Do you enjoy running but get stick of pounding the pavement? Add some variety to your routine and get into soft sand running. We live in an amazing country and summer truly is the best time of year. Most of us are no stranger to a jog along the water, but running on the soft sand can really freshen up your routine. And there are so many fantastic beaches on the coast, we are spoilt for choice!
Here are some tips to get started.
As enjoyable as soft sand running is, the unstable surface can be quite challenging if you’re new to it. My advice is always start with a good quality slow warm up. For beginners, this may be a fast walk or slow jog on the hard sand for one lap of the beach or 5-10 minutes to prepare the mind and body. Then, like with any other type of running, progress accordingly. For example, add in a second or third lap on the soft sand or try a few interval sprints during or at the end.
Training on soft sand has a wealth of benefits that are rarely known. For example, running on a hard surface at a speed of 10km/hr burns between 300 and 400 calories per 30 minutes of activity, depending on your weight. A 60kg person is on the lower end of the calorie burning scale and a person weighing 85kg will typically burn more. Running on sand however burns 1.6 times the number of calories than running on a hard surface. Running barefoot on the sand also gives a sense of freedom and can be hugely enjoyable.
One of the many benefits of soft sand running is leg strength. Your core, glutes, hamstrings, hips, quadriceps, calves, and ankles all get a workout. The workout is increased when running on sand – not to mention, much softer on the joints, knees, and shins. This will help you to run for years to come.
For those of you who want a challenge, sand hills make the ultimate hill sprint tracks – and there are plenty on offer in Australia. But the real test in any training is to set yourself a true goal. There are few tougher than the superb soft sand races available, such as the Bondi Barefoot Bolt (in May) and the Manly Soft Sand Classic (in June).