Running Surfaces

By Calvin Crawford – CC’s Staff

Running Surfaces.

North Dakota has found a way to apologize for last year’s behavior by sending us an early SPRING! Already the streets are full of runners, cyclists and folks walking their dogs. Here at CC’s tendonitis season has hit early as well, and we are already seeing runners going down for injuries that may be preventable. Aside from varying your training routine, with distance, time, intensity and frequency; you also need to take a look at WHERE you are running. The surface you put those 5-60+ miles each week on plays a huge role in how your body is going to respond and recover from your workouts. Here are the many options you have and why or why not they may be a good choice for you. As with everything exercise related – don’t’ get stuck in a rut. Vary your routine, challenge your body in new ways and don’t be afraid to change it up!

     Treadmill: I know that Peloton treadmill is sweet, but winter will come again next year I promise. 😊 Treadmill technology has come leaps and bounds over the last few years. There are many different arguments for why treadmill running is good or bad for you. So lets come to one agreement your muscles function differently on a treadmill. With that being said, these miles should be limited each week as well to prevent compensation patterns, weakness and muscle imbalances for practical applications outside and in your daily life.

     Concrete: The least forgiving surface you can run on. Putting your miles in on sidewalks and concrete put the greatest amount of stress on your joints and thus your surrounding musculature must go to work to shock absorb. Concrete also has a significantly higher likelihood of causing shin splints, IT Band issues, plantar fasciitis and low back dysfunction in runners due to its unforgiving nature. It’s hard not to incorporate at least some sidewalks into high mile runs but do your best to limit concrete running to the very least of your miles each week.

     Asphalt: Without a doubt the most common and likely favorite among all runners. It offers a bit more cushion than concrete and lucky for us Bismarck/Mandan is covered. We have an extensive trail system with miles and miles of asphalt for runners, walkers and cyclists. A majority of your miles should be, and probably already are, performed on this surface.

     Dirt/Trail: By far the best balance of firm and forgiving. If you can incorporate a trail run into your weekly miles not only does it take stress off your joints but challenges you in an entirely new way. Hip and ankle stability, corners, uneven terrain and likely steep climbs to burn your legs out. Now gravel roads technically fall under this category of dirt and trail but with the rocks on gravel roads come an entirely new risk factor with ankle sprains. Be careful!

Post Author: Calvin Crawford

Cal’s lovely wife’s name is Ashley. They have been in their first house for a year and are loving being in their own space. They have a golden retriever named TRIP. Cal’s 4 seasons are Hunting, Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, and preparing for those 3.


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