Concrete vs. Asphalt: Choosing the Best Running Surface for City Dwellers

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard all the horror stories about the perils of running on hard surfaces like concrete and sidewalks. But let’s face it, for us city dwellers, sometimes these are the only choices we’ve got when we’re itching to squeeze in a run amidst the hustle and bustle of life.

So here’s the big question: which of these hard surfaces is kinder to our precious legs? Well, fear not, my running comrades, because today, I’ve got the scoop on the ups and downs of pounding the pavement on both concrete and asphalt. We’ll weigh the pros and cons, explore the science, and help you make an informed decision on where to plant your next footfall.

So strap in and get ready for a wild ride as we delve into the world of running surfaces. Get those running shoes ready, because we’re about to hit the ground running, quite literally! Let’s go!

Running On Asphalt

Picture this: you’re out for a morning run, the sun just beginning to rise, and your feet hit the pavement.

Ah, the classic sound of asphalt beneath your trusty running shoes. It’s a combination of tar, sand, and crushed rock—the stuff that most roads are made of. Asphalt, my friend, the unsung hero of running terrains.

Now, let’s talk pros! Asphalt is like the cheetah of running surfaces—it’s fast, it’s smooth, and boy, is it easy to measure your pace.

Plus, it’s got some give, which means your joints get a bit of relief from the impact. No wonder most road races happen on this speedy stuff. If you’re gearing up for a big race, consider asphalt your new BFF during training.

But hold your horses, we’re not done yet. Every rose has its thorn, and asphalt is no exception. While it’s not the toughest terrain out there, it’s not a fluffy cloud either. So, watch your step, because those sloped shoulders on some roads can mess with your balance.

Your body might go into overdrive trying to compensate for the difference in height, and that can lead to injuries if you’re not careful. And don’t get me started on the hazards littered on the road—trucks, potholes, you name it.

Now, if asphalt was a character, it’d be like that cool, fast-talking friend you love hanging out with but also have to keep an eye on.

Running on The Sidewalk

Concrete, the stuff most sidewalks are made, ss constructed by mixing a cement binder with an aggregate. It’s the backbone of every pavement surface around the globe. Wherever you go, you’ll probably find concrete beneath your feet, ready to take you on an adventure.

Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty, the good and the not-so-good.

First up, the pros! Picture this: you’re trotting along the sidewalk, and it’s all yours—reserved just for pedestrians like you. It’s like your private running path in the midst of the city chaos, making it way safer than the busy roads.

And guess what? Running on the sidewalk means you’re just a hop and a skip away from that lush, green grass.

But let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. Concrete, my friends, is a beast. It’s the Hulk of terrains—rock-solid, unyielding, and boy, it can deliver quite a shock to your lower body joints.

Ouch! Keep in mind; it’s ten times harder than asphalt.

So, imagine your feet having a wrestling match with this mighty force every time you run. It’s tough on those joints, so make sure to listen to your body and give it some extra TLC.

And don’t even think about pulling a superhero move on a rainy day. Concrete turns into a slip ‘n slide when it’s wet, and you definitely don’t want to test your running skills on that obstacle course. So, my fellow runners, be cautious, especially when the skies are crying.

Concrete, the unyielding warrior of sidewalks—though it can be harsh, it’s a path you’ve got to navigate with care. Stay strong, stay smart, and embrace the adventure!

Asphalt Vs. Concrete – Which One is Better For Runners?

You know what they say—when it comes to running surfaces, it’s like diving into a pool of scientific mysteries.

One study says concrete is the winner, while another raises its glass to asphalt. It’s a lively debate out there, my friends, and even the experts can’t seem to agree. It’s like a clash of titans in the world of running surfaces!

Now, picture yourself typing away on your trusty laptop, doing a good ol’ Google search. Lo and behold, you’re whisked away into a whirlwind of conflicting opinions from the gurus themselves. One expert shouts, “Concrete all the way!” while another yells, “Nah, go with asphalt!” It’s like a heated marathon of contradictions.

But if I had to pick a side in this epic battle, I’d raise my flag for team asphalt!

Why? Well, as long as it’s not on a slanted surface, asphalt’s got some aces up its sleeve.

It’s one of the fastest terrains to run on, and let’s not forget, most road races love to dance on this black beauty. So, it’s perfect training ground for your upcoming showdown!

Now, here’s the kicker—running on concrete might seem alluring, but over time, it can be like a slow, sneaky villain. The downsides of concrete start piling up, outweighing the pros.

You might want to think twice before hitting that tough, unyielding surface. But don’t fret! When it comes to asphalt, you can beat the odds and mitigate those risks.

Here’s a secret stash of suggestions:

Safety first, my fellow road warriors! Seek out roads with spacious shoulders and bike lanes—a buffer zone between you and those zooming cars keeps you safe and sound. And remember, you’re not above the rules of the road! Yield to crosswalks, stoplights, and major roads. Let’s keep things harmonious out there, shall we?

picture of Run

Minimize Camber

First off, let’s talk about those tricky cambers. You know those subtle slopes on the roads that can play havoc with your form?

Yeah, they’re like sneaky little goblins, trying to trip you up! But fear not, for you have the power to minimize their mischief.

Simply switch sides of the street when running alongside the curb. And if you really want to be the boss of the camber, head for the center of the road when it’s safe to do so. No more getting outsmarted by those mischievous slopes!

Now, when it’s time to embrace the night owl within and go for a moonlit run, let’s be bright and bold!

Deck yourself out in some eye-catching, neon-colored threads. You’re not just running; you’re making a fabulous statement!

Oh, and don’t forget to bring along your trusty light companion to illuminate your path. We want you to shine like a superstar in the darkness!

And here’s a golden rule that you should never break: always run facing traffic. It’s like having your very own VIP seat in the front row of the running show!

Stick to the edge of the street or the shoulder whenever you can. We know you love those action-packed views of passing cars and fellow runners, but let’s put safety first, folks!

Now, here’s a secret to keep you one step ahead of the game—pay attention to your surroundings like a hawk!

Keep those eyes and ears open, and keep your music volume in check. Remember, situational awareness is your superpower! No distractions, just you and the world around you, in perfect harmony.

And when life gives you the option, trade that unforgiving concrete for a softer, kinder terrain.

Seek out grassy fields, peaceful parks, earthy dirt paths, or delightful bike trails. They’re like running on clouds compared to the harsh roads! Your joints will thank you, and your soul will be nourished by nature’s embrace.


So did I answer your question?

Do you have a different answer?

Maybe you prefer running on the sidewalk instead of roads.

I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

In the meantime, thank you for reading my post.

Keep Running Strong.

David D.

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