Sand between my toes

I’d nev­er gone for a run on sand before. I’ve heard some advo­cates of bare­foot run­ning claim that run­ning bare­foot on sand encour­ages good form, improves ground feel, and so on. Since now I live so near to a stretch of beach it seems that I have a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to get some vari­ety in my work­outs, even more so because I’m not in a posi­tion yet to be work­ing on get­ting fast. Keep­ing it inter­est­ing while pos­si­bly help­ing to improve form is a great plan. I can’t imag­ine that run­ning on sand could be bad for me.

Truth to tell, this was most­ly a walk. Rather than start out run­ning and then take walk breaks, I went out walk­ing and did­n’t plan to try to run until I got to the beach. I want­ed my legs (and lungs) some­what fresh when I start­ed on the sand, and fur­ther­more I need­ed to get my legs warmed up before I was going to be capa­ble of any­thing like run­ning. After my run on Wednes­day my legs were stiff and sore for days — I was still hav­ing trou­ble just walk­ing or get­ting up from a seat­ed posi­tion four days later.

As much as I had to get out to work the sore­ness out, it was also impor­tant for me to take it easy. Even in the best of form it is a good idea to approach new envi­ron­ments in small dos­es. This end­ed up being a walk at about 18min/mile for all but about a half mile, a half mile at 11min/mile, and a few stops to take pictures.

It was a very gray day, and on the cool side. While I wore shorts and a t‑shirt, almost every­one I saw even at the beach was in long pants and even jack­ets. As gray and low-con­trast as the evening was, I was pleas­ant­ly sur­prised by the col­or and con­trast I got from the iPhone cam­era. I used the Pro HDR app, which takes a pair of pho­tographs in suc­ces­sion at dif­fer­ent expo­sures, then com­bines them to make one image with detail in both the high­lights and the shad­ows. It is nowhere near as robust as HDR pho­tog­ra­phy tak­en with mul­ti­ple brack­et­ed expo­sures and care­ful­ly adjust­ed lev­els for com­bi­na­tion, but for a two dol­lar app on my phone it’s pret­ty impres­sive and has allowed me to pull some nice col­or out of some oth­er­wise very (ahem) mono­chro­mat­ic scenes.

It remains to be seen whether run­ning on sand will be a reg­u­lar part of my train­ing — at this point just hav­ing a reg­u­lar part of train­ing would be a big step up. Sand, even when well-packed, does pro­vide a vary­ing sur­face, which requires some atten­tion and coor­di­na­tion. It would not sur­prise me in the least if run­ning on the beach does good things for one’s bal­ance and ground feel. It also feels nice, as prob­a­bly any­one who has ever been to the beach can attest. Espe­cial­ly in con­trast with pound­ing the con­crete there is an intrigu­ing com­bi­na­tion of the chal­lenge of an uneven sur­face and the com­fort of a cush­ioned one.

I have no desire to restrict myself to the beach. There is a lot more of this island for me to explore and the beach here is all very near my apart­ment. It is, how­ev­er, always a good thing to expand my reper­toire and the sand is a wel­come addi­tion to the vari­ety of sur­faces I have avail­able for run­ning and walking.