So you’ve heard about how we run sand dunes?
And you might be thinking ‘I’d like to try this sometime but what is it all about?’
Let’s have a look at a couple of videos from a recent weekend sand dune workout. I believe there were 12 of us out last Saturday and we had a great time.
The first video above shows a number of us doing the big climb for a second time. We did a general warm-up, a dynamic warm-up and a few other drills and exercises to limber up. Then after a brief drink of water we set off en masse to conquer the big hill. The fastest time for this one is 3 minutes 13 seconds and goes up from there. I think everyone in the video was under 7 minutes.
You can see how challenging this is by the fact many are finishing on all fours.
In the second video below we paired up to do a relay and ‘reset the clock’. ‘Resetting the clock’ is a technique we use when training our athletes so that that their last efforts are fast and trains the nervous system to understand fast movements even when in a fatigued state. Let me know if you’d like more info on this.
Well for those of you that have been sitting on the fence below are 5 Benefits of Running Sand Dunes (and 2 disadvantages as well).
Advantage #1 –You Work Harder
For those who have run up sand you know exactly what this is like. Your foot sinks and you have to expend more energy to pull it out and propel it forward. Mentally this can be very challenging as your foot sinks and then slips back as you attempt to press forward. Needless to say this takes many more calories than running on firm ground.
Advantage #2 – It’s Easier on the Joints
When the surface below you moves there is less impact on your joints. Think about jumping into a swimming pool full of water and an empty swimming pool. Pretty obvious, let’s move on.
Advantage #3 – More Efficient
Have I told you I love efficiency? Yup, I do! If I can get a better return in less time I’m all for it.
For those of you that train with a heart rate monitor you know which activies get the heart going the most.
Try running sand dunes and you’ll see this is about as hard as it gets.
Because you are constantly climbing. And over coming gravity. And sinking down and slipping back.
Advantage #4 – Better Ankle & Foot Development
We weren’t born with shoes on our feet.
Yet every day we put them on and constrict the feet and toes.
And while we encourage and strive for proper posture, we opt for shoes with big beefy heels that put us out of alignment and create postural problems.
Sand dunes are great for this.
Running in sand stimulates the foot & ankle to develop a stronger, more stable base. And we can’t even think about aligning any of the other joints if the foot and ankle are out.
Advantage #5 – It’s Supported in the Research
A 1998 study by Yigit and Tuncel, published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,” followed 51 male students ages 15 to 21 for six weeks. There were three groups — a control group, a group that ran on sand, and another on the road. Calf circumference increased significantly in the sand runners, both road running and sand running groups increased in vertical jumping ability, and both running groups increased thigh circumference. The sand running group resulted in the most physiological and performance changes.Pretty cool, eh?
But running in sand is not perfect. Here are 2 disadvantages to keep in mind.
Disadvantage #1 – Not for Lower Body Joint Injuries
If you have any type of lower body injury sand dunes may not be for you. As I mentioned above the foot and ankle are going to move more when they sink in the sand.
Now imagine if you have some ligament damage in one of your knees. Let’s say a torn ACL.
This knee is going to lack some of the stability it gets from this ligament. If you run in sand and your foot shifts, pivots and slides, as it it bound to do. This motion is going to be transferred up the kinetic chain to the knee which already has a deficit in terms of stability.
So hold off on the sand for now and get a doctor’s ok before you try.
Disadvantage #2 – Dirty & Messy
If your idea of workout attire is to be a Ricky Fowler on the dunes, this isn’t for you.
You will get hot.
You will get sweaty.
And most definitely you will get dirty and messy.
So make sure you wear old running shoes.
Because when you’re all done it is so worth it and you’ll be glad you did.
Leave me a comment if you want to come give it a try and we’ll show you the way.