Running in the sand, good or bad?
Running enthusiasts are in the habit of taking their running shoes with them every time they travel. This way they can run in new places and do not have to lose the rhythm of their training if the trip lasts more than a day. runners are like that!
Many of them, engage in running on a daily basis and if they are on vacation at the beach they often do it on the sand. However, is it advisable to run on sand?
In general, the basic idea of a runner is that running on sand is good for two reasons: psychological and physical. In fact, running on a beautiful beach in the morning or at sunset relaxes and gives positive feelings. In addition, many people believe that running in the sand maximizes the effects of training, increases muscle strength and exercises proprioception.
However, there are some risks associated with this activity: it requires excessive effort for the triceps suralis (the lower leg musculature) to contract and for those who run barefoot, it completely varies the type of running with the risk of injury.
Running on sand requires great muscular effort and great care must be taken with the joints, which are not normally accustomed to a terrain so different from asphalt. The strain can be too much for the tendons and ankles.
This does not mean that running in the sand hurts or should not be done. Conversely, expert runners can use sand training as a strength-enhancing cross-training workout. Obviously it must be taken into account that the performance in terms of walking times will be lower, but there will be advantages from the proprioceptive point of view. Running on sand trains the ankle to adapt more easily to alternative terrain.
Another advantage of running on the sand is that on the shore and without shoes, the feet come into contact with the water, which favors venous return.
Some tricks for running in the sand:
- Warm up: since muscular effort increases, it is advisable, before starting to run on this terrain, to warm up for a few minutes on asphalt to prepare the muscles, which are never sufficiently prepared for the effort.
- Do not do it repeatedly: if you notice a slight joint disorder, it is better to reduce training in the sand and alternate it more often with road or unpaved terrain training. Pine forests in maritime areas are perfect, where the soil is more cushioned than asphalt and reduces the impact.
- Progressively: the body must adapt to the terrain and the extra effort it has to undergo, especially if you choose to run without shoes. It is best to start with short distances and adjust the pace from time to time.
- Choose the area where the sand is wet and compact near the water. It will be easier to run here.
- Avoid steep sandy trails: sand does not provide adequate support for feet and ankles on such trails and therefore increases the risk of joint damage.
- Better to use running shoes, the same ones used for running on asphalt or dirt.
- Beware of heat stroke: in summer the temperature can rise suddenly and you should be careful with the signals transmitted by the body. Hydrate often and avoid the central hours of the day.