Running on the beach sounds fine and dandy till a twisted ankle or a sore heel make the joy disappear. The thing is sand makes smooth running a bit tricky, and the natural inconsistencies in the beach surface, make each step a challenge. Thankfully, your feet can be made stronger to deal with the strain and exertion that a beach run exerts on the network of muscles under. These quick exercises will help you get stronger feet, and make the reward of listening to the ocean’s sounds on a run worthwhile.

Toe fan
Running on the beach during high tide can be very tedious because at that time you have only soft, loose sand to run on. This exercise will strengthen the muscles in your front lower leg as well as your toes, giving them increased flexibility for a stronger pushoff and better balance.

Lift and lower your toes. You want your pinkie toe to rise to the same level as your big toe. Repeat 4 times. Then, on the lift, spread your toes as wide as you can 4 times.

Board Slants
Some beaches have a greater slant than the others. Make adjustment to your run with some board slants that mimic running on a slope. Take a slanted board, or place a flat board on something to create an angle. Keep it against a wall so that it doesn’t budge ahead. Now place your feet on the board with your toes facing up. Leaning forward and rising up on your toes, perform calf raises. Hold the position at the top for a few seconds and gently come down.

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Calf stretch
To keep your Achilles tendons and the plantar fasciae supple, these stretches work like magic. Sit with one leg stretched out in front of you and wrap a towel or resistance band around the ball of the foot. Pull the towel back gently until you feel a stretch in the arch of the foot and the calf. Repeat five times on each leg.

Bent-knee stretch
This is a great deep stretch for the soleus, the muscle that attaches the calf to the Achilles, and often is left ignored in regular stretches. It’s simple enough to do without any equipment. Just stand with your palms against a wall, with a half-forward stance, and start lowering down into an imaginary chair. Now lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your back calf. You’ve hit the right spot there. Hold it for 25-30 seconds and change legs.

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