9 Tips for Running on the Beach (and Enjoying It)

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As the weather warms up, many people find themselves traveling to the beach. After the long winter on the east coast, we all could use more beach time.

Along with traveling to the beach, many people decide to work out on the beach too. Have you ever wanted to run down the beach but didn’t know where to start?

It can be a great workout, however, like anything it’s important to ease into it and not jump right in. Otherwise, you can set yourself up for a serious injury like plantar fasciitis!

Here are a few tips to get started running on the beach and maximizing your workout.

How to start beach running

Beach running can be an excellent workout for any runner of any level, but jumping into it can make you more susceptible to injury.

Select a good beach

Look for a beach that meets the needs of your run. Find a beach that has a long shoreline. You’ll want to make sure there aren’t many rocks, shells, or barriers.

Another aspect to consider is how crowded the beach is. I can personally tell you unless you want to hurdle children, running down Virginia Beach or any beach that is crowded is not a great idea.

Sand type matters

You want to look for a beach that has a packed sand surface. It will produce the same benefits as running on the trails. Don’t run on deep, unstable, or loose sand as that can cause you to be more susceptible to injury or accidents.

Low tide can create firmer sand

Running near the shore during low tide is one way to ensure firm, packed, sand.

Begin gradually

This tip is true for most running, but beginning slowly will help reduce injuries on beaches. Beach running requires the use of different muscles. Like jumping into any training, jumping into beach running can cause an injury.

Keep runs short because the added stress on your body does matter. You don’t run hill or speed workouts every day and you don’t need to rush into running on the beach every day.

Shoes matter

It can be tempting to run barefoot, however, keep in mind if you run in a supportive shoe during other runs, it’s a very drastic change to run barefoot down the beach. Barefoot running, in general, takes time to work into.

As someone who works in a run specialty store, my recommendation is to always get fitted for a pair of shoes and use the older pair to run on the beach. Especially if you are running on a beach that there are a few shells or rocks.

Shells and rocks hurt (a lot!)

If you decide to run barefoot on the beach, keep in mind there will probably be shells or rocks.

If you’re running barefoot is especially important to choose a beach without many rocks and shells. Pay attention to where you are running, so you don’t accidentally step on them.

Keep engaged and an eye out for obstacles that you might not find while running on the pavement.

Stay cautious of the weather

Due to less shade and reflected solar rays from the water, the sun can be more damaging on a beach run than a typical street or trail run. Running in the heat can cause heat exhaustion quicker.

Don’t run in extreme temperatures and heat like on a typical beach afternoon: Perhaps you could run earlier or later to avoid heat injuries. Also keep in mind the tides and the waves. Everything is magnified on the beach.

Wear sunscreen

Just like when you are outdoors, it’s especially important to remember to wear sunscreen on the beach. It’s much easier to get burnt so don’t be afraid to apply more than you typically need. Also, don’t forget to apply it to the top of your head. A few other ways to beat the sun is wearing a hat as well as sunglasses.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is always important. On the beach, the conditions can be much more magnified so staying hydrated both with liquids as well as electrolytes is important.

In all, running on the beach can be beneficial to your training, but like anything, it’s important to ease into it and to take steps to prepare for it.

Hollie Sick is an avid runner who’s completed more than 40 half marathons. Read her blog, or follow her on Facebook.

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