There’s a reason we all take photos of our feet in the sand and post them to our social media accounts. The first is to make our friends jealous (come on, you know it’s true) and the second is, man, it feels good. There’s something about sand that just screams “vacation mode”, even if you live by it and are one of us many chumps who has to drive by it on the way to work. It’s therapeutic.
That’s also a reason why so many of us want to run on the beaches, too. Let’s face it—running is hard work for the majority of us so we will do anything to lessen that blow, and one of those things is to pick a setting that makes us happy. Whether you do it for weight loss, stress reduction, or another reason, running in general is something that can be done at any time, anywhere—which is what makes it such a popular workout. But is beach running good for us? Keep reading for more on the positive and negative effects of running on the beach.
Pros of Running on the Beach:
- You Can Get an Incredible Workout If You Run Barefoot
Barefoot running is a legitimate thing nowadays so, if you’ve seen someone in your neighborhood doing it on the streets or sidewalks, there is no need to call the police! These people are not crazy but, instead, are trying out a legitimate running method. When you consider that some running shoes can actually cause physical harm, it’s no wonder that people are trying out this minimalist approach. And running sans shoes on the beach can be even better than on streets or other venues. Not only does it feel amazing (if you’re careful about rocks and shells and pick the hard-packed sand!), but it also has health benefits. As Women’s Runningmagazine Kathleen Woods points out, running barefoot in the sand can help you to burn more calories, strengthen your lower body, help you become more coordinated, increase your speed, and help you to avoid too much impact.
- Banish Boredom
This is a no-brainer but, as we already mentioned, running with a view makes running so much more enjoyable. If you’ve run on the beach before, you’ve probably realized how lost in thought you get as you take in the crashing waves, busy seagulls, and the view of the horizon. Conversely, there is nothing worse than running on a route that you’re entirely sick of and know where you are at every turn, as it’s almost impossible to get lost in thought. And as most runners know, this activity is a great way to clear your head but also get answers to some of the crises you are experiencing in your life. For some reason, running helps you to get down to the nitty gritty of what matters. You might even consider planting a playful, round beach towel by Slippa on the sand along with your journal, so that you can lie down post-run, enjoy the sun, and take notes on what you figured out during your beach jaunt.
- The Bottom Line For Beach-Running is More Calories Burned
Yes, there are many reasons people run but when it comes down it, the majority of us would likely tell you that the reason we run is that it burns up a lot of calories (which we especially love when we are enjoying our marg ‘n’ tacos later). Beach running burns even more calories, as, even if you’re running on fairly hard-packed sand, your body still has to work harder with each step as you gradually sink a bit into the sand.
Negatives of Running on the Beach:
- Achilles Tendon Injuries Are A Possibility
When you think about it, it’s not hard to imagine why this is so. Soft sand makes your Achilles tendon work that much harder, as it has to propel your body forward through the sand. If you’re at risk for this (or simply want to avoid this!), run closer to low tide when the sand is firmer and flatter.
- Beware the Share Objects When Running Barefoot
The majority of beach runners do so to be able to feel the sand in their toes because—as we mentioned—there is little better than that feeling. As we also mentioned, however, beach running can really cause you to go inward and, thus, perhaps not as focused on your run, itself. That means you’re more prone to cutting your foot on shells, rocks, or other sharp objects. Just be mindful and you should be fine!
- You Run the Risk of Plantar Fasciitis
If you’ve been running for a while, you know this pain firsthand or, at the very least, you know someone who has experienced this, and it is not fun. It occurs when stress or tension on your fascia bowstring becomes too great, and small tears arise. Victims of it feel it when they’ve been sitting or lying down for a while, and going to the bathroom in the middle of the night can be agony! The reason beach running can cause this is because of the awkward way your feet and legs stretch due to uneven terrain. Pre and post-run stretching is a must, and many people think you should also run in shoes on the beach to prevent this as well.
Like anything, beach running has its pros and cons. Weigh them against your lifestyle and decide what’s best for you!