Training

The hazards of holiday training

Dec 12, 2019

Runner on the beach

Going away to the coast on holiday can be a dangerous period for developing injuries. I would like to alert you to some of the most common aspects of preventing injury while training on holiday:

1. Beware of overtraining

When you are on holiday, you will suddenly find that you have a lot of extra time at your disposal for training. You are in new and scenic surroundings and, if you are at the coast, running is suddenly very much easier because of there being more oxygen in the air.

Because of this there is usually pressure from your running friends to go and explore all the scenic routes – the hillier and harder, the better!

Be careful not to let your surroundings and the holiday atmosphere interfere with what you know is your training limit. Resist the urge to overdo the training.

2. Avoid Dehydration

Runners tend to spend the whole day in the sun without taking in the necessary fluids. This is then followed by going out for a long run without sufficient water points on the route.

While on holiday you should drink regularly during the day in order to maintain a positive water balance before the run. With the hot humid conditions you need to drink a lot more than in the cooler dry climate you are used to.

If you’re a morning runner, then even better. You can get your run done before going out into the sun.

3. Avoid running in the soft sand

A favourite amongst the city dwellers is a barefoot run on the beach. This is particularly dangerous.

Firstly, the skin under the foot is soft and will very quickly form a huge blister. Secondly, the heel sinks deeper into the soft sand than when running on a harder surface. This is true whether running with or without running shoes. This puts extra strain of the calf muscles and achilles tendons and results in injury.

Should you wish to run on the beach, run on the hard sand, close to the water’s edge.  Better still, find a road running along the beachfront and enjoy the view from there.

Despite the hazards of holiday training, I do believe that it’s a great time to get out there and enjoy some sensible running.

Gary Sobel


Gary is a physiotherapist based in Linksfield West in Johannesburg. He has a special interest in treating sports injuries, running injuries and orthopaedics. He has also assisted a number of top Comrades and Iron Man athletes with treatment. Read more about Gary here.

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