Hit the beach and get into some barefoot soft sand running this spring, because the best things in life are still free.
Ever observed one of those ripped, tanned lifesaver types springing lightly across the softest, foot-sinky white sand wearing nothing but a pair of budgie smugglers…?
Fuggedabout it, right?
Ok we’re here to tell you, soft sand running is not that much of a stretch! The greatest thing about moving across the soft sand is that you don’t have to be Hugh Jackman (who loves a soft sand run and bodysurf at Bondi) to reap instant benefits. Walk, shuffle or sprint, it’s all good for you, just hit the beach.
Ok, it may look like the most free and easy form of exercise on Earth, but chances are you will find your first soft sand run a little tough, especially after a bit of winter indulgence. Soft sand running is a full body workout that does your insides as well. It’s like squeezing yourself out like a sponge.
But, after sweating out those toxins and replacing all the carbon dioxide in your body with fresh, positive-ionised sea air, you will feel… sensational!
A COMPLETE Workout
“The benefits of soft sand running are many,” says 12WBT Trainer Greta Truscott, “including amazing cardio fitness.”
Soft sand running is great for your joints. “The soft sand surface and barefoot running means your stabilising muscles and joints work a little bit harder to keep you balanced. It’s insanely awesome strength work for your legs” Greta points out.
In no time at all, a soft sand regime will tone up your whole body. “You’ll feel it in your calves, butt, abs and even your upper body as you work hard to move across the soft sand,” Greta says. Suck that core in as you shuffle, and your wobbly winter porridge will melt away like magic.
Soft sand running will amp your hard surface running fitness to the next level! Greta says, “Barefoot running is great for developing your running technique. You’ll find running on the hard surface so much easier after soft sand training, and you’ll be able to cover more distance for the same amount of effort.”
It may load you up and push you harder, but the soft landing makes soft sand running considerably lower impact than running on hard surfaces, Greta confirms; which is great if you need to mix up your training.
Soft Sand Running 101
Have we whetted your appetite for a bit of beach time yet? If you’re keen to spice up your training with the occasional soft sand run, check out Greta’s tips:
- Like anything new, you need to practice, down at the beach on the “soft” sand.
- Cover up – if you’re not at iron man challenge level, there’s no need for budgie smugglers. Wear a hat, shorts and a loose light t-shirt. Wear UV protection sunnies to protect against glare, and use an invisible zinc on your face and chest.
- Run in bare feet, but tape any blister prone areas, or run in socks until your feet toughen up.
- Select a beach or section of sand that has a level surface, so you’re not running on an angle.
- Focus on a short, quick cadence, keeping light on your feet and the posture up tall, with relaxed shoulders.
- Start off with a little bit of running and mostly walking, and gradually build up your feet, ankle and calf strength until you can run consistently.
- For weak ankles and calves, also work on strengthening daily, via standing calf raises. Start with double calf raises from the floor and progress to single leg, then working from a step.
- If you need to, buy ankle support bandages from the chemist to protect injured or weak muscles until they strengthen.
- Bear in mind soft sand running is hard work and the pace is slower than on hard ground, so you won’t complete as many km’s. Go by time completed rather than distance.
- After a good warm up, you can throw in some sprint intervals for a cardio boost.
- Once you’re in shape, max out your soft sand workout by running up some sand dunes!
Salt of the Earth
What’s not to love? Pop your headphones on and crank up the summer tunes for a bit of epic beach time. The simplicity of being barefoot in nature, the sun overhead, the ocean breeze on your skin, shuffling past people from all walks of life as they enjoy the Aussie sand and surf. Young or old, you can run on freezing cold days do and on scorchers. A run topped off with a salty dip – what could be better?
In fact, going for a “softie” – either alone or with a friend – may just become one of your favourite things to do.