Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
“Running on the beach is a perfect way for runners to get in touch with their bodies,” says Dr. Mark Cucuzzella of West Virginia University School of Medicine. Sand running burns 30 percent more calories, so if you’re not used to running on the beach, you may be surprised at how difficult it is. Make a successful transition with these tips:
1. Skip sand running completely if you are prone to sprains or tendonitis, as unstable surfaces can aggravate these injuries. If you are dealing with some lingering aches and pains, the beach run can wait until you feel better.
2. Ease into your run by starting on firmer sand closer to the water. Consider running at low tide so there is more area of firm sand. You might find your ankles sinking the closer you get to high tide.
3. When transitioning to soft sand, make sure you’re running on an even surface, not a slant, which can mess with your natural running alignment.
4. Expect to feel tired earlier in your run than normal. Your feet and calves, especially, are working overtime to maintain stability. Plan for a shorter run that normal. Or you can add a mile on at the end of a run on pavement.
5. Take off your shoes in the final minutes of your run. It’s a different, relaxing way to work your leg muscles! You can even work your way to an entire run with no shoes.