Why soft sand running is the killer summer workout you’ve been waiting for
For many people, running is a little bit like going to the dentist – you know you should be going often, but the thought of actually doing it is akin to tearing one tooth out at a time.
“Sand running is a great bang-for-your-buck aerobic workout, you’re constantly working against gravity, and you’re working all of these stabilisers at a level you haven’t before” Atkinson tells Coach.
“It’s also a brilliant alternative for road runners looking to build a little bit of strength in their legs that really tends to benefit you in the tail-end of races.”
Original interview at Nine.com.au Coach published by Stuart Marsh
Atkinson’s top four tips to nail soft sand running
1. Point your toes like a ballerina
Because soft sand is such an unstable surface that tends to give way under your foot, you’ll generally want to have as much “grip” as possible. To do this, Atkinson recommends pointing your toes out for maximum traction.
“Pointing your toes out when you run gives you a much better purchase on the sand. You’ll want to be up running on your forefoot through the sand to get in and out of the hole quicker,” says Atkinson.
2. Take shorter strides
Unlike running a marathon on the road or sprinting laps around an athletics track, the beach is no place to be taking long, graceful strides.
“Focus on getting a really high turnover of your legs, which is where you take a much shorter stride and actually make contact with the sand more often,” explains Atkinson. “Long strides on sand tend to halt your momentum.”
3. If you can, follow someone’s footsteps
If you’re running on a busy beach, Atkinson says you’re in luck – because running in someone else’s footsteps is a great way to conserve some energy.
“Whether it’s someone’s footsteps, a tyre track or even where the wind blows sand out of gully, you should be constantly looking for small patches of harder sand,” says Atkinson.
“That way you can transfer more power out of your legs, and it doesn’t soak up as much energy.”
4. For best results, slip off your shoes
Thankfully, soft sand running is just about the cheapest exercise in the world – you don’t need any shoes, any equipment and hell, you don’t even need clothes if you’re quick enough to run away from people wanting to shoo you off.
“The ‘shoes or no shoes’ debate can be tough, but you’ll find all the quickest sand runners don’t wear any shoes,” says Atkinson.
“There’s something about the extra grip your toes can give in sand that really helps, and you don’t tend to blister much, if at all.”
Read full sand running training article at Coach