The Energy Cost of Running on Grass Compared to Soft Dry Beach Sand

H.C. Pinnington, Brian Dawson

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109 Citations (Scopus)


This study compared the energy cost (EC) (J(.)kg-(-l.)m(-1)) of running on grass and soft dry beach sand. Seven male and 5 female recreational runners performed steady state running trials on grass in shoes at 8.11 and 14 km(.)h(-1). Steady state sand runs, both barefoot and in shoes, were also attempted at 8 km(.)h(-1) and approximately 11 km(.)h(-1). One additional female attempted the grass and sand rims at 8 km(.)h(-1) only. Net total EC was determined from net aerobic EC (steady state (V) over dot O-2, (V) over dot CO2 and RER) and net anaerobic EC (net lactate accumulation). When comparing the surface effects (grass, sand bare foot and sand in shoes) of running at 8 km(.)h(-1) (133.3 m(.)min(-1)) in 9 subjects who most accurately maintained that speed (133.3+/-2.2 m(.)min(-1)), no differences (P>0.05) existed between the net aerobic, anaerobic and total EC of sand running barefoot or in shoes, but these measures were all significantly greater (P0.05) from each other. Expressed as ratios of sand to grass running EC coefficients, the sand running barefoot and sand in shoes running trials at 8 km(.)h(-1) revealed values of 1.6 and 1.5 for net aerobic EC, 3.7 and 2.7 for net anaerobic EC and 1.6 and 1.5 for net total EC respectively. For all running speeds combined, these coefficients were 1.5 and 1.4 for net aerobic EC, 2.5 and 2.3 for net anaerobic EC and 1.5 and 1.5 for net total EC for sand running barefoot and in shoes respectively. Sand running may provide a low impact, but high EC training stimulus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-430
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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