5 killer run workouts on the beach sand

Chennai faces a lot of flak from runners as one of the hottest and most humid cities to run in. 100 meters into our run and we are drenched in sweat. While we can argue on the pros and cons of running in Chennai, one of the biggest advantages runners in Chennai have, is the vast expanse of beach available to us.

Beach running is a great variation to add to your running plan, but it should be treated with caution and not over used. Like everything else in life, too much of a good thing is never good and beach running is the same too.  The advantages of running on the beach are obvious

-          You are less efficient on sand than on road and hence burn more calories running on the beach (Especially for people who have fat loss goals, beach running is a great variation.)

-          You run barefoot and can focus more on your landing and running form and engage your glutes, quadriceps and over all posterior chain of muscles better.

-          Beach running reduces the stress on joints as opposed to road running since the surface is softer and pounding on sand is less impactful.

-          There is a lot of positive energy and happiness most of us get from beginning our day on the beach (if you ignore those bathroom goers by the shore side)and enjoying the sunrise and waves

-          It adds variety to your training too.

That said it is also better to be cautious while running on the beach

-          Watch out for sharp objects/plastic etc strewn on the sand. There have been quite a few runners who have had a terrible experience with getting their feet cut by stray glass pieces on the sand. 

-          Too much mileage on sand can lead to potential injury, hence use it wisely and stick to comfortable distances and don’t just start with a random extra-long run.

-          Shorelines have a natural slope and hence both legs might not be on the same level and this can lead to muscular imbalances. So watch out and try and run at the level portion of the beach.

-          Insufficient warm up/stretches before and after beach running can also result in injuries, hence ensure you work on your joints mobility before starting your beach workout.

Now that we have the pros and cons of beach running out of the way, here are 6 killer workouts you can try on the beach without any equipment:

Option 1:

Keep 2 cones/sandals/shoes at a distance of 30 metres.

Don’t know what 30 metres is? Just walk 30 long steps and keep 2 sandals at either ends.

Run 20 times between the 2 points. Break after every 5 runs with a walk for recovery. Remember to and fro is considered as 1 round.

Your heart rate will be hitting the roof at the end of this workout and your quads and glutes will be on fire too. This is convenient to do during any beach holiday too, when you feel like you have stuffed your face too much and want to do something active to feel better and lighter.

Option 2:

If you are a beginner who is just venturing into beach running how about something simple?

Set a timer for 30 minutes.

-          Run for 1 minute/Walk for 1 minute

Keep the run nice and easy and walk at a comfortable pace.  Slowly change the ratio of Run: Walk and watch the magic unfold as fat burns and endurance improves

Option 3:

Reaction Sprints- 50 metres X 6

Set a distance of 50 metres(or less)

-          Start with a 10 minute slow run on the beach. Think of this as warm up

-          Set two cones/sandals/stones at a distance of 50 metres (lesser if you are new to sprinting).

-          Do a 50 metres sprint and walk back 50 metres to recover.

-          Repeat with different start positions. Supine/prone/plank/ seated. Try your sprint from each of these positions.

Option 4:

Death by Burpees!

Burpees are hard, on smooth ground or tar road or grass or even to do in our dreams!

Doing it on the beach sand with a tall jump+ push up (if you have one) will be tough. Set a timer and try and get 25/50/75/100 based on how efficient you are at burpees and your training level.

Planning to try one of these killer workouts? Would love to hear how it goes. Don’t forget good warm up which is one of the keys to a good workout.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get the beach party started! 



Soundarya Srinivasan

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Soundarya Srinivasan, a fitness professional with The Quad, co-runs her own jewellery brand 'Manjushaa', runs an NGO Shishu Shakthi. Half marathoner and mom of a energetic 5 year old.