Benefits of Running on Tarmac

Wolverhampton Tarmac specialists Pelsall Tarmacadam discuss the benefits of running on tarmac, as opposed to other sports surfaces.

As so many people these days run for pleasure and fitness, the question of what surface is best, often comes to the fore.

Ultimately, it’s a case of personal preference, but we were delighted to discover that sports scientists in the USA all agree, running on tarmac is considerably better for joints than many other surfaces.

As a Wolverhampton Tarmac specialist, often find ourselves providing our services to schools, businesses and commercial environments. Anywhere, in fact, that needs a sports pitch or court.  In addition to specific court design, we can also provide multiple use game areas, ideal for sports centres and schools.

So what, exactly, did these USA specialists say?

Running on Treadmills
Despite their popularity, treadmills aren’t great news! Apparently, knees had to be flexed at 6 degrees more when using them. The ankles didn’t fare much better either! In addition, running on a treadmill encourages people to use greater force, and an un-natural body angle. Not great news!

When newly-formed, concrete gives a great, smooth surface to run on. But when it’s old, concrete is prone to crumbling and cracking. These holes and worn spots offer up unexpected (and unwelcome) surprises for the runner – not to mention the hard landing when they fall.

Physicians at the New York Women’s Sports Medicine Center recommend completely avoiding concrete as a running surface. However, if runners do choose to use it, they should wear shoes with the maximum level of cushioning in order to avoid a forceful landing if they trip.

Forceful landings on concrete can be strong enough to shatter blood cells and reduce the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry to organs. In addition, runners are much more likely to develop to develop shin splints.

Natural Surfaces Off-Road
Whilst there is no doubt that grass provides a softer landing, running off-road is full of pitfalls. So why you may land softer, the likelihood is you will fall more often too due to the fact there are so many hazards waiting to trip you up. Stones underfoot, tree roots, hidden debris, suddenly uneven ground – it’s like an obstacle course out there!

Road runners  will already know that asphalt is one of the fastest surfaces you can find. It’s easy to measure distance as you run, and simple to keep a steady pace going. It’s solidity makes it predictable, and the even surface offers less strain on the Achilles tendon than softer or uneven terrains.

The Conclusion?
Ultimately – there is no harm in varying surfaces as long as concrete is used rarely and running shoes are in good shape. Switching surfaces teaches the body to adapt and avoid injuries due to repetition. But if you want steady pace, easy to measure activity and smooth surfaces – asphalt wins every time.