Asphalt remains one of the most popular running surface. It’s technically hard to avoid asphalt surfaces because country roads, city streets and many other running paths are constructed using asphalt. If you’re searching for information about running on asphalt, you have come to the right place.
In this guide, you’ll get to know more about asphalt surfaces, their benefits, safe running and more.
Related: Best Running Shoes for Asphalt
Is it Safe to Run on Asphalt?
It’s commonly thought that running on hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete puts runners at risk of injuries. Sometimes running coaches or fitness experts either advice runners to avoid such surfaces or alternate between asphalt and softer surfaces like grass, gravel paths or dirt roads. But is running on asphalt really safe for your feet and body?
A simple answer is YES – Well, running on asphalt or concrete involves greater impacts than when running on softer surfaces like grass or gravel. However, there’s no credible scientific evidence that solely links running on asphalt to the myriad of injuries often experienced by runners.
Running injuries can result from many discrepancies including intense workouts, wearing wrong shoes, overuse, among others. It also makes sense to attribute injuries to uneven surfaces. That means, although asphalt surfaces pose a great risk of impact-related injuries, they cannot be solely associated with the injuries.
Simply speaking, it’s safe to run on asphalt as long as you wear the correct running shoes, run on even surfaces and maintain proper running mechanics.
Advantages of Running on Asphalt
- Asphalt surfaces are even and consistent. This enables you to stabilize your feet and minimise chances of twisting your ankles.
- Asphalt remains one of the most widely used running surfaces especially on marathons. So, running on it prepares you for what you’re likely to encounter in a forthcoming race.
- The coarse nature of asphalt creates a rough surface which provides a firm grip with the outsole of your running shoes. This reduces the risk of sliding or slipping when running.
- You experience more impact on asphalt surfaces than on softer surfaces such as grass. However, you tend to run faster on asphalt than on grass.
- Asphalt is more forgiving on your joints compared to concrete.
Safety Tips to Remember When Running on Asphalt
Most of the asphalt surfaces are roads and paths which are full of traffic and people. Therefore, road safety is paramount when running on such surfaces.
When running on sidewalks you don’t have to worry about traffic. In this case, all you’ll have to deal with is the inconvenience caused by human traffic. But when there’s no sidewalk you’ll be running very near the traffic. This is the place you need to be extra careful.
A general rule is to run against traffic. While this gives you a better view of oncoming vehicles, sometimes there’re could be exceptions. If the right side has a side walk, then there’s no problem running on this side of the road. Other general road safety tips include:
- Run on designated areas
- Ensure you have maximum visibility ahead and behind you.
- If you have to cross the road, ensure you do so in designated areas and follow traffic rules and signals.
- Avoid wearing headphones or earphones to prevent disruption
- Be cautious not to trample on other road users. Keep to your running and avoid unnecessary confrontations with strangers.
- Use well lit roads to enhance your visibility.
- In case you’re running at night or in dim light, wear reflective gear
- Keep off unpopulated and deserted roads as these could be potential areas for harassment.
- Run with your ID. It should have your names, address, phone number and important medical information such as blood group.
- Leave a word that you’ll be out and indicate the route you’re going to follow. Also carry you cell phone in case you need to make an emergency call.
- Running with a partner is even better. Not only is it enjoyable but it is also safe for each other.
- Be careful of careless drivers.
Related: Best Shoes for Running on Pavement
Road Running Gear
1. Running Shoes
When running on asphalt, you expect a lot of impacts beneath your feet. Therefore, the first thing to consider in your running shoes is cushioning and shock attenuation. This helps in absorbing some of the shock which would otherwise be felt by the feet.
Another important consideration is the grip offered by the outsole of the shoe. Falling on asphalt surfaces can lead to serious injuries. Therefore, ensure your shoes’ outsole is made of sticky rubber to prevent any likelihood of skidding or sliding. You can try out Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19.
2. Running Clothes
Generally running clothes should be lightweight and flexible. Flexible clothes allow your body to move freely without unnecessary restriction. If you’re running in cold weather, get clothes that keep you warm and dry. During hot weather running, go for lighter clothes that are lined with moisture wicking material.
When running in the dark or in dim light, it’s recommended to wear reflective clothes to heighten your chances of being seen by motorists.
3. Water Bottle
Running for a long period leaves you dehydrated. So, it’s advisable to carry water in a water bottle. Water is especially necessary when the route you’re planning to take doesn’t have places you can buy water.
4. Running Belt
A running belt provides a means for storing necessary items when running outdoors. You can use it to store things like phones, money, ID, keys and so on. This keeps your hands free thus allowing to focus on your running and use them for support in case you trip or slid. Check Nathan waist pack on amazon.
5. Running Watch
Get a GPS enabled sport watch to help tract your route and time your running session. You can get Garmin Forerunner smart watch from amazon.
Running on asphalt isn’t as risky as it has been popularly depicted. In fact there’s no scientific evidence that solely attributes injuries to running on asphalt. However, as with any other running surface, you need to wear proper running shoes to cushion your feet from the hard nature of asphalt.
Your safety depends on how much you adhere to proper running gait and the recommended guidelines.