If you live by a beach or have booked a beach holiday, learn how to use the beach to boost your running training.
Switching up the surface you run on can dramatically affect your running training in many positive ways. A sandy beach is one of the best surfaces to run on if you want to build strength and power. It's a great calorie booster, too!
Running on any new surface takes a bit of getting used to, and sand is no different. Avoid injury, aches and pains by adapting your stride and pace. Don't do too much too soon - run on sand for shorter training runs, sprints or fartlek, or sections of a longer run. And don't do all of your runs on sand - just replace one or two of your weekly sessions.
The Right Footwear
Sandy runs need footwear which is light and flexible. So choose a more neutral shoe suited to spadework, or even a barefoot or minimalist shoe. See our previous article about barefoot running for some great tips on technique. If you need more support than a neutral, lightweight shoe gives you, then try powerwalking on sand rather than running. You'll get the benefits without exposing yourself to injury risk.
Get The Most From Your Beach Runs
Sand offers resistance and "give", making your entire body work harder. Your cardiovascular system will get a boost, your heart rate will increase and your muscles and connective tissue will have to work harder to run on sand. Find a flat stretch, and do some fartlek (speed work) or sprints. Even better, find a sloping section of sand or sand dunes and do hill sprints. You might find yourself walking at first, but that's OK. It proves you're really challenging your running strength and fitness.
Walk On Sand To Recover
Even walking on a sandy beach has benefits for your running fitness. It's a great way to recover and cross train but is still enough of a challenge to your muscles to make a difference.
Have you ever run on sand? Do you live near a sandy beach? We'd love to hear your experiences.