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Sidewalk or Street - What's better for your feet?

As we discussed in a previous blog, running on sand can have quite some benefits for some otherwise less trained muscles in your feet. But as so often, it's recommended to vary certain aspects of your training - including the surface. So, while everyone will have their preferences which terrain they enjoy running on the most, it can certainly be said that switching through all possible options available will greatly increase your training effect and decrease risk of injury.

Today we'll have a closer look on how running on asphalt & concrete will affect you and your performance and what you should look out for.

Asphalt and Concrete - What's the difference?

Although being similar surfaces, we should quickly determine the differences between asphalt and concrete. Asphalt is a bit softer than concrete making it easier to run on, but it being predominant on highways and roads is a major disadvantage due to the fact that traffic can be a huge obstacle. Preferably, you'd go for lesser frequented roads instead! Concrete is generally harder and has a higher impact on your joints & muscles, especially when you're running at a fast pace - for this reason, you really shouldn't overdo it. Many city dwellers might not really have a choice here because concrete is usually used to construct sidewalks - but at least you avoid the annoying traffic and only have to take care of other pedestrians. However, strong cushioning is advised for both surfaces for efficient shock absorption.

Measuring made easy

One often neglected aspect of asphalt and concrete is that they are flat most of the time which makes it easy to measure distances on them and to maintain a steady rhythm. This consistency pays off - you'll be much better stabilized and your risk of falling is much lower and is a factor many runners consider important to prepare psychologically.

Preparing for a competition?

That's where asphalt clearly holds the upper hand - many races & competitions are being held on running tracks made of asphalt, so training on it does not only prepare your body but also your mind. If you feel self-confident while training on asphalt the same will most likely apply to competing to others on asphalt. The same definitely can't be said about concrete since there are no major competitions on this surface.

Conclusion - which is better?

Usually, it's hard to tell which surface is better because all of them have their respective Pros & Cons - but when comparing asphalt to concrete we can quite confidently determine asphalt as the winner!

The tremendous shock caused to your lower body joints makes concrete one of the least forgiving surfaces and is a major reason to keep training sessions low. But if you are more of a laidback runner that occasionally runs and keeps the distance short you shouldn't worry too much about running on concrete.


Sep 24th-26th 2021 - South Korea Bongeunsa Marathon

At the request of the many Korean fans among our members and together with the runners from Korea, we are organizing this wonderful race under the sign of Bongeunsa Temple - the landmark of South Korea.

Take part in this exciting race together with Korea fans from all over the world and get your beautiful Bongeunsa Korea medal!

Bild 1 : Tomasz Woźniak via unsplash
Bild 2 : Joshua Sortino via unsplash