Beach running is a classical summertime activity that integrates the best of fitness and nature. Running on the beach greatly differs than running on land, thus feet and joints must adapt before pushing full-force. Whether you’re a novice runner or a newbie to the beach, follow these tips to ensure a successful summer of beach running.
Hard vs. Easy Running
First notion to understand is the deeper the sand, the more challenging the run because feet sink into soft sand. Opt in to start on wet sand, closer to the shoreline. Once you’re used to that, then try moving a bit away towards the warmer, softer sand for a tougher workout.
Check the Tides
As mentioned, running on wet sand is ideal for beginners. Low tide is most optimal (or one to two hours around low tide) as the water recedes, thus, leaving the sand wet, packed and hardened. This allows feet to maintain stability without the sinking as it would during a soft sand run. You can use apps and local newspapers to find tide currents.
Train Your Feet
If looking to run in bare feet on the sand, start training your feet at home. Walk around your home barefoot, and your feet and lower extremity joints will start to adapt to barefoot training. Build up your sand runs by adding three to five minutes extra each training session. The best way to start is with 10 to 15 minutes of running, and progress from there.
Roll and Stretch
You may notice after your first run your calves become extremely sore. This is normal, but make sure you stretch your legs post-run. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Foam rolling is ideal to maintain blood flow and moisture to the body’s fascial system. Foam roll each calf, quadriceps, hamstring, and gluteal muscle between 40 to 60 seconds.
Check Your Knees
Some beaches are flat, others have a downward slope. If you already suffer from knee, hip, or low back issues, make sure to choose flat sand. Running on a slant will make your body compensate, and applies pressure on one side of the body.
Watch Your Step
Every beach differs, but be careful not to step on a shell, sea glass, or jellyfish. Various beaches in Florida and around the world are known for stinging jellyfish (and almost invisible ones, at that) to wash up on shore, which can still sting if “popped” when stepped on.
Walk and Jog
Beginners tend to easily overdo their training sessions. So, break up various sessions by alternating between walking and jogging (every three to five minutes) to avoid injury and overuse. This also allows your body to adapt to weather and climate issues such as heat, wind and blowing sand, as well as the sensation of beach running in general.