Different Running Surfaces – Train to Avoid Injury
In fact, it is not the best ground to run on! Ask the athlete! (Since we moved to Sedona we do mostly trails… and we have seen a few professionals training out there!) Running on different surfaces will not only change the scenery, it changes everything. Trails work your leg muscles differently, grass and sandy beaches too! This will also keep us healthier and injury free.
Variation is the key here. Over repetition is tiring on the body. Pushing off on soft surfaces engages and strengthens more muscles which will lead to faster running times on the road. This will help your PR in return, but in a softer way and without the mental strength of forcing things but instead with enjoyment of doing something new and different.
Here are some ways to change up your running workout:
Compared to running on asphalt, running on grass produces less pressure on your knees. Grass is perfect for recovering from a long race you just performed or from an injury. Grass is also a perfect surface to use when you want to add some miles into your weekly miles total since the pressure will be softer on your knees.
Sand is a very difficult surface to run on due to its instability. It will strengthen all of the muscles in your feet and legs. Running in the sand also challenges your aerobic capacity faster due to the fact that you have to pull your legs up. Because of this, the effort is greater and you can burn more calories faster. It is a great place to run if you have limited time for the day.
Trail running is perfect to keep you focused and aware of your running. The extreme ranges of varied movement your hips, legs and feet will have to deal with strengthen your leg muscles AND it sharpens your focus. Focus is the key to performance: focus on breathing and feeling will always guide you higher in your running PR. Trail running will also build very strong runner’s legs in the long term. This, in turn, will make the pavement feel like a piece of cake!
Pavement is great for working on your speed. The equality and easiness of the surface really allows you to focus on your speed. It is a good place to also focus on your overall form. But don’t overdo it!
No matter what, changing your running surface will only give positive benefits.
Pavement is not necessarily the best training surface. So keep it in mind and integrate changes in your training. We would suggest going out on sand, grass or trail three times a week!
Enjoy the running!
DO YOU TRAIN ON DIFFERENT RUNNING TERRAIN? WHERE DO YOU MOSTLY RUN?