Last Updated on June 29, 2023
Sand running is a form of off-road running that involves running on soft sand, typically found on beaches or sand dunes. Sand is a soft, unstable surface that can pose a great challenge to runners.
The beach may look like an inviting place to run, but the truth is that running on sand requires more energy expenditure than running on a hard surface, and because of this it running on soft sand offers a range of physical and mental benefits.
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Techniques for Sand Running
When running on sand, it is important to use proper technique to avoid injury and maximize the benefits of this workout, as the sand gives way underfoot and requires more effort to maintain balance and momentum. Some tips for effective sand running include:
- Shortening your stride to avoid sinking into the sand and maintain balance.
- Landing on the forefoot instead of the heel to reduce impact and engage more muscles.
- Engaging your core and upper body to maintain stability and proper form.
- Running in the compacted areas where the sand is firmer and easier to run on.
Beach jogging has many benefits including increased calorie burn, improved athletic performance, stronger smaller muscles in the lower body, and a softer landing for weight-bearing joints.
However, there are things to consider such as avoiding shells and sharp objects, running on wet sand for stability, starting with shoes, and finding a level surface.
People with ankle, knee, or hip injuries should avoid running on the beach, as well as those with medical conditions that affect the heart, blood vessels, or breathing. Before starting, make sure to warm up and start slowly, gradually increasing intensity. Alternating between hard and soft sand and wearing shoes are good tips to follow.
Benefits of Running on Sand
In addition to providing a unique challenge, sand running offers a number of physical and mental benefits. Running on sand provides a great cardiovascular workout due to the added resistance, and strengthens muscles and bones as the softer surface of the sand requires the body to work harder to maintain balance and stability.
Sand running also reduces the impact on joints compared to running on hard surfaces, reducing the risk of injury. Additionally, sand running can result in an increased calorie burn as the body works harder to run on the sand.
As a workout, running in the sand requires greater activation of the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, and also works your core and stabilizing muscles in the ankles and hips. The give of the sand requires your muscles to work harder, which can help strengthen your legs and core, and improve balance.
Additionally, running on sand can be an enjoyable and scenic experience which provides a range of mental benefits, helping you relax and de-stress. Just remember to wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, and choose to run in the morning or late evening when the beach is less crowded and the sand isn’t hot from the sun.
Sand Running Shoes
Sand running shoes are specifically designed for running on sand, which can be challenging due to the instability and shifting of the surface. These shoes typically have a number of features that help to provide stability and support, such as well-cushioned soles, sturdy uppers, and good traction.
Some sand running shoes are also designed to be lightweight and breathable, which is important in hot, desert environments. Choosing the right sand running shoes is crucial, as it can make a big difference in terms of comfort, performance, and injury prevention.
Oboz Sawtooth II Low B-Dry
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 7
Xero Barefoot Shoes Terraflex
Beach jogging with or without shoes?
In addition to traditional running shoes, some people also prefer to run barefoot on the beach, as it allows them to feel more connected to the ground and provides a more natural experience.
However, it’s important to note that running barefoot can increase the risk of injury, especially on rough or sharp surfaces.
Another option is wearing sand socks, which offer some protection for the feet while still allowing for a more natural feel.
Sand socks are typically made of lightweight, breathable material and are designed specifically for running on sand, making them a good choice for those who enjoy beach runs.
It’s up to personal preference whether to run in shoes or barefoot. If the sand is compact, shoes might be more comfortable. However, if the sand is deep or soft, running barefoot might be easier. But if you haven’t run barefoot before, it’s best to transition slowly and avoid adding a new stress to your body.
How Many Calories Can You Burn Running on Sand?
Running on sand can be a great way to increase your calorie burn compared to running on a regular surface like pavement or a treadmill.
The instability and shifting of the sand surface require the body to work harder to maintain balance and stability, which leads to an increased energy expenditure. On average, a person can burn around 10-20% more calories running on sand than they would running on a hard surface.
For example, a person weighing 150 pounds can burn around 470-535 calories per hour running on sand compared to around 400-450 calories per hour running on a hard surface. Running uphill on a sand dune will burn even more calories.
Keep in mind that the exact number of calories burned depends on factors such as weight, speed, and incline. Running up sand dunes can also add an extra challenge, leading to an even higher calorie burn.
Overall, beach jogging can be a great exercise for weight loss. Running in the sand provides an added challenge to the muscles and can increase the number of calories burned compared to running on a hard surface. Additionally, the natural surroundings of the beach can provide a motivating and enjoyable workout environment to push you further in your trainings.
Sand Running & Beach Jogging FAQs
How much slower is running on sand compared to running on pavement or another surface?
The exact speed difference can vary depending on the individual and the specific sand conditions, but on average, running on sand requires 1.6-2 times more energy and can be up to 2-2.5 times slower than running on a hard surface such as pavement.
How can I train for running in sand?
To train for running in sand, it is recommended to incorporate sand-specific exercises and workouts into your training regimen.
These can include running on sand dunes or hills, doing plyometric exercises, and incorporating resistance training for your legs and core muscles.
Additionally, you can also try doing short intervals of sand running during your regular runs.
How does running in the sand help?
Running in sand provides a number of benefits compared to running on a hard surface such as pavement. It can improve your balance, coordination, and stability, as well as increase the strength and endurance of your legs, feet, and core muscles. Sand running can also provide a low-impact workout, reducing the risk of injury to your joints.
What should I look for when choosing shoes for running on sand?
When choosing shoes for running on sand, look for shoes with good grip and stability, as well as a durable sole that can handle the abrasiveness of sand. Shoes with a wider base can also help provide stability on uneven sand. Additionally, shoes with a mesh upper or breathable material can help prevent sand from entering the shoes.
Can I run barefoot on soft sand?
Running barefoot on soft sand is possible, but it is not recommended for several reasons.
Running barefoot on sand can increase the risk of cuts, blisters, and other injuries to your feet.
Additionally, running barefoot on sand can also increase the risk of foot infections due to the presence of bacteria and other harmful substances in the sand.
How can I keep sand out of my running shoes?
To keep sand out of your running shoes, consider wearing shoes with a tighter fit or a neoprene sleeve that covers the top of the shoe. You can also try using a waterproof spray on your shoes to repel sand and other debris.
Additionally, shaking out your shoes after each run can also help remove any accumulated sand.
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