Physical Fitness Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for physical fitness professionals, athletes, trainers, and those providing health-related needs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I normally do a fair amount of barefoot running on grass, dirt, and pavement, but on a recent trip, I ended a couple of runs with several miles on sand. It felt easier on my calves and lower legs compared to solid surfaces, but I noticed some differences in soreness afterward, mostly along the IT band, which usually gives me no problems at all. I'm guessing this was caused by either the slope of the beach in places, or just having to stabilize my legs more while landing on a soft surface.

Aside from obvious hazards like stepping on sharp objects, are there any specific strains or other injuries I should be more aware of when running longer distances on sand, due to the reduced traction or other factors?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's an issue of depth: pushing off a surface that gives that much induces more stress on the entire chain, because everything has noticeably more work to do.

IMO the pushing-off would have a greater effect than landing, but that's more "intuitive" than "true".

Other than adjusting to the additional stress, I don't think there's anything intrinsically more "dangerous", you just have to be aware you're going through a larger range of motion, and the muscles/tendons/etc. will be doing more work than on a more-solid surface.

For me the greatest difference is in my calves, but because of previous IT band issues, and current exercises for one of the martial arts I study, IT band stuff doesn't bother me as much as it used to.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.