If you mostly run on roads, you're missing out: Soft and uneven surfaces help to build strength and balance by working some lesser-used muscles in your feet and legs. Even if there's no picturesque trail or beach in your neighbourhood, you still have an option: Run on grass. Photo by Greg Scales.
Look around for a park or athletic field with a big grassy area you can use (or go rogue and trample your neighbours' front yards -- wait, no, don't do that). Watch out for hidden hazards like rocks or animal holes in the grass. Even though soft surfaces are often touted as easier on your body, they aren't actually safer -- enjoy yourself, but pay attention to both your body and the surface to avoid injury.
Running on grass is also a mental as well as a physical change of pace, so try working it into the last 15 minutes of your next run. If that goes well, says a post at Competitor, you can work towards doing entire workouts on the turf.
Here's a workout Competitor recommends. Begin by jogging 15-20 minutes on grass to warm up. Then do these, using your own judgement for what feels "hard" and "easy" to you.
- Four minutes hard
- Two minutes easy (note that this is half the time of the hard interval)
- Three minutes hard
- One and a half minutes easy
- Two minutes hard
- One minute easy
- One minute hard
Recover for three minutes (walking or easy jogging), and then repeat the sequence two more times. Cool down with some more easy jogging. Check out the link below for more ideas.