The question of whether it’s safe to run on asphalt often elicits different opinions from fitness professionals, trainers and athletes. While asphalt generates greater impacts and biomechanical stress on your joints, there’s not much prove that it’s really injurious.
And with asphalt roads being the most common running surfaces, it’s actually hard to avoid them. So, it’s a better option to know what it takes to run on asphalt safely.
If you’re going to hit asphalt roads, then you need a few tips on how you can run safely on theses surfaces.
Related: Best Shoes for Running on Asphalt
How Safe is Running on Asphalt?
While asphalt running surfaces might harder on your feet than trails and grass, they’re not solely responsible for all your running injuries. Running injuries are a complex phenomenon which can blamed on several other factors. So, you might ask, is it safe to run on asphalt roads?
Simply speaking, there’s little citation that links hard surfaces such as asphalt to the common running injuries exhibited by runners. In fact the high impacts associated with asphalt surfaces are effectively absorbed by your running shoes as well as your feet.
Therefore, wearing worn-out or less cushiony running shoes puts you at a bigger risk of injuries when running asphalt. Running on uneven asphalt roads also exposes you to injuries due to lack of stability on your feet.
Another possible cause of injuries when running on asphalt is inappropriate running style such as heel strike.
Benefits of Running on Asphalt
- They are the most widely spread and available running surfaces. In fact, every time you step out of your house or compound, the surface you’ll are likely to encounter is an asphalt-carpeted road. So, if you’re preparing for a marathon, asphalt are the best training surfaces because most marathon races take place on such surfaces.
- With most asphalt roads located towns and cities, you expect to get plenty of lighting from the street lamps if you’re running at night.
- Well-finished asphalt roads lack irregularities or inconsistencies which might lead to ankle twisting.
- Asphalt is less rigid than concrete which minimizes the intensity of impacts on your feet. Plus it’s not as soft and unstable as sand which makes it good for your Achilles.
- You run faster and work less when running on asphalt than on both grass and sand. That’s because your feet are more stable on asphalt and therefore able to push off without working too hard.
- Asphalt provides better contact with the outsoles of your shoes which minimizes sliding or skidding.
Things to Consider When Running on Asphalt Surfaces
1. Appropriate Foot Striking
The way your foot strikes the ground during determines how impacts are received and distributed on your feet and legs. This is of great concern when running on hard surfaces due to the high impact forces involved.
Normally heel striking puts a lot of strain results in high impacts under your feet which puts your shins at risk of inflammation. Therefore, runners are encouraged to adopt midfoot or ball striking to minimize the intensity of landing impacts.
2. Take It Easy On Asphalt
Beginner runners should take it easy on asphalt roads because their joints and muscles are not used high impacts. Your joints and muscles need to gradually become used to impacts to minimize overuse injuries.
Running on softer surfaces such as grass and the treadmill will help your joints and muscles get used to the pounding.
Another way you can do this is to begin a walking routine on asphalt roads and gradually increase you pace.
Running on the asphalt surfaces may come with several hazards which might lead to injuries or inconveniences. Below are some tips to keep you on the safe side.
Most asphalt running surfaces are in populated areas where you might get distracted by whatever is happening around. Therefore, it’s advisable to focus on your running to avoid stumbling on people or tripping on things.
Your feet and eyes need to coordinate properly to avoid hazards on asphalt roads such as pebbles, broken glass, potholes and so on.
If you’re not competing or gearing up for a competition, then there’s no point of being in rush when running on asphalt roads. It’s good a controllable speed to minimize risks of tripping off.
Running in Dim Light
I you love running in dimly lit conditions such as in the morning or early morning, then consider roads that are equipped with street lights. You can also wear a headlamp in case some stretches of the road aren’t well-lit.
In addition consider wearing reflective gear so that motorists can see you clearly.
Avoid Congested Paths
It’s safer and more convenient to run on less congested paths. Use sidewalks if the road has such provisions to avoid the vehicles.
No Earbuds on the Road
Running on the side of the road with your earbuds on only puts you at risk of being hit by vehicles, motorbikes or bicycles. Or you might collide with other runners or pedestrians.
Although music enhances your running performance, it should only be used where there’s little or no traffic on the road.
4. Appropriate Running Shoes
High impacts are of great concern when running on asphalt. That’s where running shoes come to your aid. Shoes for running on asphalt are typically built with plenty of underfoot cushioning to allow proper impact absorption.
The midsole of your running shoes should have appropriate flexibility to minimize stiffness on your feet due to the rigidity of asphalt.
Plus they should provide secure grip to prevent accidental sliding.
5. Risk Factors
Your knees bear the brunt impact shocks during activities such as running, jumping, jogging and walking. If you’re already having knee pain, it’s advisable to stop running on hard surfaces like asphalt until your knees recovery fully.
Although asphalt surfaces are typically hard, you can safely run on them just like you can run on softer surfaces like grass and trails. All you need is to have adequately cushioned running shoes to protect you from the extremely high impacts when hitting such surfaces.
If you have knee pain, it’s advisable to stick to softer surfaces like the treadmill until your knees are fully recovered.