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Tips for Running on the Beach

How to run in the sand

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Updated February 23, 2014

Running on the beach can not only be a peaceful, beautiful running experience, but it can also help make you a stronger runner. Running in the sand, especially dry sand, is tougher than running on pavement, so you'll definitely work harder on the beach. But being able to jump in the water after you're finished will make it worth your effort. Here are some tips for running on the beach:

Start on wet sand.

If you're new to beach running, start out on wet, firm sand -- it's much easier to run on than the soft, dry sand. You can slowly add 2 or 3-minute intervals on the softer sand, with longer recoveries on the wet sand. As you get used to the dry sand, you can start running on it for longer stretches.

Stick to flat ground.

Avoid running along a beach that's sloped because it can lead to injuries in your knees and ankles.

Don't expect to run your usual pace.

Again, running on the beach is harder than running on the pavement or on a treadmill, so you'll need to slow down. Don't overdo it.

Stay hydrated.

To prevent dehydration and other heat-related illnesses, make sure you hydrate properly and have plenty of water available. If there aren't any water fountains, you'll need to carry water or at least some cash to buy bottled water.

Protect your skin.

Running on the beach usually means that you're in direct sunlight, so make sure you protect your skin with a sunscreen of at least SPF 15. Try to avoid running between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's intensity is at its greatest.
More: Sun Protection Tips for Runners

Ease into barefoot running.

Barefoot running is a good way to build up strength in your feet. But because we're used to wearing shoes all the time, our feet are not nearly as strong as they could be. If you start running barefoot on the beach too fast or too frequently, you could injure yourself. Start out with short runs -- just 15 minutes or so -- to build up some strength in your feet. And, of course, be on the lookout for broken glass and sea shells.

Have a pair of beach running shoes.

There aren't specific shoes made for beach running, but you're better off dedicating a pair of your running shoes for beach runs. That way, you don't have to bother trying to get all the sand out of your shoes after your runs.

Also see:  Stay Cool During Hot Weather Runs

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