Most runners stick their runs with asphalt, which is the most popular surface over the world. But maybe some haven’t had enough information about benefits, techniques and tips when running on this surface, so today, I would like to discuss as well as provide you with necessary information about those.
Benefits of Running on asphalt
- It is very easy for you to find asphalt because most roads in the world are made of it. Besides, this surface also allows you to measure distances and keep up a steady rhythm.
- This surface is flatter, more stable and predictable in comparison with soft and uneven surfaces, which helps reduce the risk of twisting an ankle or tripping like when running on uneven surfaces such as grass or dirt roads.
- Asphalt is neither too sturdy as concrete nor too soft as sand, which is very suitable and ideal for runners who suffered from Achilles tendon issues. There is some evidence proven that running on asphalt is softer on the joints than running on concrete. This is because asphalt has more flexible materials compared to the rigidity of concrete, which decreases repetitive strain and impact on joints.
- Although running on asphalt is harder on your body than on grass, but it is faster.
- In comparison with running on soft surfaces, running on asphalt actually reduces the risk of tendinopathy. Besides, this surface is also good for knees, although it puts more impact on runners’ legs than grass or dirt road surfaces.
- Marathons or races are held on asphalt all the time so if you tend to take part in the race, practicing on asphalt regularly will prepare you for it.
- Asphalt surfaces are often in the center of a town or city; therefore, most of them have street lamps, which are very useful for you to run in the dark. Additionally, if you need help when running on this surface, you are more likely to be seen and helped than running on dirt roads or trails.
- When it is cool, you can run barefoot on asphalt. Maybe you don’t know that asphalt will provide your feet with all sorts of feedback to promote proper form. Once you can run barefoot on a hard surface like asphalt comfortably, you can run barefoot on softer surfaces without any difficulty.
Techniques of Running on asphalt
- Running with the correct form plays an important role on any surface. If you want to try running on asphalt, using midfoot or ball strike instead of heel strike or hammering the ground with your feet is better and helps decrease the risk of shin splints. The first part of your foot should touch the ground is the ball. Followed by heel and then toes (or possibly toes then heel if you feel more comfortable). However, your heel can touch the ground or not. Bend your knees to pull your feet up/back is also a good form to lessen the impact on your legs.
- Asphalt roads are crowned to allow drainage, so the center of a road is often higher than at the edges. So when running on asphalt, one leg will often be higher than the other.
- If you are a beginner on asphalt, running too much and too far is not good for your body. In other words, this can increase the risk of joint and muscle injuries because of overuse and stress. Give your muscles and joints time to adapt to the pounding on this new surface is better. You should start running on soft surface such as soccer fields or golf courses 3 or 4 times a week before mix in some miles on harder surface like asphalts. Until your body gets use to running on harder surface, you can completely transition to run on it.
- When a runner starts running on asphalt, glass and pebbles become danger. A runner should learn how to avoid these types of annoyances and obstacles quickly. Eye/foot coordination is the necessary technique when running on asphalt.
- Warm up to prepare your body before run and cool down to prevent dizziness, cramps and abnormal strain on the heart are important steps that you have to remember. Besides, combining hard with easy runs is noticeable when running on any surfaces. Depends on your endurance, you can distribute the time for each type of runs reasonably.
Tips for Running on asphalt
- When running on this surface, you may have to deal with many different dangers and obstacles such as potholes or cars. In fact, there have been a lot of accidents happened to runners when running on asphalt. This is unexpected for every runner. You should pay attention to where you are stepping on to avoid getting injuries, and turn your music down to be aware of your surroundings clearly.
- Wearing bright clothing and shoes that have reflective feature to make you visible, especially in the dark.
- When running on asphalt where there are a lot of traffic and people, you just maintain a slow speed to be able handle uncontemplated situation.
- Running shoes play a very important role in deciding your running performance on any surface. If you are going to run on asphalt, you should choose road shoes that offer plenty of cushioning in order to protect your joints from impact, but still lightweight enough to promote speed. Hoka One One Clifton is one of the best minimalist shoes I want to suggest to be used on asphalts. With adequate cushioning for running on asphalt and a relatively firm platform that improve biomechanics as well as help prevent injuries for more efficient running.
- Like on other surfaces, you should use sunscreen on all your runs to protect your skin.
I highly recommend this surface for your training if you are living in a town or city. But keep in mind some necessary techniques and tips to be more confidence in your runs. See you next time in other article about other surfaces. Good luck!