The beach is for leisure. Kicking back, relaxing in the sun and enjoying a chill day in the open, outdoor air. But serious beach lovers know that the shoreline is as good a place as any to exercise too. The best part? After a long run on the sand — and maybe a few push-ups or jumping jacks for good measure — you can go ahead and plop down in your beach chair or dive into the water for a relaxing swim. You deserve it.
But before you get to that point, it’s important that you learn how to run on the beach. Unlike the paved road, track or treadmill, sand is a fickle and unpredictable terrain, offering a mix of hard and soft surfaces to keep you on your toes. Because of this, preparation is key. Here are a few of the most important considerations that must be taken into account before you log your first beach run.
Running on the Beach: Tips and Gear
- Mix it Up — One of the coolest things about the beach is that it provides a few different surfaces that can create challenging exercises at different points of your workout. Running on soft sand will be much more of a challenge than running on hard, wet sand, so don’t be afraid to mix it up. When you’re getting started, practice the “zig-zag” method: zig-zagging between hard and soft sand for a few minutes each.
- Bring Your Phone — You’re going to want to rock your Armpocket armband while running on the beach so you can crank your favorite playlists and log your miles. Remember, the beach is an out-and-back route — that is, you won’t loop back around to your starting point — so you need to keep track of how far you’ve gone to ensure that you can make it back once you turn around.
- Know the Tides — The ideal time to run is when the tide is at its lowest or in the hour before or after. This guarantees that there’s a good amount of space between the water and the soft sand. The strip of water that’s hard but not wet is the perfect place to blaze a trail, but that may not be possible if tides are high or the beach is busy.
- Wear Shoes — As tempting as it is, we don’t recommend running barefoot even on the softest sand, as it could put extra strain on your feet and ankles. Shoes are crucial to your success, especially when you’re just getting started, because they help stabilize your feet until your body adjusts to the new terrain.
Oh yeah, one more very important tip: don’t forget to relax and enjoy your surroundings! Even though you’re sweating it out and logging your daily exercise, try to take in the beauty of the seaside and the relaxed vibe of the beach.