The annual SIDS and Kids WA Sunshine Beach Run is fast approaching, getting underway on Sunday 22nd March at 8am at City Beach in Perth.
This beach run is a great initiative founded in 2012 by West Coast Eagles physio Chris Perkins after the tragic loss of his stillborn son Jake and his wife Cindy in 2009. For those of us who are privileged in having happy, healthy children, and with respect to those who have lost loved ones, an event such as this is a great opportunity to bond together as a community, bringing awareness to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) as well as supporting the families bereaved by the loss of a baby or child through miscarriage, stillborn and neonatal death.
Having conducted fitness sessions with Perth’s HIF team in preparation for this fantastic cause has been very rewarding, and like any fun run, the better prepared you are the more satisfaction and enjoyment you will gain, with less risk of injury.
Beach running is a far greater challenge than running on a hard surface because of the uneven ground and the fact that there is less traction due to the moving sand particles. It will though, provide you with a greater cardiovascular workout (therefore burning more calories) and help you to build greater strength and muscle tone. Although there will be more stress on your ankles, achilles, calves and knee joints, the impact is still far less on sand than hard surfaces. It is essential to have good core strength for beach running as this will aid in supporting your lower back.
Running at low tide will give you two surfaces to run on, closer to the water’s edge the sand will be firmer, giving you more traction, whereas the dry soft sand has less impact but is much harder to run through giving you a tougher workout, both physically and mentally. If you’re not an experienced beach runner, my advice is to start slow, running no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time and sprinting or changing direction (agility) quickly should be avoided until your muscles and lower limbs have adapted to your new running surface.
Here’s a basic beginners program to get you underway:
Start with a warm up (using a skipping rope is an easy way) and a good stretch of your quads, calves, achilles and lower back.
Slow soft sand run for 5-6 minutes, stopping when needed.
Following this run on the hard sand close to the water’s edge for a further 4-5 minutes without stopping.
Rest and stretch lower limbs and lower back for 2-3 minutes. Intervals can be added to finish off.
Run at an increased pace for 15 seconds and walk for 45 seconds, repeating five times.
Walk back and stretch again to finish off your workout.
This routine should be done at least twice a week until your fitness improves, your muscles strengthen and you are able to run 20 minutes in soft sand without stopping.
Once you have reached this milestone, then you can add in beach sprints and agility for a greater workout. With each session you do, make sure to increase your intensity to challenge yourself, as this workout will become easy as your fitness improves.
I’ll be at City Beach participating in this year’s SIDS and Kids WA Sunshine Beach Run and look forward to seeing you all there on the day.