how to run on the beach

How to Run on the Beach

Next time you’re on vacation, start your day refreshed (and maybe sweat out last night’s alcohol) using these tips for a productive run on the beach!

I’ve historically taken a while time to get it together after a move.  In college I’d bring a few things from my parents’ house each time I visited instead of moving into my dorm all at once.  I waited too long after moving to Ohio to switch my driver’s license and ended up having to take the same road test given to 16-year-olds.  And most recently, I came to a new state in the middle of the holidays, when you can’t turn around at work without seeing a different table laid out with homemade treats.

Think I joined a gym right away?

Nah, I ate frozen potpies and cheezits and overslept.  But I had moved to Florida, and while I function okay on a junk food diet, I go batshit crazy without semi-regular exercise.  So I started running on the beach.

Running on the beach is a great way to confuse your muscles (assuming you don’t do it regularly) while soaking up the sun and scenery on a warm-weather trip.  Read on for some tips to help you get the most out of your workout!

Check the Tide Charts

I’d try to run within two hours of low tide, when the water has receded as far as possible from the beach.  This ensures you’ll have enough packed, smooth sand to tread on.  Most beaches experience two high tides and two low tides a day, meaning the change between high and low takes place over about six hours.

I took this photo two hours before low tide…

vanderbilt beach naples fl

…and this one an hour after high tide.

run on the beach high tide

You can Google tide charts for your county, city, or exact beach, and they should pop right up.

Go Early

The crowd probably varies from beach to beach, but the one I frequent fills up enough by 9:30 or 10 that I don’t like to finish any later than that.  I also find that the traffic from other morning joggers and walkers churns up the sand and makes it harder to run, so the earlier you can head out, the better.  Unfortunately, this timing doesn’t always coincide with low tide – and some days may not work at all.

Shoes or No Shoes?

I see roughly a fifty-fifty split on my beach runs – you definitely won’t look weird either way.  I didn’t feel any soreness in my feet and ankles after running barefoot (my limited research indicates going without shoes increases the workload on those muscles), but for whatever reason, small blisters formed on a couple of my toes.  Cute!  I’ve run in shoes since then, but it really just comes down to personal preference.

Don’t Overdo It

Running in sand is NOT EASY on your calves.  During my first beach run, I felt great – a nice breeze blew off the water and I’d just updated my playlist – but two days later I could hardly walk.  So pay attention to how you’re feeling and back off if you start to get sore during your workout.  Finally, your pace will probably be slower than it is on concrete for the same amount of effort.vanderbilt beach naples low tide

vanderbilt beach naples fl

Don’t forget a headband – it can get windy!

  • Working out on vacation – yes or F no?
  • Have you ever run on the beach?

I’m linking up with Katie today.

2 thoughts on “How to Run on the Beach

    1. Nicole Miller Post author

      I wish – the closest ones are in Tampa, I think – I miss it!! I joined an LA Fitness since it’s close – saving some money, at least 🙂


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