Quick Tip: Run on the Grass

Where did the weekend go? Did yours go by as quickly as mine? My dreaded weekend task wasn’t as bad as I led myself to believe. Tedious, a bit smelly (like paint fumes), and frustrating at times, but overall not too bad. I found the connective tissue encasing each muscle and muscle group to be fascinating. It was like a thick cobweb or thin batting like you’d use for a quilt.

However, when I came across what I believe was the IT band, it was much different. It has a silvery appearance to it, and almost had an iridescence.  The fibers were thick and hard to pull apart from the muscle compared to the other connective tissue. When they did come apart, the fibers had distinct vertical threads that looked like fiberglass when I held it up to the light. It seemed more plastic than (previously) living tissue. I thought anyone out there who deals with IT band issues might find that interesting.

iliotibial band

Speaking of injury, I have been flying through my Return to Running stages lately! I’m now at stage 13! I’ve gone up a stage or two a week for the past month and couldn’t be happier. The big trick with keeping my plantar fasciitis at bay, besides keeping up with my strengthening and stretching routine, has been consistent icing. I do an ice massage the day I run, after rolling my arch on my Foot Rubz and lacrosse ball, then make sure to slap an ice pack on it every single night while I’m reading in bed. That’s all! I forgot to do it after my Friday run and guess what? Discomfort the past two day.

My only problem now is building my cardio and leg endurance back up! I stayed in shape cardio and muscle-wise during my injury, but there’s nothing like running to make you feel out of shape!

Return to Running program

The other thing I think that has helped me brings me to today’s tip: running on the grass. Whenever I’m running around my neighborhood, I try to run on the grass whenever I get a chance. It’s usually the grass between the sidewalk and the street, but sometimes it’s the edge of someone’s lawn if there is no sidewalk. If the edge of the lawn is really nice, I won’t, but if it’s yucky crabgrass like in front of our house, I’ll run on the very edge of it. Use your best judgement–you don’t want your neighbors getting mad at you!

Running on grass

If the snow weren’t there, I’d be running along the fence

It even becomes a bit of a game for me, dodging the trees that interrupt my path, then jumping back on the grass. Makes the run a bit more interesting.

Why do I do it? The softer terrain is better on your feet and joints. Pavement and sidewalks are notoriously hard on your feet, the effects of which travel all the way up the body.

I can feel the difference right away. Friday’s run along the river near my work was heavenly because I was able to stay on a large piece of grass the entire time. My foot didn’t bother me in the least, not even during my warm-up!

Running path along the river

Of course, I had to be careful to dodge the roots of the trees and dog poo. No need to twist my ankle or ruin my shoes. Running on an uneven/grass/trail surface makes it a bit more challenging to look ahead  instead of down the entire time, which is generally better form for running, but all in all, it feels so much better.

Questions: How was your weekend? Do anything unusual? How’s your running or workout routine going? Do you run or walk on the grass to save your feet and body?

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12 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Run on the Grass

  1. I avoid running on pavement whenever possible. It kills my knees!

  2. I am happy to hear you are keeping your PF at bay… it’s the worst! I read your post from back in December, I might try those ice cups! I find that massaging my calves helps big time ( I know I’ve talked about this on my blog, but it really works!) I find I just CAN”T get the heel pain to completely go away… ugh… I also like running on grass, but I have to be careful because I’m kind of a klutz :)

    • I forget-do you massage your calves with your hands, a foam roller, The Stick, or something else? I can never seem to get them well! Do you run back to back days? I don’t and that’s key for me, though I know that’s difficult to do when you’re training.

  3. I don’t like running on grass because of the unevenness (that usually I don’t see until it’s too late), dirt, water (as in wet grass ruining my shoes), etc.
    I know it’s better for you, but I just don’t like it. I would consider running in sand for the softer surface, although of course I’d be running much slower than on the road.

    • It can be hard to both pay attention to running while also paying attention to what you’re running on, so I don’t blame you. It’s definitely a gamble depending on the surface, but my body definitely appreciates it when I run on grass (or dirt).

  4. I think a good thing about this return to running program is the rest days not only allow my body to recover and adapt, but my lungs! I agree, running is harder than any other type of cardio. I’m already wondering how it’s going to go when I have no walk breaks to look forward to.
    I’ve been trying to vary the surfaces I run on–treadmill, dirt path, paved path, etc. I don’t think I’ve tried the grass yet but maybe I will. I’m sure it is gentler.

  5. […] running news, I’m heading out to do stage 15 this afternoon along the river. I can’t believe I’ve finally gotten this far! It’s been such a long time coming. […]

  6. […] on varied surfaces: My feet really love me when I run on grass, so I make a point to have a trail run or a run along an area with grass in one of my weekly runs. […]

  7. […] Thankfully, they didn’t hurt once I was done and they still haven’t hurt more than usual. Going to need to keep up foam rolling the ITBs and running on the grass. […]

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