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Unless you live by the sea all year, coastal jogging will help you discover a running environment that is an ideal escape and is constantly changing. The coastline changes with the tides and time of day. This is ideal for keeping you motivated and giving fresh enjoyment to your usual routes.
Running on sand requires more comprehensive, intense muscle exertion than road or trail running. This is an excellent way to strengthen your muscles, especially calf muscles and quadriceps. You could even try running with your legs submerged to mid-calf level. You will see that water exerts unexpectedly high resistance!
Running on sand, i.e. unstable ground, strengthens the stabilizing muscles in your ankles. This is a useful exercise for road runners, who tend to overlook this aspect of training. Trail runners will also love rocky or pebble beaches.
By doing your general physical preparation on the sand, you can work on your proprioception (perception of the body in motion) while also developing a range of essential educational exercises.
Running on loose ground cushions the shocks you feel full-on during road running. You will appreciate this alternative all the more if you suffer from medical conditions such as periostitis.
Since you are by the sea, it would be a pity not to dip your toes into a few centimetres of cool water. Do this as much as you like since it is excellent for venous return. You will also enjoy a very pleasant cooling sensation, which is nice if the weather is hot. Try running barefoot for guaranteed sensations!
Does your beach continue into an undulating coastal path? This is ideal for developing a range of effective, recreational fartlek sessions. Another option is short, demanding training sessions on the dune slopes.
You should always build up your running gradually, especially beach running. Although soft ground cushions impact, it tends to stretch your Achilles tendon. Running barefoot is also a major change for your body and may be a source of injury. Don't overdo beach running. Although you can run some sections barefoot, don't run all the time like this, especially if you are not used to it or you suffer from tendon disease.
You will notice that beaches include various types of ground: dry, soft sand, and wet sand of variable firmness. The best training ground is wet sand. This makes a transition from the firm ground you normally run on. Soft sand is very demanding and you probably won't be able to do all your jogging on this zone.
As we have seen, beaches are great for barefoot running. But be very careful where you put your feet. You will often come across sharp stones and shells, which could spoil your enjoyment of coastal jogging.
If there are any rocky sections, pay great attention to your grip. This can change suddenly, especially when seaweed is present.
The temperature can rise quickly in summer and beach running is very refreshing. But remember to take some water with you so you can drink regularly. You should also protect your skin, at least by applying sun cream or wearing UV-proof clothing. UV rays are reflected by sand and water.
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