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Beach Running – Pros And Cons

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Running along the beachfront offers something not many stretches of road can offer: a sense of peace and serenity that is almost second to none. The different scenery, the possibility of seeing dolphins behind the surf, the melodic and therapeutic motion of the waves and the flicker to tight on the water at dawn or sunset make running on the beach very appealing – not to mention the freshness of the breeze (or howling wind if you are in Port Elizabeth or Cape Town on a bad day. Adding this as a routine to your holiday would be good for the body as welt as the mind. However, you can take it up a notch and step down onto the sand.

Running on sand, however, has it’s own benefits and drawbacks. t is important to note that there is a marked difference between running on the harder, more —compressed sand near to the water as opposed to the dry, loose sand. It is easier, and probably better for the body over the course of a tong run to run along the harder sand.

Sand near the water at tow tide is the hardest and most level — so knowing the tide reports is a good thing, and running around an hour or two from the lowest point is probably the best for an enjoyable run and ultimately better experience. Knowing the tide reports is important for another reason. Going off on a tong run along an abandoned beach and around coves and rocks can become disastrous if,on your way back, the tide comes back in.

Once you’re in the zone you can really turn up the heat on the beach. Running for an extended period at or near normal training pace on the hard, compacted sand followed by one minute as hard as you can on the dry, soft sand (repeated) will deliver a serious workout.

You can do the same with sand dunes if there are any nearby. Always wear sunscreen, stay hydrated, wear comfortable shades or a cap and enjoy the new scenery and hardcore beach workout. Running with light trail shoes on the harder sand may well be more tolerable for longer distances. when it comes to deciding whether you’re going to run on the beach, consider the pros and cons.

A Lot will come down to whether you’re carrying dysfunction, and whether you have strength or mobility issues. Just because you are at the beach, don’t forget the basics such as mobility and warm-ups. Finally, all the sports that require you to run, jump or change direction on sand for extended periods will have the same benefits and drawbacks as running on the beach, some more pronounced and others less so.

Benefits Of Beach Running:

1.) Running on sand uses more energy than running on firmer surfaces. Some studies claim as much as one and a half times more energy is used.

2.) Running on sand is easier on the joints because there is Less impact on the body as the feet dig down into the sand.

3.) The increase in time where the feet are in contact with the sand means that there is Less rebound energy” from the sand compared to a hard surface. This means that the hip flexors, glutes, quads and calves all engage more than they would on a normal run. Therefore athletes would develop more power
running on this surface.

4.) Running barefoot on sand forces smaller stabilising muscles to do more work than conventional running. Therefore, if a runner includes small amounts of beach running into a running plan. and gradually works up, then beach running may well help towards preventing common road running injuries. However. too much, too fast will have the opposite effect.

Drawbacks Of Running On The Beach:

1.) Studies have shown that barefoot beach running may allow the athlete to pronate their foot for a Longer period during ground contact time and thus cause more injuries to the ankles or knees than may have occurred on harder surfaces.

2.) If runners are pronating because they feel Like it is possible on sand they, may develop shin splints.

3.) while its accepted that there is Less impact on the body running on beach sand, the actual skeletal stress is higher and this carries an increased risk of injury.

4.) The smaller stabilising muscles are often very weak in road runners, and suddenly switching to Long sand runs could result in overuse injuries.

5.) If a runner naturally heel strikes, their heel will be deep in the sand before they attempt to push off with the front of their foot. This requires coming out of a deep stretch in the calf, so strains and injuries to the calf and Achilles are more Likely. Similarly, if the runner is barefoot, the plantar fascia is being exposed to stretching in ways that are unfamiliar to those conditioned for road running. Again, going too far, too quick may therefore Lead to injury.

6.) An inclined shoreline means that the runner will be running for extended distances with one leg Landing higher than the other. This throws off natural biomechanics and can expose any underlying issues.

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