You Live in Florida, Run on the Beach
I’m living it up in the Northwest Florida Panhandle and I love running on the beach. In my opinion, there is nothing better than watching the sun come up over the water and being able to run barefoot in the sand and waves. If you are one of the athletes I coach you have seen this at least once on your training plan and here’s why.
First, running in the sand and skimming the water is a great feedback tool for you to use to improve your running technique. If your feet slip out from under your body (pushing off the ground) you will instantly lose your footing in the sand. If you notice splashes of water in front of you, your technique flaw is most likely reaching for the ground (landing in front of your hips). Both of these can be difficult to perceive and change while running on the pavement in running shoes because you have solid ground and protection to dampen the negative response.
If you still need an excuse to run on the beach, the second reason to run barefoot in the sand is to strengthen your lower extremity. As a physical therapist and running coach, I often recommend a more minimal running shoe to help with your body’s perception of the ground, but it is not always safe to transition straight into this type of shoe. Running in the sand helps strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of your legs and feet with very minimal impact because of the soft sand. It’s hard to find soft, burr-free grass in this area of Florida, so beach sand it is!
When I was first working on perfecting my Pose Method running technique I lived in Missouri. I had plenty of ice and snow to give me feedback on how and where my feet were landing. Since there isn’t much of that around here, I guess I’ll just have to suffer and run on the beach. Run happy. Run like a kid. Run well. And Run painfree.