6 Tips for Running on the Beach – in Maui, in Vancouver, in Africa

Running on the beach is one of the best aerobic exercises because the sand creates resistance, which makes you work harder.

These tips for running on the beach are from my own experience here at the Aston Maui Kaanapali Villas – I’m on a two week vacation, and the first thing I did this morning was go for a run on the beach, because even in on holidays in Maui I have to exercise!

Before my running tips, a quip:

“In what other land save this one is the commonest form of greeting not “Good day,” nor “How d’ye do”, but “Love”?” said Jack London. “That greeting is ‘Aloha’: love, I love you, my love to you… It is a positive affirmation of the warmth of one’s own heart-giving.”

Aloha is similar to “Namaste” in Yoga-speak…it doesn’t just mean “hello” or “good-bye”, it means love and affection. Aloha is also similar to “Shalom” in the Jewish language.

But I digress. If you want to learn more about running in sand or in bare feet, read Barefoot Running Step by Step: Barefoot Ken Bob, the Guru of Shoeless Running, Shares His Personal Technique for Running with More Speed, Less Impact, Fewer Injuries and More Fun.

6 Tips for Running on the Beach – in Maui, in Vancouver, in Africa

I’ve jogged at the beach in Africa, Vancouver, Waikiki, and Maui – and my favorite is Maui. Waikiki is the most interesting beach to run on, but boy is it crowded.  Running on the seawall in Vancouver is better than the beach, and running in Africa is fun but boy can it get hot.

Where’s your favourite beach to run?

When you’re running on the beach…

1. Avoid the fitness center – keep jogging on the beach! Don’t let your first few runs discourage you, my friend. The resistance of the sandy beach – especially if it’s deep, wet sand – is fantastic exercise for your calves, thighs, buns, and feet. But, it’s also very difficult. Don’t give up and exercise indoors (the Kanaapali Villas in Maui has a fitness center, but who wants to be inside a gym when you’re on a tropical vacation?).

2. Follow the leader. It’s easier to run in another person’s footprints in the sand. If you’re getting tired or need a little break, just jump right into the footprints of those who have walked or run ahead. This is good for your eye-body coordination as well – and can distract you from feelings of fatigue.

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3. Do intervals or “fartleks.” One of the best ways to lose that last 20 pounds when you’re running on the beach in Maui is to alternate between running in the sand and jogging on the beach boardwalk (it winds through the several resorts, parallel to the beach). Try to alternate how fast you run – this is a type of interval training, and can increase calorie burn and weight loss.

4. Stay motivated – because it’s hard work to run on the beach! The deep, golden sands of Maui can make it seem like you’re running through quicksand. My running partner and I were huffing, puffing, and practically pouring with sweat after only a few minutes. A tip for jogging in paradise is to keep reminding yourself that this is one of the best workouts for your body – especially if you’re trying to lose weight. The resistance of the sand challenges your legs, feet, and heart, and pushes your body ways it’s not familiar with…which helps you tone up and slim down.

5. Another tip for staying motivated: enjoy the cushion the sand provides. To keep myself motivated to keep running, I reminded myself how great the sand is for my knees, back, and feet. That sand, which provides resistance and thus greater weight loss, also offers a much softer cushion than running on a sidewalk.

6. After your run, take your shoes off before you enter your hotel room. Lots of golden Maui sand snuck into my jogging shoes, and I found that giving them a good shakeout before stepping into my lovely studio apartment worked beautifully.

An alternative to running in the sand: If you haven’t packed for your vacation in Maui, and if your hotel has a DVD player (which they all do at the Aston Kanaapali Villas), consider packing your workout videos. At home, I do the 10 Minute Solutions workouts almost every day – they’re excellent for weight loss and strength training! But I didn’t bring them on this trip because I wanted to exercise in different ways.

If you’re planning to run on the beaches in Africa, read my tips for traveling to the dark continent.

If you’re running in Hawaii, read my top 10 things to do in Maui.

If you’re not going on vacation but want to lose weight, read 10 Workouts to Boost Your Metabolism.

And if you have any thoughts on my tips for running on the beach, please comment below!

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5 thoughts on “6 Tips for Running on the Beach – in Maui, in Vancouver, in Africa

  • Laurie Post author

    I’m cleaning up my old articles, and found this one on running on the beach in Maui…it makes me want to go back! I’d run, swim, and whale watch. I love Maui. We went to Waikiki last year, and Maui is way better – more peaceful, relaxing, and authentic.

  • Ross

    I used to run on the beech loads when I lived by the coast. It made a nice change to all the road running and i swear you have to put at least twice the effort into your style and pace when you run on sand!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thanks for your comments, Chantelle and Susan.

    I ran on the beach for the fourth time today, and found it was much, much easier than my first time. That’s another tip for running on the beach: remember that it gets easier the more often you do it!

  • Chantelle

    An excellent article! Thanks for all the useful tips… I’ll make sure I incorporate them into my workout when I go to Maui in April :)) Have a TOTALLY AWESOME WEEK!!!