Summer is a time to get away and unwind but it doesn’t mean you have to skip your run. In fact, this is the perfect time to make your training fit your location and try beach running while on vacation or up at the cottage.
By Pamela Mazzuca Prebeg HBSc Kin.
Think of summer as an alternative to hill workouts since running on sand offers greater resistance than pavement, not to mention a more tranquil scenery. Even the most seasoned runner will find the altered surface a welcome change and challenge. In fact studies, show that running on sand can burn up to 1.6 more calories per mile than running on pavement. Before you lace up and hit the sand here’s a quick checklist to keep in mind.
Check the tide charts and try to run at low tide, when the sand is wet, this will give you the most leveled and hard-packed sand. Dry sand is fine for short runs but be sure not to over do it because it is a great deal more challenging
Shoes or Barefoot?
While running barefoot allows your foot to go through its normal full range of motion, it’s best to restrict it to just 15-20 minutes and only on wet sand because it could cause or worsen plantar fasciitis increase the risk of ankle sprains and Achilles injuries. If you are wearing shoes be sure they are tight mesh to help keep the sand out and be sure to wear socks or rub Vaseline on your feet to avoid blisters.
Look for sand that is as leveled as possible, if all you can find is a slight slant be sure to do a run out-and-back to even out the slant. Even if you are a barefoot runner be sure to pack your shoes just in case the beach is rocky or full of shells. Remember to consider the length of the beach, and plan your training accordingly because there’s nothing worse than unintentional running repeats when you were hoping for a long run.
Don’t forget the sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses as the sun will be beating right down on you and reflecting off the water. Try to avoid running between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm, when the sun is the hottest and don’t forget to stay hydrated.
Ease Into It
Changing the surface you’re running on can really shock your legs, especially if you go barefoot. Take it easy when you’re starting out; keep your runs short and your speed slow because your feet, ankles, Achilles and calves will probably be fatigued and sore the next day.