On Sunday afternoon my partner and I decided to go for a run along the beach. For the moment, we’ve temporarily moved out of our apartment (our lease expired) and are now living right near the beach in Darwin – perfect for beach runs!
We set off around 5.30pm/6pm and ran down to the beach along the road/footpath and onto the beach for a bit, then ran back along the beach. It was hard work, and we were sweaty (despite it feeling a bit ‘cooler’ up here at the moment).
I’m going to add a beach run or two into my routine from now on after reading up on some of the benefits! We ran along the harder, wet sand as it’s easier than dry sand and eliminates unnecessary injuries!
But why is sand running so much harder than running normally? Basically, on sand your foot cannot go flat when the heel strikes because the surface gives and is not flat. Instead your body adjusts by calling on small muscles in your ankle to keep the foot steady. The calf muscles also have to work harder to normalize the motion on the soft surface.
It’s always good to work stabiliser muscles and smaller muscle groups to improve your strength and performance.
Here are some beach running benefits:
1. You can burn 30 percent more calories: Running on sand makes you work harder. With each stride your feet sink a little, forcing you to exert more energy than running on tarmac, and burning around 30 per cent more calories.
2. Beach running can prevent injuries: Running on sand without trainers forces our smaller, stabilising muscles in the knees, ankles, and feet to work harder than running on roads.
3. It gives yours joints a break: A study by Griffith University, in Queensland Australia, found that landing on soft sand increases the time in which our feet sink into it. The overall stress of pounding on the lower joints, such as ankles and knees, is reduced. Sand running also allows you to give your calf muscles a good workout without the risk of any impact injuries, and can also reduce the risk of shin splints.
4. The beach is a natural assault course: Beach running is a great resistance training and strengthens the legs. To put your agility to the test, jump over small piles of drift wood or pools of water, and race the incoming tide for short spurts of speedwork.
5. Try going barefoot! It forces you to grip with your toes and strengths calf and feet muscles too! (Just beware of glass/shells)
So, when you’re next near the beach why not add some sand/beach running to your workout?
Oh and here’s a few more tips:
* Try running on flat, wet sand where possible to avoid tendon or ligament injuries
* Don’t expect to run at your normal pace – running on the sand is so much harder!