One way that runners compensate for fewer running days is by increasing the quality of each run. We haven’t had much opportunity to resume our daily running routine – we’re still setting up SmashrunHQ and trying to develop some work momentum. Not to mention, we’re also looking to hire a Junior Web Developer and a Marketing Intern. But all of this takes time! So… to compensate for our fewer running days, we decided to check off a long distance run on Sunday.
About an hour outside of Santiago is pretty much wine country. We went with Chile Running Tours and they took us on a really good run around Emiliana Organic Vineyards – it was challenging because we haven’t run longer than a 5k in more than 3 weeks! And, it was a 12km run on uneven dirt and sand (around the edges of the vineyard). It was really tiring. It made me very conscious of the type of surface that I normally run on and reminded me of how training on different surfaces can have different effects on performance.
For instance, “Running on sand develops power throughout your lower body; It requires you to generate more force and work through a fuller range of motion, from your ankles to your hip flexors and arms.” – Bob Sevene
Keep in mind, however, that there are downsides as well – soft sand can increase the risk of an Achilles tendon injury and the sloping surface can impose uneven stresses on the body. And, much like changing any other aspect of your training routine, you’ll need to adapt gradually to different surfaces.
Running on dirt paths seem to be the more common alternative to hitting the pavement. Dirt roads are often preferred because it doesn’t give in like sand, but it absorbs much more impact than running on asphalt or concrete. Although, like sand, dirt paths can be very uneven so you’ll need to keep an eye on cambered trails.
Here’s a Top 10 Best for running surfaces, courtesy of Runner’s World. Interestingly, an article from the NY Times advocates otherwise about grass being the “best training surface for runners”.