If you've been taking your jogs outside now that the weather is turning warm, you may be encountering running on softer surfaces (grass, sand, uneven trails, etc). This is great because it adds variation to your workout, which means your muscles are working in new ways but there is a darker side to running on softer surfaces...
Running on soft surfaces can be easy on the knees, but can wreak havoc on the ankles. Especially if you haven't developed good ankle strength, you may end up with achy ankles since they are constantly working overtime to keep your whole body in balance while running on the uneven surface. That's a lot of work for a little part of your body, so follow these tips to keep your ankles happy on your next soft/uneven surface run:
- Make sure to wear a good shoe that is made for motion control like the Ariel ($120.00, pictured above) by Brooks (buy it from brooksrunning.com).
- Supplement your running with exercises that will strengthen the ankles like doing squats and lunges on the Bosu and/or calf raises on a balancing board. Or you can write the alphabet with your ankle.
- Avoid slippery surfaces like mud if at all possible. Nothing kills an outdoor jog like turning (or spraining) your ankle.
- If you're prone to ankle problems, you may want to try doing cardio that creates less stress on your ankles.