When I first ran on a beach I did all the wrong things. I ran in flip flops and attempted to sprint. Let’s just say I had a mouthful of sand after I fell flat on my face. Running on the beach is a little daunting after that incident. I was recently in Ana Maria Florida this past weekend and I couldn’t resist a run. It was glorious outside. To top it off, the storm from the night before made the morning cool. The waves were fierce and the wind was strong. The beach called for me when I peered out the balcony window. I picked up my Nikes, suited up, and made my way to the beach.
Running on the beach is actually very beneficial for your posture. It forces you get the full motion of a run and strengthens your lower body. My upper body was straight and I landed on my mid-foot, which is the proper mechanics of foot striking. Believe me this is not easy. You will burn more running on the sand vs. on a hard surface, so this is where you can build power. I have the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this week and thought it will be a good start to kick off my training. On a side note, my running team and I would love your support to help us reach our donation goal for the fight against breast cancer. Please visit our team page. I was a little nervous at first, recalling my first beach run, but the scenery was too beautiful to pass up. I only made it two miles, but I felt fulfilled because my goal was to take it slow and make it a beach bum run.
Here are a couple tips to keep in mind for a beach run:
Hydrate – Consume enough water just like any other run. It’s tough, so make sure you are well hydrated to prevent cramps and heat exhaustion.
Sun block – You are running in direct sunlight, so use sun block. It’s easy to forget because you’re usually putting sunscreen when you lay-out on the beach. The same concept should go for running. Protect your skin, so you don’t come home looking like a lobster.
Take your time – There’s no need to rush. Running on the beach is not the same as running on a track. This is about strength and power training, so take your time to prevent injury.
Run with shoes – Some people like to run barefoot, but I recommend running with shoes especially if it’s your first time. If you do run barefoot get to know the surface and run closer to the water. Look out for glass pieces or broken shells. Although the beach was beautiful in Florida I noticed that there were tons of broken shells. Knowing how clumsy I am I will most likely get cut, so I decided to put on my running shoes.
Look at where you are going – The flatter the surface the easier the run, which is closer to the ocean. Watch out for waves or else you will be running in wet sneakers. If you’re in for a challenge run on dry sand. I did a combination, but mainly ran on dry sand. I noticed I used the strength of my legs to maneuver out of the sand. Be careful with this deep workout because the surface is uneven.
Enjoy the scenery and dip in – Soak in the beauty around you. Running on the beach is very peaceful and spiritual. Enjoy the view, the feel of the cool wind, and the sound of the waves crashing against the sand. After the run, rub your feet against the sand and dip in the ocean. It feels absolutely amazing.