Growing up, all of my holidays were at the beach: Apollo Bay or the Mornington Peninsula. As I transitioned into a runner, I got a lot of joy from running along the beach and trails in both of these places. There’s just something about that salt air! I love it.
I’m confident that my love of beach running helped me to victory in three Surf Coast Centuries. So I am super excited to explore some new beach trails on the other side of the country in May.
Many people are afraid of sand running. I’ll never forget one of the first times I took my brother and his mate along the back beach trails of the Mornington Peninsula. They didn’t stop whinging the entire time. “This isn’t running!” They complained. But it is running! It just involves much more strength and many more muscles, which is precisely why it is an excellent addition to your training program.
Margaret River isn’t until May, but get out there and enjoy it now before Summer says goodbye! The best part is that you can jump straight in for cold water recovery afterwards.
My top tips for sand running:
• Be specific in your training! Get out there and practice all types of sand- soft sand, compacted sand, sandy trails, reef running.
• Get strong! Hit the gym and focus on your strength and conditioning, particularly stability drills.
• During the race, where possible try to run on the harder, more compacted sand for better efficiency.
• Hard sand is not always an option, though, so be prepared for anything if you are not familiar with the trail.
• Take short, quick steps. Stay light on your feet to keep the forward momentum and try to avoid sinking.
• Try to run in other people’s footsteps. Find the most appropriate stride length available and use this to your advantage. The sand has already been compacted, and so it is easier to run.
• Break it up. Give yourself a break. I like to try something like 2mins running, 30secs walking. As you get more fatigued, change the ratio. Doing this is the only way I was able to get through Urqhart’s beach at high tide!!
• Consider wearing gaiters. I don’t usually find that I need these, but some people are prone to sand filling up their shoes.
• Choose shoes with small ventilation holes to avoid extra sand inside. If there is a chance that your feet will get wet, ensure you wear shoes that drain well.
• Enjoy! Soak up the views, the salt air, and
We are very excited to appoint Kellie Emmerson as Elite Ambassador for the NEW Margaret River Ultra Marathon.
Keep an eye on the website for a range of blogs, tips and social media conversations thanks to Kellie over coming months to help get you to the start and the finish line.