Let’s be honest, the only place we really want to be in the summer is on a beach. For you fitness freaks out there, that doesn’t mean you have to just lounge lazily in the sun and snack all day long. You can get a great workout by running in the sand, and it can be as relaxing or challenging as you want!
Running on the beach provides a couple of options for your workout. Running closer to the water’s edge, especially during low tide, offers wetter and more compact sand to run on. This makes it easier to navigate along your run and offers an enjoyable, smooth ride for you to enjoy on the ocean’s edge.
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, running in the softer, looser sand provides more resistance. In fact, it takes more energy and work to navigate through looser sand as your tendons and muscles adjust to the unnevennes of the terrain. Running in looser sand is a bit like running hills, requiring you to generate more force and work harder overall.
Running in sneakers versus running barefoot also allows you to control the intensity of your run. Running in shoes on the beach is perfectly fine, especially if you’ve had injuries like plantar fasciitis or achilles tendonitis. The sneakers will continue to provide your feet the support they need on the unpredictable terrain sand offers.
While running barefoot allows your feet to follow through their full range of motion, it can irritate the chronic conditions mentioned above, since the muscles are stretched more and are not being supported by the proper shoes. If you choose to go the no shoes route, beware of doing too much mileage, too soon. The harder surface could result in injury if you aren’t used to it. Additionally, beaches are typically littered with sharp shells and often times, glass or other litter. Beware of this risk if you decide to run barefoot.
Harder sand or softer sand, in sneakers or not – either way, if you’ve never run on a beach before, start slow. Begin with a short 15 minute jog and slowly increase your time as the weeks progress. Your legs and feet will need to adjust to the work they’ll be doing in the sand, and your body as a whole will have to adjust to the higher energy demands running on sand requires.
For me, running on the beach is the most relaxing workout there is. Waking up early before the crowd arrives while it’s still silent but for the sound of wind and waves is one of the most peaceful times to appreciate what your body can do. So give it a try! Go for a quick little jog on the coast and see how renewed you feel after running behind such a glorious canvas!