16km female leader

Expert tips for running on the beach


If you are a newcomer to running on the sand you will find it feels different and possibly harder to running on the road. Hevents spoke to three-time NSW 2km beach run champion Boyd Conrick during the week for some handy hints for conquering the softer surface. Here are some of his tips: 


LOOK FOR SOFT SAND. Beach running is best done on the soft sand, preferably on a nice level beach. Leave the shoes at home when doing soft sand runs and make your first foray into the sand arena nice and relaxed. Start off by walking for a few minutes, getting used to the feel of sand between your toes. When you are ready, hit your stopwatch and begin to jog at a steady pace.


SHORTER STRIDE LENGTH. Because soft sand is an unresponsive medium to run on and offers more resistance than the road, you will find that shortening your stride length and adopting a slightly faster cadence (that is your leg turn-over) will help your beach running.


SCRUNCH YOUR TOES. You may also find it easier to scrunch up your toes to better penetrate the soft surface and provide more stability with every stride.


LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS. Do not expect to set record times when running on the beach. At full speed, a runner that might be able to hold five-minute per kilometre pace for 5km on the road or track would be 15-25% slower on the beach and therefore more likely to run at about six-minute pace.


SET TIME TARGETS. Set targets on the beach by time rather than distance. For the more advanced runner standard workouts such as fartlek training or tempo runs can easily be inserted into the session and many Australian beaches have sand hill systems that offer a leg-burning option like no other.


RUN IN EXISTING STEPS. Running in footsteps or tyre tracks on the sand can make it easier as the sand will be slightly more compact and will offer less resistance.


EXPECT TO BE SORE. Expect a little soreness in the feet and lower legs in the day or two after you have a soft sand run but, like anything, with a few beach runs under your belt you will adapt nicely and begin to reap the rewards that go with a good beach workout.


Boyd Conrick is also a former professional triathlete and is now a triathlon coach with Training Smart Online (www.trainingsmartonline.com). 

Posted by: Renee Valentine
23 February 2016

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