Ah, Summer! If you are like so many people I know, you are headed to the beach at least once this Summer. For some of you, a weeklong vacation at the shore is in store for you in August. What an awesome way to enjoy this heat wave! But guess what else you can do on the beach where the breeze is cool and the water is refreshing? Run!
What’s that you say? You’re intimidated by beach running? Don’t be. It’s an awesome pseudo-cross training exercise for your legs and a great alternative to hot pavement runs. I’ll fill you in on the tips that will help you get through those sandy runs feeling great.
First, hydrate and apply sunscreen liberally. There’s no shade at the beach and the same goes for water fountains. Bring your own hydration and make sure there are electrolytes in it. Ditto goes for shades or a hat. That beautiful ocean/lake/bay is a reflective body of water and you can burn your eyeballs if you’re not careful. Plus, you’ll look a lot more bad-ass if you are wearing shades running down the beach.
Wear your regular running clothes, not a swimsuit. Swimsuits are NOT designed to wick moisture, nor are they very supportive little garments. If you’re dying for a post-run swim, do it in your running clothes! THEY can double as sweet swim gear. Some of my favorite lululemon gear could definitely pass for cute beachwear.
For an easier run: wear your sneakers and run close to the water at low tide where the sand has been packed down by the waves. This will make for a harder surface on which to run and it’ll be much more comfortable for your feet. This also means that you will need to check the tide schedule at your beach. No biggie. Ask the lifeguards for information.
For a tougher run: run barefoot on the softer sand or near the water at high tide. This will be much more challenging, but that may be what you’re looking for, who knows? Since every single inch of your little feet will be coming into contact with the sand, there is one thing you should know: the skin under the knuckle-like portion of your toes is delicate and does not normally experience any friction. This is a prime spot for blisters. Apply Body Glide liberally to avoid said blisters. Trust me. They hurt.
Because beach running is so very different from road running, plan on going out and back for the same amount of time you would devote to a regular run that day. That way, you’re putting the time into your workout and not obsessing about the distance. Remember to enjoy yourself! If you’re dying out there, turn around and walk home. Jump in the water to cool off. Try again tomorrow.
Now you’re ready to run! Have fun! And maybe leave the iPod at home and run to the sounds of the ocean.
Now go out and run!