughout the year, summer or winter.
The right kit
Do you prefer beach running in trainers or barefoot? Running barefoot along the sand allows your feet to move more naturally and strengthens your ankles and feet. But be careful, running on the sand barefoot too long or too often can result in injuries. Prefer training shoes? Choose a soft shoe which bends with your foot and fits properly for optimum comfort. If you do prefer to run barefoot, start with short runs between 15 to 20 minutes. This builds strength. Over time add five minutes to your run which will be gentler on your feet and allow them to adapt more effectively.
Don’t get caught out by an incoming tide! Low tides are best for running on level, hard packed sand. As the water recedes it leaves behind solid sand but it is still forgiving, leaving a soft trail underfoot. The best time to run on the beach is at the lowest tide. Stay close to the edge of the water but avoid getting your feet wet. Running during high tide will leave behind sand that’s soft and dry as the tide swells and covers more of the beach. Check out local tide times in the news, on local social media sites or online to see the times.
Take care of your knees
Running on slanted surfaces is difficult for your knees. Most beaches will have a slant, where the tide comes in. The beaches with highest tides will have the greatest angles to the sand. To protect your hips and knees you should run at the water’s edge, out and back. Doing this you will keep both feet on the same level, therefore not putting too much pressure on one side at any one time. Running on uneven surfaces isn’t good for your knees, so if you feel any pain of any kind then you should stick to running on roads or level trails.
Keeping your runs on the beach short and infrequent is the best advice to follow. If your first run in sand is an hour long, you likely find it difficult to walk, never mind run, for the rest of your holiday. If you run for 20 to 25 minutes’ maximum at first, around once a week, you will find this is the perfect way to start your sand running training. Mix running on the beach with other runs, even if you have just moved to the coast to enjoy the beach.
Running on dunes
Low tide offers you hard, compact sand, which is great for running on. However, if you really want your workout to pack a punch then you should consider running in deep sand. Your calves will feel the burn in this tough workout where, like snow, the sand gives with every step. A short run on soft sand will satisfy your exercise needs, which is great if you don’t have time for a longer run.
There are some must haves when you run in sand. First, sunscreen! The water acts like a mirror, reflecting the sun’s rays into your face. Even if the sun doesn’t feel that strong, cover up with cream just in case. Sunglasses and a visor or hat would be a good idea for your comfort too. Your training shoes need some thought too. Try for a tight mesh over an open mesh, to avoid sand getting in there. You might want to wear suitable socks too. It is likely that you will get some sand in your shoe and you need a barrier to prevent blisters. Look for some thin, synthetic socks to protect your feet.
Bottom line, if you live somewhere where you can run in sand, get out there and do it!
About the author
Husband, Entrepreneur, Runner, Coffee Addict, in order of importance. Dan owns several websites and has been featured in a lot of popular blogs around the world.