Workout Tips

Get a Leg Up On the Best Surfaces to Run On

Knowing the pros and cons of different running surfaces can help you stay on your feet.

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If you want to get the most from your workouts, variety is not just the spice of life, it's one of the basic food groups. Certainly you know that's true for your weightlifting routine. And if running is your main source of cardio work, then that axiom is equally applicable - especially when it comes to the types of surfaces upon which you pound those peds.

According to Edward A. Schwartz, DPM, a podiatrist who works with many runners at Coordinated Health Systems, the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based orthopedic medicine clinic, using many types of running surfaces "helps you vary the different types of stresses that your lower extremities have to accommodate. And that's better overall for your muscle groups and joints." Adds Bob Howard, MS, ATC, head athletic trainer at the University of Connecticut, "Every surface offers a different type of training. You want to be able to switch things up." This will help keep your body challenged but also injury-free. So get out there and mix it up, but before you lace up, know what you are in for. M&F's guide to running surfaces will give you the "dirt" on all levels.

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