Are Softer Surfaces Better?
you hear “Oh run on a soft surface it’s better for your knees” and I want to address that because it’s not necessarily true.
Like running form, there’s no better or worse running form, only different. It’s the same with surface, there’s no better or worse running surface, only different running surfaces and that means that there are benefits and negatives.
Too much soft too much hard surface etc and a couple reasons for this is that if you’re running on a soft surface your muscles will actually tense more immediately prior and during ground contact and you’ll hit the ground a little harder. While running on a soft surface your body kind of has an impact loading rate that it does well with and your brain will kind of set you at that point.
Areally interesting study was that these runners are put on a (I think of a) long treadmill and somehow they were running and then the surface switched to a softer or harder surface and after a few steps the body (without the runner realizing it) adjusted to how hard or soft it was striking the ground based on how hard or soft the ground was. So if you have a soft tissue injury, we’ll say like an achilles twinge, running on a harder surface might be better because your calf might not have to tighten up or tense quite as much immediately prior to impact.
There is a time and place for softer & harder running surfaces →