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I recently moved to California from the great state of Texas and I want to vary my running schedule. I've never run on the beach before, but it seems like something I need to do if I'm living on the coast. Are there any precautions I should take? Specific stretches or warm-ups I should do before or after? Barefoot vs. my regular running shoes? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I've just moved back to Australia, from the USA. We spent 5+ years in Boston, and 11+ years in the Dallas area. We have beaches all around us here. I've also wondered about running on the sand... with or without shoes? Look forward to see what others have to say on this matter.
I've run on the beach before. The first tim I did it I ended up running 10 miles as it felt so good. I hadn't planned to go that far, also my waiting family wasn't happy :).
I've also read about it a few places and yea it should be just fine, the only real issue is that the slight slant could probably cause problems if that is all you run on.
Just remember to run on the hard stuff not in the dunes.
No shoes of course,
The reason to wear shoes is cusioning and protection from the ground. You really should not have anything on the ground (glass, bees, etc) so protection is not an issue. Even though the ground is stable beach sand is probably the most cusioned even more than dirt treadmill or anything a shoe can do for you. Also, you are very liable to ruin your shoes runnin in damp sand for any distance.
Not to rain on your parade, but I'd be careful about running on the beach. I'd always wanted to do it ever since seeing that great scene in Chariots of Fire, but when I actually did (without sneakers) ... I could barely walk by that afternoon. (And at the time, I was in my mid-20s, with no knee or back problems). The other problem with running without shoes is that you constantly have to look down to make sure you're not stepping on drift wood or shells or who knows what else. My friend has done a fair amount or running on the beach (in sneakers) and she quite likes it. If you want to run with shoes but don't want to get your regular runnings shoes wet, you can buy trail running sneakers that are designed for wet/muddy conditions that will drain easily (and therefore not grow fungus or mold). Merrell and Salomon make these (as do other companies although I can't remember them off the top of my head).
Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.
I've done quite a bit of beach running, and I love it. I always wear shoes, though. You do need them as you do encounter all sorts of shells, pieces of wood, rocks, and stuff like that. It's very rarely perfectly smooth for the duration of your run. I only run at low tide, when the sand is hard packed. I did run about a mile or two without shoes this past summer and it was hard on my feet. The cushion of the shoes still helps a lot on hard packed sand. Your arches also get excessive stress without shoes. Make sure the slant of the beach is very gentle. There nothing better than running on the beach at sunset. A wonderful experience. The problem is getting low tide to coincide with sunset. It does not happen very often.
I run on the soft stuff with shoes. I don't have any problems but I don't do it that often. I live in Florida (flat) so I do that once in a while since I am not able to do hill running... unless you count running up and down the 17st bridge.
I wouldn't call myself a "runner" but I do some jogging when I can. I live in Western Maryland so I usually run on
the canal or on a trail. However, two years ago I was on the coast and did some barefoot running on the beach. The next
day I could barely walk. It seems I produced a case of plantars fasciitis (sp?). In short, I stretched the muscle that runs
along the bottom of your foot. This syndrome plagues me still from time to time. Something to think about. I wouldn't
recommend running barefoot in the sand.
Yeah I am just starting to run again after a back injury but I tried out the beach the other day for a very slow jog. I wore shoes and really enjoyed it.
That is awful that you got plantars fasciitis from running on the beach. Thanks for the warning! I don't have it but my teammate in college was really bothered by it. The trainers used to have her freeze a regular old water bottle and roll her foot back and forth over it. It seemed to help her...not sure if you've tried it for one it acts up.
I run on the beach whenever I can. I think there is nothing like it. I think its the instability of the sand that makes people sore. Its also a harder workout so you might not go as far as you think you should. Run as close to the water as you can, and I run with shoes. Shoes help cushion but they also help with alignment. I pronate pretty badly so I pretty much always run with shoes. I think as long as you stretch, drink enough and warm up slow you should be fine.
As far as running on the soft sand goes, I am all for it! You need to wear shoes, and most important, you need to run slowly. I've recovered from many injuries by running on the soft sand on the beach. It does an incredible job of strengthening your knees and ankles. I recovered from a shattered ankle this fall by starting back with slow beach running on the soft sand.
Also, running on the soft sand is very very much like mountain running up very steep hills. It saps all your inertia and gives nothing back, just like big hills.
But remember, the most important thing if to do if you run on soft sand is GO SLOW!