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Running on the Beach

Updated on May 1, 2007

I have always loved running on the beach in the summer months, there is just something about the salty air and the sounds of crashing waves on the open sand in the early morning, and the my afternoon beach runs have always delighted me with interesting people to watch and children playing in the waves. The best part about my beach run is that my mind was always somewhere other than on the challenging workout I was completing.

Running on the beach uses more energy because your feet tend to sink in the loose sand and you have to work harder to cover the same distance. The difficult thing about running on sand is that you don't have great traction, It's more of a struggle and it's taxing, but that can help you get in better shape.

Specialists advise running on wet, firm-packed sand near the shoreline at low tide because the surface is flatter and less punishing on the body. When running on soft sand, experts suggest shortening your stride for a more even-footed landing and keeping your weight balanced to avoid sinking in.

Avoid the shore's slope, which can cause strain in the knees, calves and ankles. And be careful because the beach surface is not always flat and it is easy to miss a small ditch if you are not looking and twist an ankle.

Many runners prefer beach running over coursing through streets, especially after an injury, because sandy surfaces are easier on the body than concrete or asphalt. If you have a hamstring or knee injury, you can still do your workout at a slower pace on the beach, it's just much more forgiving on the injury when you're running on the beach.

Many specialists encourage runners to wear sneakers for safety, although many runners prefer to go barefoot. If you are to go barefoot you must be advised to watch for broken glass or shells which can injure you foot. There are shoes now (Nike barefoot) which are designed for beach running and give you the feel of running barefoot but with support that can help prevent injury.

Although beach running offers many perks, a softer surface, tranquil scenery and sea breeze, the downside is that there are hardly any hills for runners to work other muscles in the body. Beach running is a great workout, but you should combine other workouts as well to get a full workout, try different train, beach one day, street running the next, and trail running the next. Also remember to stay hydrated, the cool ocean breeze may keep you cool and you may not realize how much sweat you are losing, always run with water while on the beach.

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