Blog Fitness Workouts Beach Workouts Beach Running Workout 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Sand Training

Beach Running Workout 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Sand Training

Basking in the  sun and taking the occasional dip in the ocean is a great way to spend your time at the beach. But at some point you might crave for something more invigorating, something that challenges your body in a new, exciting way. That’s where beach running workouts can come into the picture. 

Running on the beach offers a unique set of benefits that you can’t get from pounding the pavement or hitting the treadmill. It’s tougher, yes, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll tour the world of sand training, helping you understand why it’s so beneficial, and how to do it right. From proper form and technique to tips on preventing injuries, we’ve got you covered.

Is It Good to Workout On The Beach?

Absolutely! Working out on the beach provides a unique combination of benefits, ranging from physical strength and endurance to mental health improvement. The beach environment offers an engaging and refreshing alternative to indoor workouts, making your exercise routines all the more enjoyable and effective.

Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)

Beach workouts can significantly boost your Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the survival of existing neurons, and encourages the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses (5). 

Higher levels of BDNF contribute to better cognitive functions, memory, and mood regulation (2). When you exercise on the beach, your brain’s production of this protein increases, leading to improved mental health (3).

Read More: Superfoods For Brain Health: 10 Brain-Friendly Foods You Should Eat

Burns More Calories

The sand’s natural resistance makes your workout more intense, leading to a higher calorie burn than exercising on concrete or grass. Whether you’re running, jumping, or performing bodyweight exercises, you’re bound to burn more calories on the beach. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re aiming for weight loss or improved cardiovascular health.

Strengthens Foot and Ankle Muscles

When you work out on the sand you’re not just targeting your primary muscle groups. The unstable surface forces your foot and ankle muscles to work harder, strengthening them over time. This can enhance your balance and stability, which are crucial for athletic performance and injury prevention.

Whether you’re a workout beast or just a beginner making your first foray into the world of fitness and dieting – BetterMe has a lot to offer to both newbies and experts! Install the app and experience the versatility first-hand!

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Low Impact

Despite the added challenge, beach workouts are actually gentler on your joints. The soft sand cushions your steps, reducing the impact on your knees, hips, and back. This makes it a great option for those who suffer from joint pain or have difficulty with regular workouts.

Provides Vitamin D Boost

Exercising outdoors under the sun naturally boosts your Vitamin D levels. Known as the “sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, supporting the immune system, and regulating insulin levels (9) (10). 

Note; the timing of your beach workouts is essential here. Research shows that spending 10 to 15 minutes in the sun between 11 am and 2 pm provides the most Vitamin D benefit (8). However, be informed on how sunscreen during your beach workouts may prevent damage from UV rays, especially if you plan to stay longer than 15 minutes. 

Running on the beach for beginners

Improves Mood with Serotonin Boost

The combination of physical activity, sunshine, and the soothing sounds of the ocean can significantly boost your serotonin levels. This hormone is known for its mood-lifting properties, helping to alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression (7). 

A beach workout can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.

Increases Variety in Your Workout

One of the top benefits of beach workouts is the variety it offers. The change of scenery can make your workouts more interesting and enjoyable, keeping you motivated. Plus, the beach is a great place to try new exercises that take advantage of the sand and water, adding an extra challenge to your routine.

Enhances Athletic Performance

Working out on the beach can help enhance athletic performance. The added resistance of the sand can lead to stronger smaller muscles in the lower extremities, which can aid in overall athletic performance. Moreover, the soft surface reduces impact, decreasing the risk of injuries and post-workout muscle soreness.

Read More: How To Start Jogging At 50 (Or Any Age)?

Does Running On The Beach Burn More Calories?

Yes, running on the beach does burn more calories. The uneven and shifting sand surface requires more effort from your body to maintain balance and momentum compared to running on hard, even surfaces like pavement or a treadmill. This increased exertion can lead to a higher calorie burn. 

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However, the exact amount of additional calories burned can vary, depending on factors such as the individual’s weight, the intensity and duration of the run, and the type of sand (wet sand is firmer and easier to run on than dry, loose sand).

Running on beach with or without shoes

Is Running On The Beach Good for You to Lose Weight? 

Yes, running on the beach can significantly aid in weight loss. The resistance of the sand makes your body work harder, leading to a higher calorie burn compared to running on hard surfaces.

Plus, the varied and challenging nature of beach running can also boost your metabolism, promoting further weight loss. It’s important to remember that consistent exercise needs to be paired with a balanced diet for optimal weight loss results (11).

If you tend to let yourself off the hook, raise the white flag when things get tougher than you expected, send yourself on an unconscious binge-eating trip – BetterMe app is here to help you leave all of these sabotaging habits in the past!

How Do You Train for a Beach Run?

A beach running workout can be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. The key is to start slow, build your strength and endurance, and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Here are some steps to help you prepare for your beach run.

Step #1: Assess Your Current Fitness Level

Before you start training for a beach run it’s important to understand where you stand in terms of fitness. This will help you create a training plan that suits your abilities and goals. 

Start by performing a simple self-assessment. How long can you run without stopping? How comfortable are you running on different terrains? Do you have any health problems or injuries that could affect your training?

After your assessment, set achievable goals. If you’re a beginner, don’t aim to run a marathon on the beach right away. Start with shorter distances and gradually work your way up. Remember, the key is consistency and gradual progress, not speed.

Step #2: Start with Strength Training

Running on sand does require more strength and energy than running on hard surfaces. With that in mind, it’s crucial to incorporate strength training into your routine. 

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Focus on exercises that strengthen your core and lower body, as these muscle groups play a key role in running. Planks, squats, lunges, and step-ups are all effective exercises for runners.

You should also include balance exercises in your routine. Balance is particularly important when running on sand, as the unstable surface can be challenging. Exercises like yoga poses can help improve your balance and stability (1).

Step #3: Incorporate Cardiovascular Training

Cardiovascular training is a crucial part of preparing for a beach run. It helps improve your endurance, allowing you to run longer distances without getting tired. Start with low-impact activities like walking or cycling, then gradually introduce running into your routine.

Begin with short runs on flat, hard surfaces. As your fitness level improves, increase the distance and intensity of your runs. Remember to listen to your body and rest when needed. Overtraining can lead to injuries and hinder your progress (6).

Step #4: Practice Running on Sand

Once you’ve built up your strength and cardiovascular fitness, start practicing on sand. Start with walking, then progress to jogging and finally, running. Begin with dry, hard-packed sand as it’s easier to run on. Gradually move to softer, looser sand as your strength and balance improve.

Running on sand is more challenging than running on hard surfaces, so don’t be discouraged if you find it difficult at first. It’s normal to feel your leg muscles working harder and to get tired more quickly. With time and practice you’ll get used to the feeling and see improvements in your performance.

Step #5: Stay Hydrated and Protect Your Skin

When training for a beach run, it’s essential to stay hydrated and protect your skin from the sun. Always carry a water bottle with you during your workouts, and drink before you feel thirsty. Dehydration will affect your performance and make your workouts feel harder (4).

As for sun protection, consider applying sunscreen 30 minutes before you go out and reapply every 2 hours or after sweating heavily. Wear a hat or visor to protect your face, and consider wearing UV-protective clothing.

Step #6: Listen to Your Body

Lastly, always listen to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort during your workouts, stop and rest. Don’t push yourself too hard, as this can lead to injuries. Remember, it’s okay to have rest days. They allow your body to recover and come back stronger.

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beach running workout

Running On Beach: With or Without Shoes?

Running on the beach can be done both with and without shoes, and each option has its own set of benefits and considerations.

Running With Shoes

Beach running with shoes can provide more support and protection for your feet, especially if you’re new to this type of workout or have certain foot conditions. Shoes can shield your feet from sharp shells, rocks, and other potential hazards on the beach. Plus, if you’re planning a long run, shoes can help prevent blisters and reduce fatigue in your feet.

However, running with shoes on soft sand can be quite challenging as the shoes tend to sink into the sand, making your workout harder. It’s recommended to run closer to the water where the sand is wet and more compact.

Beach Running Workout Without Shoes

Running barefoot on the beach can offer a unique sensory experience. It allows you to connect more with the environment and can make your run feel more natural. Barefoot running also engages different muscles compared to running with shoes, particularly those in your feet and lower legs, which can help strengthen these areas.

Barefoot beach running also forces you to land more on your forefoot or midfoot, instead of your heel, promoting a more natural gait and potentially reducing the risk of injury.

However, running without shoes comes with its own risks, such as cuts, punctures, or even burns from hot sand. It’s important to watch your step and perhaps start with shorter runs to allow your feet to adapt.

Whether you choose to run with or without shoes on the beach largely depends on your personal preference, comfort, and running experience. Always listen to your body and do what feels best for you.

Beginner Tempo Run Workouts Sample Schedule

A Tempo Run Workout is a form of speed training for runners that focuses on maintaining a steady, “comfortably hard” pace for a defined period. The goal is to increase your anaerobic threshold, which is the point at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in the muscles, causing fatigue.

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The main purpose of a tempo run is not to push to the point of exhaustion, but to find and sustain a challenging rhythm that helps increase your stamina and running efficiency. 

For beginners, such workouts are a brilliant way to challenge yourself and start developing your speed and endurance.

Sure, here’s a beginner-friendly sample schedule for tempo run workouts. Remember, it’s essential to start slow and gradually increase your intensity and duration to prevent injury and overtraining.

Running on beach vs road

Week 1

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Easy Run – 20 minutes
  • Wednesday: Rest or cross-training
  • Thursday: Tempo Run – 10 minutes warm up, 5 minutes at tempo pace, 10 minutes cool down
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Easy Run – 25 minutes
  • Sunday: Rest or cross-training

Week 2

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Easy Run – 25 minutes
  • Wednesday: Rest or cross-training
  • Thursday: Tempo Run – 10 minutes warm up, 10 minutes at tempo pace, 10 minutes cool down
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Easy Run – 30 minutes
  • Sunday: Rest or cross-training

Week 3

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Easy Run – 30 minutes
  • Wednesday: Rest or cross-training
  • Thursday: Tempo Run – 10 minutes warm up, 15 minutes at tempo pace, 10 minutes cool down
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Easy Run – 35 minutes
  • Sunday: Rest or cross-training

Week 4

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Easy Run – 35 minutes
  • Wednesday: Rest or cross-training
  • Thursday: Tempo Run – 10 minutes warm up, 20 minutes at tempo pace, 10 minutes cool down
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Easy Run – 40 minutes
  • Sunday: Rest or cross-training

Remember, “easy run” means you should be able to hold a conversation while running without gasping for breath. “Tempo run” refers to a pace that is comfortably hard – you should only be able to speak in short, broken sentences. Always listen to your body and adjust the plan as needed based on how you’re feeling.

Bottom Line

Beach Running Workout 101 is your go-to guide for mastering the art of sand training. This comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions to help you effectively build strength, improve balance, and increase endurance for a successful beach run. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced runner looking for a new challenge, this guide offers the tools and tips you need to hit the sand running.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


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  3. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Depression, and Physical Activity: Making the Neuroplastic Connection (2017,
  4. Dehydration and its effects on performance (2019,
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  6. Overtraining Syndrome (2012,
  7. Physiology, Serotonin (2022,
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  9. Vitamin D in health and disease: Current perspectives (2010,
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