One thing you should consider while planning to run is the variety of surfaces. Each surface comes with its own perks. Concrete and asphalt are usually seen as popular choices, but these are not so great for your joints. Running on grass, however, is a wonderful experience if you know the ground well.
Grass, as a running surface, offers a myriad of benefits- irrespective of the runner’s experience or capability. One obvious benefit of grass is that it is softer in terms of texture, which means that there are fewer chances of impact-related injuries.
There are way so many benefits of running on grass that we’ll talk about, especially in comparison to concrete and asphalt surfaces.
Let’s unleash all the benefits you can get by running on grass and how you can maximize the benefits.
- Benefits of Running on Grass
- 1. Low Impact
- 2. Muscle and Joint Strengthening
- 3. A Great Choice for Older Runners
- 4. Adjacent to Your Home
- 5. Benefits of Uneven Terrain
- 6. Builds Mileage and Strength in Pre-Season
- 7. Improves Running Form
- 8. Feel More Grounded
- 9. Can Add Some Spice to Your Training
- 10. Allows Your Family to Participate
- 11. Equips You for Other Sports
- How to Run Faster on Grass?
Benefits of Running on Grass
Coach Dennis Barker, head coach of Team USA Minnesota, concurs that grass serves as a great training ground for balance. It’s because the slightly uneven surface engages larger muscles in your feet, ankles, legs, and hips.
These areas, otherwise, don’t get to move as much as they do on a flat, even surface. As per Dennis, the softer the surface, the more strength is required to run quickly. Barker also claims that running on grass is mentally beneficial too.
If you’ve never tried running on grass before, there are a bunch of reasons to try it. Trust me, there are a lot of them!
1. Low Impact
First and foremost, unlike concrete and asphalt, the grass is of low impact. This is particularly very helpful for injury prevention. Research suggests that, compared to asphalt, running on grass exerts 9% to 16% less strain on your feet.
Should you suffer from impact-related running injuries, such as severe knee pain, IT band syndrome, or hip bursitis, choosing grass as a running surface could help make your runs more comfortable.
What’s more, running on grass can significantly bring down your susceptibility to stress-induced fractures or shin splints.
Consider this for a moment. When you bump your head on grass, it’s going to hurt less compared to when you try the same thing against concrete or asphalt. You can keep your feet healthy by giving them a soft running surface.
2. Muscle and Joint Strengthening
While you’re on it, you’ll also enjoy a vigorous workout. On grass, you will be required to work harder to maintain a constant turnover of your muscles because your muscles are not subjected to as much elastic force. You’ll need to lift your feet more, which will make your muscles and joints stouter.
However, one thing to add here is that you must run with the right shoes on because grass can be slippery. You must get the right Shoes for Running on Grass that gives you the traction you require to stay steady.
3. A Great Choice for Older Runners
If you’re a master runner, you’re likely to be more sensitive to pain from surfaces like concrete and asphalt.
Running on grass can salvage your joints by giving it a well-deserved break from those tough, abrasive surfaces.
4. Adjacent to Your Home
Depending on where your habitat is located, you might enjoy more grassy areas than the nearby pavements. Grass can be used as a running surface if your neighborhood has parks or fields. It may only be a couple of minutes’ walk or drive from your house, making it easy to go for a run on the grass.
5. Benefits of Uneven Terrain
Initially, running on uneven terrain might seem wise, but it is indeed immensely helpful. It contributes a great deal for improving your balance by requiring more strength. Training on grass can turn beneficial If you’re trying to improve your speed.
Furthermore, uneven trails require your feet and legs to use muscles they can’t use on flat surfaces.
You have to be prepared mentally as the terrain turns out to be more varied and not a straight shot usually.
6. Builds Mileage and Strength in Pre-Season
It is best to run on the grass right before the beginning of your training cycle. This is an excellent way to build muscle and mileage.
Obviously, workouts on grass can always be incorporated later in the training cycle, but it’s a remarkable place to start.
7. Improves Running Form
Because you can’t be sloppy when running on a softer surface, a softer surface benefits your running form.
It is no different with grass. Trying this surface, you’ll develop a good form for running, leading to more efficient and faster performance.
8. Feel More Grounded
There is no doubt that running on grass is more relaxing than running on the road.
You will feel more grounded when you are surrounded by grass. Taking time out of your busy life to run on grass will boost your well-being in a significant way.
9. Can Add Some Spice to Your Training
Life is spiced up with variety, isn’t it? Grass allows you to do an array of different workouts in order to mix up your training. Prepare long, slow grass runs, sprints, intervals, and fartlek run. If you wish, you may want to run barefoot in large, spacious grassy areas or even do hill repeats.
10. Allows Your Family to Participate
While you may be unable to convince your family—particularly your children—to run on the track or road, there is a high likelihood that you will be able to convince them to run on the grass.
In addition to this, your kids can play on the grass somewhere else while you run, allowing you to exercise while still watching your children.
Summer is a perfect time to do that, when you’re around your kids more and would like to walk barefoot on some runs.
11. Equips You for Other Sports
Last but not least, if you play other sports, such as soccer, running on grass is definitely useful practice for that season.
You will be a better player for any sports that are played on grass if you are familiar with grass as well as running on the road.
How to Run Faster on Grass?
Running on grass requires the same technique as running on roads. A warm-up exercise or jog is essential before you start running. Make sure to invest on proper shoes to avoid probable injuries.
As you run, make sure that you maintain a good posture (run forward in the most natural way) and concentrate on your breathing properly (inhale enough oxygen through the nose, expand your lungs to the fullest, and then exhale through the mouth wide open).
When you are running on grass, your foot doesn’t strike the ground on the same spot at each step. You are still stressed in different places, even if you run on a perfectly level and grassy surface.
There is a common misconception that the right technique for running faster is to land on the heel and then roll to the toes. However, this is not entirely true.
To strengthen many of the small muscles on the bottom of your feet, you should try naturally running more on the balls or midfoot. For your reference, here is an example sequence of grass running:
You can warm up by jogging on the grass for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then, you can try 4 minutes running hard, then 2 minutes easy, again 3 minutes hard, 1.5 minutes, 2 minutes hard, then 1-minute easy following by 1 minute hard.
Does Running on Grass Burn More Calories?
Fortunately, the claim is true. The reason for this is that you have to work harder when you run up hills or on uneven surfaces. When you are running on a grassy trail, you will maneuver side to side, skip over rocks, and make sure you are not hitting tree roots. Thus, you end up burning more calories as you run on grass which requires more effort.
Besides enjoying the wonderful benefits of running on grass, it also gives a fantastic opportunity to unleash your inner child and enjoy on lush green grass. In case you have been turned into someone who is dreading running, some grass workouts will give you a boost.
While you need to keep in mind the proper techniques, running on grass as a whole is certainly something that is worth including in your workout regime.
With this training, you will become faster, better at running form, while it will be low-impact. What else could you wish for as a runner?