Runners are heading to the beach to get a cool breeze along with peaceful views and sounds. It is great to exercise in a relaxing setting especially these days.
Before you get out there for your beach run there are a few things that you should know so that you can have a beneficial run without getting hurt. This is especially important if you don’t normally run on the sand. If you are new to sand running it is important to start slow and go short distances as your body adjusts to these new surfaces.
Soft sand is a great shock absorber, so it is excellent for those runners that have joint problems. You are less likely to have problems when compared to running on harder surfaces even including grass running. This was shown to be true in the 2017 European Journal of Sport Science article, where they found that sand running produced less damage to muscles and the musculoskeletal system. In addition, it is harder to run in soft sand, so you get more cardiovascular exercise and you work many new muscles that you don’t work during a normal run. This occurs because of the instability of the surface causing different hip and leg muscles to engage to keep you balanced. But these benefits come with some downsides.
The downside to running on the softer sand is that you are prone to injuries such as ankle sprains, tendon problems, and even foot and ankle fractures due to the instability of the softer sand. So for more stability, it is recommended that you run on the harder sand closer to the water’s edge. While running on the edge you are typically at a slight angle so it is recommended that you run in both directions (out and back) to equalize the strain on each foot, ankle, and leg.
To prevent an injury, it is also a good idea to wear shoes especially closer to the water where there are sharp objects such as shells and glass. While many choose to run barefoot in the softer sand, this can be a problem for many. The foot is very unstable in the soft sand especially if you have flat feet. So, a beach running shoe is recommended. You can also consider a running shoe with a mesh that keeps out most of the sand but will let the water drain out. Sand in your shoes can cause skin injuries from friction so some people will use skin protectants or specialized socks to prevent friction injuries to the foot.
As mentioned, you will be working different body parts and muscles if you decide to beach run. It is always a good idea to stretch before and after a run but this is essential if you will be taking on beach running. You will need to loosen the leg and hip muscles. You can do squats, figure 4's for the piriformis and hamstring stretches. It is important to stabilize your ankles as ankle sprains and injuries are some of the most common problems caused by running. And ankle injuries can be debilitating.
We hope that you are getting out and exercising and perhaps you are beach running. If you experience pain or injuries from running, Call Dr. Cruz for an appointment. Dr. Cruz is a runner and understands your needs and the desire to get back to running without pain.
Dr. Cruz is currently seeing patients in Brandon and Zephyrhills and is offering Telehealth appointments. The offices are taking full COVID-19 precautions. You can contact his office here.