One of the best things about running is that it can take place on a variety of surfaces. Roads, trails, and stadiums; even indoors on treadmills and tracks. Running on different surfaces has physical as well as mental benefits. Physically, running on softer surfaces will work a different set of muscles in the legs and feet than when you run on roads. Mentally, it can be a relief to have a change of scenery rather than always seeing the same thing every time you strap on your running shoes.
If you’re an adventurous runner, chances are that at some point you will find yourself running in sand. Sandy running surfaces include beaches, desert areas, riverbeds and many mountain trails. While running on sand has many of the benefits mentioned earlier, there can be downsides as well. One of the negative results is that sand can often find its way into your shoes, causing discomfort and possibly blisters. If this happens, it is best to stop and remove the sand particles as soon as safely possible.
How do I get sand out of my running shoes? The easiest way is to remove the shoes, tap the heel on a hard surface, and pour it out. If the soles inside your shoes are removable (and most are), take out the insert and repeat the tapping process. Then simply replace the sole insert, put the shoe back on and resume your run.
When your run is finished, you may want to vacuum out the inside of the shoes to get rid of any stubborn sand particles that didn’t want to dislodge earlier. You may even decide to wash the shoes themselves if they have been thoroughly coated with sand both inside and out. For tips on washing shoes properly, check out our post titled ” How Many Running Shoes You Should Have? Types & When To Replace Them!”
How to Keep Sand Out Of Running Shoes?
To keep sand out of your running shoes, the first thing to do is make sure they are tied snugly. If they are loose, it is easier for sand to find its way through the gaps.
Additionally, you may want to look online or at your local running store for a product called gaitors. Check out the gaitor we recommend (Amazon Link)
These pieces of equipment are strapped on your leg over the top of the shoe, acting as a barrier to foreign objects like sand, pebbles or sticks. They may be a little pricey, but the cost could be worth it if they prevent you from painful blisters or worse.
It is also a good idea to wear taller socks when running in sandy areas. Ankle socks are nice for some situations, but the shorter the sock, the easier it is for sand to find its way inside.
Can You Get Sand out Of Socks?
Sand is tricky and seems to find its way into almost every piece of clothing that you are wearing, but it is just as easily removed. You can easily get sand out of socks by washing them.
It is usually best to shake out the socks or other clothing articles first before putting them in the wash. If they are damp or wet after the run, wait for them to dry before attempting to shake them out. You’ll want to dislodge as much sand as you can before washing them so the excess sand doesn’t accumulate in the machine.
Find out more in our article “How Often to Clean Running and Cycling Shoes? How To Wash Them!“
Also, We recommend that you check out our post ” How to Make Running Shoes Waterproof? DIY Solutions!
Is Running on Sand Bad?
Running in sand is not bad, but there are a couple of items to be wary of. You’ll definitely want to watch out for debris in the sand. Also, the sand itself can get quite hot and can be sloped much more than a road or trail.
Since sand is constantly shifting with the wind, it’s easy to miss a sharp stone, thorn or piece of litter that is hiding just under the surface. At times, these can pierce through the bottom of a running shoe and cause injury to your foot.
This heat can transfer to the foot and make it more susceptible to blistering. To avoid this situation, take runs earlier in the day before the sun has had a chance to beat down on the sand for very long.
If the surface of the sand is angled or steeply pitched, running on it for too long can lead to possible injury to the hips or knees. Try to run in areas without much of a slope, and alternate directions whenever possible to balance out the stress on your joints.
Is It Harder to Run on Sand than On Pavement?
Running on sand is more difficult than running on the street. The soft surface provides more resistance than running on hard surfaces like pavement. As a result, more calories are burned in a 30-minute sand run than during a road run of the same amount of time. You’ll also likely find that you run slower in the sand.
For that reason, if choosing to run on sand for the first time, try running for a set number of minutes rather than focusing on the number of miles. That way you won’t be as likely to burn up more energy than you had intended, and you’ll still be able to enjoy the rest of your day.
Benefits of Running on Sand
The soft surface is much more forgiving on your feet and joints than when running on the streets. Also, the shifting surface of sand is a great way to strengthen muscles and ligaments around the ankles and throughout the feet.
This is great because runners with stronger connective tissues and muscles can run for longer distances and are less susceptible to injuries. Regularly running on surfaces with extra resistance like sand can even make us faster when we transfer back to solid ground. (Source)
An additional benefit to running on the sand is that the scenery is likely to be very different from what is normally seen when running on roads. Having the chance to take a break from the usual routine and surround yourself with trees and rock formations or to take a run by the water’s edge can be a great mental boost. Without these opportunities for change, its easy to find yourself falling into a rut.
Is Barefoot Running on Sand a Good Idea !
One of the best ways to increase the benefits of sand running is to remove your shoes and run while barefoot.
Having your feet in direct contact with the sand will allow your toes to flex and really dig into the loose surface. Besides being a great way to become a stronger athlete, running in this manner can be a lot of fun. Any time you can tap into your inner child while gaining physical and mental benefits is a winning combination!
t will take some time to toughen the soles of your feet and to build up the smaller muscles that will help to maintain your balance.
Now you know that running in sand can help you to become a physically stronger runner and can offer the mental boost of a change of scenery, Sure you might get a few grains of sand in your shoes along the way, but by using the tricks above you’ll be able to knock them out with no trouble. So don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of the chance to switch out your normal road run for a run in the sand. Your body will thank you for the change of pace!