As summer approaches it’s hard to resist the pull of the ocean or lakefront and the desire to run/walk on the sand. From mindfulness to fitness, waterfront activities provide many benefits.
1. Less is More
Even if you live near the water, start with beach runs about once per week so your body can adapt. Short runs may not even be noticed until the next day because of all the tiny stabilizer muscles your body is now using. 30 minutes or less is a great starting point.
2. Packed or Unpacked?
Though you might think that softer sand is better, a firmly packed or wet sand is best and can help prevent injury. Even with firmly packed sand it is loose enough to let your feet sink in, and give you some instability and resistance without creating overuse problems from trying to remain stable.
3. Barefoot is Okay
Here’s your chance to run barefoot without the impact provided by road running. We were designed to run barefoot on turf, after all. That said, since you don’t spend much time without shoes be sure to wear a wet sock or running shoe if you are prone to ankle or foot injury. If you aren’t sure, try walking a mile on the beach. If your feet, ankles or calves are overly sore you aren’t ready to go barefoot yet.
4. Find the Flat
Each beach is different and many have a big slope towards the shoreline. Find the flattest, most packed part of the sand to run. Be sure to follow the path out and back to even out any slope imbalances.
As if the UV rays of the sun were not enough the water also reflects them. Bump up the sunscreen and try to run in the early morning or early evening when the sun is not as high in the sky and it’s less hot.
Though beaches are available year-round in many locations the summer heat brings out the most people. Don’t forget extra hydration before and after your workout, as well as mid-way if you will be out for more than 30 minutes.