Quick Tip: Which is Better, Running on Asphalt or Concrete?

Every so often, I’ll hear someone talking about the difference in the amount of pounding that our bodies take when we are running on asphalt or concrete.

There are some that claim that running on asphalt is much easier on our bodies than running on concrete.

And there are some that would argue that there is absolutely no difference.

Today I want to talk about whether or not there is a difference when it comes to running on asphalt or concrete.

Difference Between Running on Asphalt or Concrete

Difference Between Running on Asphalt or Concrete

Reasons Cited That Asphalt is Easier on Our Bodies Than Concrete

  • Concrete is More Dense than Asphalt: If it’s more dense, it’s going to produce more force/stress with every step. Makes sense right, since trails are even less dense and they are clearly easier on our bodies to run on.
  • Just Run on Both, You’ll See the Difference: Nothing like some serious empirical evidence to try and back up your claim, eh?

The Common Rebuttals for These Reasons

  • Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Concrete is more dense than asphalt. That’s a fact. However, both surfaces can only supply the same amount of force/stress/pressure to our bodies as our bodies supply to it. So the density argument is null.
  • Correlation Doesn’t Prove Causation: You think that the surface you’re running on is causing the aches and pains, but there are plenty of people that regularly run on concrete and don’t have any pain complaints due to surface. Could the surface have contributed to your pain, sure. But so could your form. So could your shoes. So could any other of a number of factors at play.

I’ve also seen some people try to get really technical and look at the force values and shock absorption and who knows what else to try and convince people once and for all that their argument is “right”.

Want to know what I think? Press play below to find out if I choose or side or ride squarely on the fence.

2 replies
  1. Mary Running
    Mary Running says:

    My body and feet in particular prefer asphalt. Actually they prefer dirt over all things. But only concrete makes them so angry they won’t get over it for months if I do a long run on it. lol

    • Denny
      Denny says:

      I used to feel like my body liked asphalt over concrete, but no longer notice any difference. Can’t argue with science I guess, eh? hehe


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