Sunday, May 6, 2012

Deep Sand Running

Coming off an injury this week--a bone bruise on my right foot, outer edge. I unexpectedly stepped into a hole running FAST at night on a dirt road during Ragnar. My last real run was April 21! I took nine days completely off--no cardio, no strength training. Only stretching. Doctor's advice.

Slowly ramped back up last week with a few stationary bike rides and the elliptical. It turns out that you CAN get a great workout from cardio activities other than running. TRUTH. I got my heart rate up over 160, believe it! Now it is not as satisfying as a good run. But it is an adequate substitute while on injury.

Finally, I was ready for the treadmill . . . I have never been so happy to treadmill as I was on Friday when I joyously ran 30 minutes and then had to peel myself off of the thing.

The foot felt good on the soft, safe treadmill. Still feeling a bit wary, I took to another soft surface for my weekend runs. Deep sand. Not the wet stuff. This is the deep, dry sand at the edge, edge, edge away from the water.

Deep sand running is a great transition from injury back to pavement. It is easier on the joints in some ways--soft surface, so less pounding. It is also IMPOSSIBLE to run fast or far. I usually lack the discipline to make myself run slow, and I can always talk myself into a 10 mile run when I set out for 5. Deep sand running is so hard . . . you won't be able to run even close to your warm-up pace. And I certainly wasn't even thinking about running extra miles! Still a short deep sand run takes a lot of effort and is therefore highly satisfying!

Saturday's scene was Coronado beach. I ran a 3.65 miler, which is the entire length of the beach (out and back) that is open to the public. Coronado is a great place for a beach run. The beach is wide and flat. Not to mention beautiful!

Coronado Beach, view of Point Loma
And historic!

Hotel Del Coronado
Sunday I went to Mission Beach for my second deep sand run. Another wide, flat beach. Ideal. Plus, the boardwalk is an option if the run gets too intense!

Mission Beach, view of Crystal Pier
I ran 4 miles on Mission Beach, but the beach goes on and on. Probably up to 8 miles as an out and back if you have it in you!

Coincidentally, I ran both of my deep sand runs at an average pace of 9:34, a pace far slower than even my warm-up or cool-down pace. And 4 miles is normally a very easy run for me. But in the deep sand, it takes a lot of effort to power those legs! My perceived effort level was comparable to that of a 7:00 pace, which is my 10K race pace.

And I am definitely feeling my deep sand runs in the little tiny balancing muscles in the feet and lower legs. And the quads got a nice burn from powering through all that sand!

Routes available on my Runkeeper page: Coronado, Mission Beach.


1 comment:

  1. I was just cruising around reading different links to sand running and came across your page. You are definitely fit! Good for you. I typically do a deep sand run between the roller coaster and crystal pier (sometimes Law St.). Yep, like you say, it's tough! Hope you're sticking with it. Good luck with all your running. Take care.