Whether we go to the beach on vacation or live near one during the year, running on the beach is a great way to add variety to your exercise routine. It also gives us a chance to get outside and try something new. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before digging your toes in the sand.
If we are ready to practice running on the beach, there are several things that we must take into account, the risks and the tips that will help us get started.
Benefits of running on the beach
Having a beach workout routine can stave off boredom, improve running performance, and help break a plateau. It can also challenge the body in ways we didn’t know were possible.
Take off your headphones and listen to the sound of the sea!
The sea is one of the most pleasant places that exist. A run, or just a walk on the beach, will make us enter a state of greater relaxation. In addition, the sound of the sea is closely linked to a relaxation of the body and mind.
So, if you are stressed or feel overwhelmed, a walk or a light run by the sea will give you an incredible level of relaxation. Also, you can accompany it with a bath!
requires more energy
Running on sand provides additional resistance to the large muscles of the lower body, requiring more effort and energy to propel the body forward. Higher energy requirements equate to higher calorie burn.
Beach sand offers greater resistance than asphalt. For this reason, we will have to perform a greater muscle activation to overcome this force. This will be translated into a higher caloric expenditure during the race. In addition, if we run the race on dry sand instead of wet sand, the cost will be even greater, since this type of sand will be less firm, causing greater effort.
One study found that compared to a more traditional training venue like grass, sand surfaces offer a higher energy requirement than team sports training.
Running on sand allows for a softer landing than when running on pavement. We will put less stress on the ankles, knees and hips. Reducing the impact on these weight-bearing joints can reduce the chance of impact-associated musculoskeletal injuries.
An investigation comparing the impact of running on soft sand with grass surfaces found less muscle damage after exercise when participants ran on sand.
Strengthens smaller muscles
Sand is an unstable surface. Every time we hit the ground, the smaller muscles, tendons, and ligaments need to stabilize to maintain balance and prevent the ankle from twisting.
Unless you’ve been doing rehab exercises for your ankle or foot, there’s a good chance this area needs some work. As long as we don’t have injuries, sand offers an ideal surface to build strength and increase stability in the foot and ankle.
Improves sports performance
Sand training challenges your muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and cardiovascular system in ways that stable surfaces, like gym floors, don’t.
One study looked at the effects of 7 weeks of plyometric training on two surfaces: a stable surface (gym floor) and sand. Although the participants improved their repeated changes of direction, static balance, and jumping performance on both the sand and the stable surface, the sand training induced some additional gains in all areas, in addition to improving sprint performance.
Breathe and feel the purest air!
When we are doing a race on the beach, we will achieve an improvement in breathing, which will translate into more oxygen for the body and thus be able to continue the march in a more optimal way. Mainly, the improvement of breathing is due to temperature, humidity and low pressure, which facilitate the reception of oxygen by the body.
Strengthens the abdomen
Every time we exercise on a surface that changes when we land, we recruit core muscles to help with stability and balance. Running recruits the abdominal muscles during the gait cycle, and running on an unstable surface challenges those muscles to do more work.
One study found that core resistance training improved runners’ endurance and required less power output over time, making their runs more efficient.
Despite all the benefits of running on the beach, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start. Some beaches may have shells or other sharp objects that could poke your feet . If this is the case, we will wear sneakers when we run.
We will try to run on wet sand, as it is more compact than soft sand. Wet sand creates a more stable surface than soft sand, which creates a higher level of instability. If we’re up for a challenge, we’ll alternate between hard and soft sand. For example, try running for 3 to 5 minutes on hard sand, followed by 2 to 3 minutes of jogging or walking on soft sand.
We can also consider wearing sneakers, especially if we are new to this practice. As our feet, ankles, and knees get stronger, we will transition to barefoot running. Still, we’ll start with short runs to allow the body, and especially the feet, to transition from shoes to bare feet.
And finally, we will try to find a beach with a flat surface. Many beaches have an angled surface, which can put extra stress on your hips and knees . If we have to run on an incline surface, we’ll make sure to do half the distance in one direction, then turn around and run back. This strategy will place an even amount of stress on both sides of the body rather than one side taking the hit.
People at risk
Training outdoors is a great way to cross-train, get some vitamin D, get some fresh air, and switch up your training spot. That said, it’s not always a perfect solution to training problems. And unfortunately, some people should avoid running on the beach.
If we have a knee or ankle injury , we will avoid running on the beach. We should also stick to a harder surface if the ankles are weak from a previous sprain or tear. Plantar fasciitis , which is an inflammation of the fascia that connects the heel to the front of the foot, is another injury that could be made worse by running on the beach.
If we suffer from plantar fasciitis but still want to try running on the beach, we’ll make sure to wear supportive shoes. We may also want to speak with a podiatrist or physical therapist before we begin.
Running on the beach doesn’t require an expensive gym membership, fancy clothes or specialized equipment, but a few tips can help you make the most of your time on the beach.
- warm up . We will dedicate at least 5 minutes to do a dynamic warm-up of the whole body. We will save time for the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles and ankles. We will include leg swings, high knees, forward lunges, glute kick, calf raises and seated ankle rolls.
- Walk before running . We will walk along the beach first to acclimatize to the surface while we observe the route. For the first day, we will simply walk. Next time, we will alternate between running and walking intervals. We will continue with interval training until we feel ready to run all the time.
- Protect the skin from the sun . Use sunscreen on any exposed skin and wear sunglasses and a hat or visor to protect your face from ultraviolet rays.
- Easy to run on the beach . To minimize injuries, we’ll start with a 20-minute jog, 2-3 days a week. We can gradually add time as the body adjusts to the new surface. Keep in mind that the pace will be slower than when running on a hard surface.
- Avoid the hottest hours of the day . Running during the hottest part of the day can cause heat exhaustion and be challenging. We can also burn the soles of the feet if we do it barefoot.
- Stay hydrated . Drinking water before, during and after exercise is good advice, regardless of the activity we are doing.