Is It Okay to Run on Asphalt?

Running trails are really essential to a consistent runner, and asphalt among the most common, right? But is it really okay to run on asphalt? This is a question that often comes up, not just with amateur runners, but also with professional athletes.

The answer is actually relative, running on asphalt could be good and bad for you. Nevertheless, the positives always outrun the negatives, so yah.  It is very much okay to run on asphalt.

So, what is Asphalt?

Asphalt, which is used in most pavements, road sides, and streets in towns, is basically a combination of tar, gravel and small crushed stones. It is smooth, and quite great for walking, running and biking.

Is it Okay to Run on Asphalt? The Unbeatable Facts!

Since asphalt is smooth, running on it feels great. In essence, if you are healing from a foot injury or on the verge of getting one, then using asphalt pavements for your running training could change your story.

There are several benefits and drawbacks of running on asphalt, and we will discuss them below.

Why You Should Run on Asphalt

1. Smooth Surface

Asphalt surfaces are so smooth that they are incomparable, even to concrete and tarmac surfaces. Therefore, when running on asphalt, you don’t get a shock in your body. With the right pair of shoes for running on asphalt, you will not even need shock absorbers.

On top of that, your knees and lower back will not have aftermath pains that often accompany training on rougher surfaces.

Also, you don’t run the risk of falling on asphalt, since unexpected obstacles such as tree stumps, bushes and rocks are rare cases.

Therefore, you have the chance to run faster and even for longer periods on asphalt roads.

2. Even Trail

Throughout the whole road, asphalt remains the same. None will be rougher or wet compared to another. Therefore, if you pick a running space, you can easily keep up with it without uncalled fatigue exhausting you.

Even if the road slants in several instances, you are usually prepared for the pace you will pick, especially if you are familiar with the road. Therefore, training for a run on asphalt will motivate you to do better.

3. Most Available in Urban Areas

If you live in an urban area, then you know how difficult it is to get just any training surface that you want.  Some people claim that you can use grass paths in parks, but are they really any better? Unless you are training very early in the morning, it will be difficult to get parks with few or no people.

The challenge will remain the same as on the asphalt road, hence the need to adapt to asphalt running. Besides, those pars may even be so far from your place that reaching them becomes a struggle in the first place.

4. Prevent Injury

If you are a runner, then you already know that feet injuries are common in the industry. Despite knowing this, it is still the most dreadful thing that could happen to an athlete, especially just before a major competition.

So, you should consider running on grounds that pose less feet injury risks, and asphalt is the major one here.

5. It is the Surface that is Used for Professional Athletic Competitions

Asphalt surfaces reign the race fields. Therefore, it is only sensible that you learn to use them before bracing the competition. Hence, training and running on asphalt, especially prior to a competition, is an essential part of your training.

You will not only learn the surface, but you will also appreciate the best type and fit of shoes for you on the terrain.

Why You Should Not Run on Asphalt

1. Traffic and Risk

Since asphalt is found in high traffic areas in most cases, you run the risk of bumping into people, bikes, and motorcycles. In some instances, especially on the road, cars may go off-road, which will get you badly.

Other than that, you have to deal with traffic obstacles. Though providing a uniform training path, you may be forced to stop t unplanned intervals just to allow for people and bikes to pass. Or, like we have seen above, you may try to protect yourself from a possible accident on the road.

Such obstacles are rare in a country path, where you could actually be alone for miles.

2. Slanting Trail

Though uniform, asphalt pavements slant at intervals. You may have to adjust your speed and concentration just so that you don’t go off-balance.

While your eyes could be on the horizon and your ears on your earphones in a deserted path, you will not get the same luxury with these town pavements.

Worse still, the slants may get you off-guard when you have to deal with a large traffic of people using the pathway.

3. Limited Trail Exposure

As usual, asphalt is not just a smooth terrain, but also really uniform all through. Therefore, if you are only training on asphalt, you cannot gauge your competence in a different terrain.

Sadly, unlike rough terrains that make you resilient and better on softer terrains, this pavement is the smoothest and most convenient terrain.

So, if you are only using asphalt as your only training ground, chances are that you will limit yourself to a large extent. And don’t forget that during the main competition, you are likely to meet people who only had hills and rough trails to train in. This means that the larger possibility is that they will beat you.

Parting Shot

Is it okay to run o asphalt? Just like we have seen above, running on asphalt has its pros and cons. However, since the pros are more than the cons, then you should consider the pavements.

Nevertheless, having a variety of trails to train in will be more fruitful. Even if most of your training is on asphalt, try venturing into new routes, even if in a third of your training sessions.

References 

  1. What is the best surface to run on to avoid getting injured?
  2. Which Is Harder to Run On? Concrete vs. Asphalt for Runners