Monday, April 13, 2009

Beach running on Crete

Just came back from a pleasant beach running holiday on the Mediterranean island of Crete. It was beautiful and not too crowded this time of year. Most of the tourist attractions were still closed, which was just fine for me.

I ran, jogged and walked every day by the seaside, covering probably slightly less than 100 miles per week. No worries, it surely felt challenging enough as beach running requires a lot more energy and concentration than road running.

The weather was perfect with daily high temperature slightly above 30C (70F). The terrain varied greatly from fine sand to gravel, pebbles and rocks. Occasional delights included ice-cold river crossings, ankle deep mud, slimy sea rocks, and sharp volcanic terrain.

I ran mostly in Brooks ST racing flats, or simply barefoot. I saw some sea urchins, but luckily didn't step on any. Post-run cooling down in the sea was great for recovery.

I ran mostly on the wet firm sand close to the sea, between the waves and the soft dry sand. It's a very tricky thing to do because there is always the danger of getting your feet wet and then filling your shoes and socks with sand.

My purpose was to enjoy the sand, sun and the sea while strengthening those small feet muscles that would never get used normally. I achieved all that, but I'm also very proud that I managed to stay media-free (net/phone/TV/iPod/papers) for eight consecutive days!


Yannis said...

you have some nice photos here.


Jakuko said...

Thanks Yannis! I think Lumix LX3 is the best compact camera ever. I took tons of photos. Maybe I'll post more of them later. Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Jakuki beautiful pictures you have made.
I am considering going there but I really don't want pebble or gravel beaches, do you recommend it there? Is there enough sandy beaches for one to lay down on the beach?


Jakuko said...

Thanks Mason! I've only been on the North coast of Western Crete. I mainly checked out the beaches to the west of Chania. There seems to be a lot of gravel and pebbles in many beaches so you have to explore a little (or ask the locals) to find the finest sands. The ones I liked best were near a place called Agii Apostoli (three really beautiful natural capes about a mile west of Chania). There are a few nice sandy coves fine for swimming, snorkeling or just laying on the beach.

Next there is Krissi Akti (Golden Beach), which is good because there's a lot more space. I bet these beaches will be full in summer, but crowds were not a problem in April!

These are safer areas for kids than most other beaches, but you may still find some rocks (and urchins, and all sorts of thrash thrown in) in the sea. Anyway the sand is nice enough there and the water shallow enough for most people to enjoy and relax, I'd say 8/10.