Jogging on pavement vs. concrete sidewalks, is there a difference?

I see the faithful around my neighbourhood risking life and limb jogging on the roadway (facing traffic) and not the sidewalk. When asked, one told me that its better to run on a paved road instead of a concrete sidewalk. Both seem equally hard and unyeilding to me. Is there any truth to what the pavement warriors are saying?


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The risk of injury from running on concrete is slightly higher than the risk of injury from running on asphalt, as asphalt is modestly more cushioning. So, all things being equal, you'd be better off on the asphalt. However, all things in life aren't equal. The modest additional cushioning of asphalt over concrete has to be balanced against the likelihood and consequence of injury from running on the various surfaces. On a concrete sidewalk, injuries are usually not fatal and generally take a long time to arise, though there are always exceptions. On asphalt (meaning roadways) injuries are usually severe and happen suddenly (i.e. you get hit). If the chance of being struck while running on the road is high you'd be better off running on the sidewalk. If the streets where you run are quiet you might be better off running on the side of the road.

Bottom line: unless a clearly superior option is available (grass, trails, etc.) use common sense. If a road is quiet run on the shoulder and hop onto the sidewalk if a car approaches. If traffic is heavy, or if it's dark or the weather is bad, run on the sidewalk.

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I don't think there is a difference. There is a difference of running between running on pavement and grass. Grass, or turf, is more difficult but better on your joints.

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Yes. The asphalt is more forgiving on the joints. I agree that they both seem equally hard, but the asphalt absorbs more shock than the concrete in the sidwalk. Experts are saying now, that running on the bare ground is the best on your ankles, knees and hips.

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Well if you fall then it would hurt more on asphalt, so I would definitely jog on the sidewalk

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Asphalt is so much softer than concrete!

Even with a good, cushioned pair of running shoes, I still feel the difference when I run 3 miles in the street vs. on concrete.

But in essence, concrete hurts (knees, knee ligaments and back) because that shock has to go somewhere. The concrete doesn't move, the shoes absorb what they can so, for me, my knee ligaments take the rest of the pounding.

Which pair of running shoes is best for me?

not sure but i rather run on the road then sidewalk!

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Pavement is more forgiving on the joints than concrete but if all possible try running on even ground. running on concrete is said to cause more jarring to the joints, running on the sidewalk also increased risk of injury going up and down curbs

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i've heard that running on paved roads is like 2 times softer than running on concrete sidewalk. but runnig on roads and concrete is not good so try to avoid both. so run on dirt trails or that kind of stuff. if your forced to run on concrete try running on the roads instead but i know that can be a little scary cuz of cars and stuff

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asphalt is slightly more yeilding, but the biggest problem with running on sidewalks is the constant up and down at the curbs.

Is it true that if ur flat-footed you'll be a better sprinter?

Concrete is better because you can go faster because more energy is transfered from your leg to the ground. I enjoy gettin out in 4:40 for a first mile on sidewalks and kickin home in 2:00 flat for the last half mile of a 4 or 5 mile hard run.

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pavement as odd as this sounds has some give to it so its easier on your joints knees shins and back compared to concrete which has very little give.

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The pavement is better for you. Roadways are made of many layers and one really small layer is a synthetic rubber-like material. This material helps to absorb the shock of running. It will help your joints in the long run, as either way you might not feel a difference @ first.

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