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1. Proper Form While Running
We have discussed proper form the past few weeks. When you have proper form… it makes running easier and you are less prone to injury.
This week I will be talking about Running Surfaces!
More often than not, where we run has just as much importance as how we run. Running on the wrong surface could be cause for injury.
Thankfully, there are multiple surfaces to run on that are within the means of most runners/people. Here are a few types of running surfaces and my personal take on them:
Types of Running Surfaces
Grass ~ Running on grass is the easiest on your joints and feet. In my opinion, it is the BEST running surface! When running on grass your muscles actually work harder – which ultimately helps you when you run on the road. The CONS for running on grass: you need to be watchful for holes and bumps on the ground that could cause you to twist an ankle. I enjoy taking my shoes and socks off after a long hard run and taking a cool down run barefoot while running on grass!
Trail Running ~ What better way to enjoy God’s great creation, than by running the beaten path and seeing a wide variety of nature while exercising? Trail running has a variety of surfaces from dirt, mud, wood chips, and more… so you never know exactly what type of running surface you will get. Besides the asthetic nature beauty of running on trails, you need to be careful of objects that could cause you to injur yourself: tree roots, slippery leaves, etc.
Dirt ~ Running on dirt trails and paths is relatively easy on your body (like grass and trail running). Ever wonder why alot of elite runners run on the side of the roads? I always did!!
Asphalt ~ We have all run on a paved road before… after a while it hurts! Most roads are banked on one side or the other (to help water runoff); avoid the embankment (side of the road) because that is where you could develop a foot, ankle, knee, hip or muscle injury from the imbalanced, awkward stride. If you can stay in the middle of the road (or find a level running surface). Also, try to run on the same side – if you are running a down and back route – alternating which side of your body has the awkward stride. CONS for road running: running in the summer can be a scorcher!!
Track ~ Running outdoors is not only fun but a great way to get fresh air and exercise. Running on a track is great for speed work and intervail training because it is very easy to measure the distances you are running. However, depending on the distances you are running – running in a circle can be pretty repetetive and boring. Plus the turns every 200 meters can cause injury or stress on your joints/body. My opinion is that it is best to use the track for short distances and speedwork.
Treadmill ~ If you are lucky enough to own a machine or have a gym membership; this is probably one of the easiest ways to get a workout in – and get to your desired pace and distance. It is fairly easy on your joints as most treadmills come with shock absorbers. However, depending on your distance… running in one spot for any duration of time can be fairly monatonous and boring. My take is to keep treadmill running for speedwork.
Sand ~ If you are looking for a great challenging calf workout during your run… this is it! It is hard on your body – every part!! It might look cool to see some famous actors running along the beach – however, it can really do damage if you are not careful. If you do decide to run on the beach/sand – try to run as close to the water where the sand is hard (not soft).
Concrete ~ Bad! Bad! Bad! This includes sidewalks!! Bad! Bad! Bad! Running on this surface is 10x harder on your body than running on asphalt!! The only pro I can come up with is that you are usually safe from oncoming traffic.
Stay tuned next week for tips on proper running form: Hill Running!!
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. -Mark Twain
Have a blessed week!
Disclaimer: I am not a fitness professional. The opinions on my blog are written and based solely from my personal experience and what works for me.)