Running on the sand is not everyone’s idea of fun. Read on to learn about some of the benefits and how to do it better.
With the summer holidays on the horizon, many South Africans will flock to the coast. Amidst the braais, beach days and sun-soaked afternoons, consider adding some sand running to your beach holiday itinerary. Here’s a guide to beach running’s dos and don’ts.
Finding Your Pace When Running On The Sand
Firstly, beach running requires a bit of a shift in approach. Start conservatively with shorter distances. The sandy terrain presents a formidable challenge, exerting more effort than running on the road or trails. Overextending at the onset might strain your Achilles tendons and ankle joints, so pacing is key. Reserve beach running as an occasional complement to your routine rather than a daily programme.
Sand Running Footwear Wisdom
While the default thought might be that barefoot running is the go-to, protecting your feet is paramount. Consider donning running shoes to shield yourself from potential cuts or scrapes caused by hidden objects lurking beneath. Specialised sand running shoes aren’t mandatory, but allocating a designated pair for beach runs could be a wise investment.
Navigating the Sand
Optimise your route by sticking to the wet, hard-packed sand near the shoreline. This compact surface eases the strain on your muscles compared to the softer, deeper stuff closer to the dunes. During low tide, expanses of hard-packed sand emerge, offering an opportune surface for an energising run.
Incorporating Beach Runs into Your Routine
Integrate beach running into your weekly workouts to harness its unique benefits. This terrain bolsters foot and lower leg strength, contributing to a well-rounded fitness routine.
Timing is Everything
Selecting the optimal time for your beach run is crucial. Mornings and evenings present ideal conditions – offering comfortable temperatures and relatively uncrowded beaches. Regardless of the time, don’t forget sunscreen.
Some Great Beaches To Run
A handful of secret havens along South Africa’s coastline, perfect for refreshing beach runs.
- Kleinmond Beach (Western Cape) – A serene stretch of coastline boasting firm sand, ideal for both beginners and seasoned runners.
- Buffalo Bay Beach (Garden Route) – Its long stretch of sandy shoreline provides ample space for leisurely walks or faster runs. Buffalo Bay is part of the Garden Route National Park offering opportunities to spot diverse birdlife and marine creatures.
- Mpenjati Nature Reserve Beach (KwaZulu-Natal) – An unspoiled gem offering a mix of firm and soft sand for a diverse running experience.
- Lamberts Bay (West Coast) – Known for its tranquillity, you won’t have to contend with many other runners on this West Coast marvel. A dip after your run will also provide great cold water immersion. provides ample space and varying terrains for an exhilarating run.
- Cape Vidal Beach (iSimangaliso Wetland Park) is a picturesque forested, sub-tropical paradise offering compact sand and scenic forest trails for great coastal running.
Embrace the rhythm of the waves and the invigorating sea breeze as you explore these hidden coastal treasures, ideal for a rejuvenating beach running experience.