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Why You Should Avoid Running on Concrete: Better Alternatives for Beginner to Intermediate Runners

Introduction: When it comes to running, choosing the right surface can have a significant impact on your overall experience and, more importantly, your long-term joint health. As a beginner or intermediate runner, the surface you run on plays a crucial role in preventing injuries and ensuring a comfortable stride. In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons why running on concrete, including footpaths, might not be the best choice for you. Plus, we’ll explore some fantastic alternatives that will make your running routine safer and more enjoyable.

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Title: Why You Should Avoid Running on Concrete: Better Alternatives for Beginner to Intermediate Runners

Introduction: When it comes to running, choosing the right surface can have a significant impact on your overall experience and, more importantly, your long-term joint health. As a beginner or intermediate runner, the surface you run on plays a crucial role in preventing injuries and ensuring a comfortable stride. In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons why running on concrete, including footpaths, might not be the best choice for you. Plus, we’ll explore some fantastic alternatives that will make your running routine safer and more enjoyable.

The Downsides of Running on Concrete:

  1. Impact on Joints: Concrete is an unforgiving surface that doesn’t absorb shock well. Every time your foot strikes the ground, the impact reverberates through your joints, especially your ankles, knees, and hips. Over time, this repeated stress can lead to discomfort and even injuries.

  2. Repetitive Strain: Running on concrete involves a repetitive motion that can put strain on certain muscle groups and joints. This can result in overuse injuries, such as shin splints or stress fractures, which can be both painful and frustrating.

  3. Lack of Shock Absorption: Unlike softer surfaces, like grass or tracks, concrete lacks the natural shock-absorbing properties that can help cushion the impact of your steps. This can contribute to quicker muscle fatigue and increased strain on your body.

Alternatives to Running on Concrete:

  1. Grass and Trails: Running on grass or natural trails provides a much softer surface that absorbs impact and reduces stress on your joints. Trails, in particular, offer the added benefit of varied terrain, which engages different muscle groups and enhances your overall stability.

  2. Rubber Tracks: Many schools or recreational centers have rubber tracks that are specifically designed to be forgiving on joints. These tracks offer better shock absorption compared to concrete, making them a great alternative for runners.

  3. Dirt Paths: If you enjoy a more rustic running experience, dirt paths can be a fantastic option. The softer surface reduces impact, while the uneven terrain challenges your balance and strengthens stabilizing muscles.

  4. Treadmills: While not an outdoor option, treadmills are excellent for beginners. They offer a controlled environment with cushioned surfaces that minimize impact. Gradually increasing the incline can help simulate outdoor conditions.

Choosing the Right Footwear: To further protect your joints and minimize the impact of running, make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear. Invest in a pair of running shoes that provide ample cushioning and support. The right shoes can make a world of difference in preventing injuries and ensuring your comfort.

Tips for a Balanced Routine: To reduce the risk of overuse injuries, consider mixing up your running surfaces. Alternating between grass, trails, and rubber tracks can help your body adapt to different conditions while minimizing strain on specific areas.

Additionally, incorporating cross-training activities into your routine can be highly beneficial. Activities like swimming, cycling, or strength training give your body a break from the high-impact nature of running while still maintaining your fitness levels.

Conclusion: In the world of running, choosing the right surface is paramount, especially if you’re a beginner or intermediate runner. Concrete may be readily available, but its unforgiving nature can take a toll on your joints and overall enjoyment. By opting for alternatives like grass, trails, rubber tracks, or even treadmills, you’ll significantly reduce your risk of injuries and enhance your running experience. Remember, the road to becoming a better runner is paved with the choices you make along the way, so choose wisely, and keep your body in the best possible shape for miles of enjoyable running.

Happy and safe running!

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