There are many different ways to approach downhill running. In this helpful little video and post we are going to give you some tools and advice to add to your running arsenal and help you achieve better results when running down hill.
DOWNHILL TECHNIQUE –
- Knee lift: Lower knee lift – have enough height above the ground so that you won’t trip over, but keep the knees lower and allow the legs to flow out behind you. You must relax here, not drive. Roll the legs in a cycling motion.
- Body angle: Don’t lean backwards, rather; ‘Fall in to the Run’. Let your legs run away from you like a child hurtling down a grassy embankment! This comes with confidence and will take time. Again – no fold from the waist, the ankle is your hinge.
- Arm swing: Arm tilt should still be relative to the gradient of the hill you are running; in the case of forearms – lower your arms when descending and relax from the shoulders. You can use your arms to slow you down by bringing them out to the sides away from your ribs – creating wind resistance. This is a common technique used by trail-runners and will give you greater stability and confidence.
- Eyes: Still aim to look approximately 45 degrees ahead of you – around 5 metres. If you look straight down at the ground your shoulders and upper body will fall, thus no core engagement and you are more likely to trip over! We want to avoid this AT ALL COSTS! If you look too far ahead, this will bring your body out of correct alignment, sending you too upright or backwards, placing more force on your calves, hamstrings, heels and lower back. This is where we can start ‘bracing’ which just absolutely kills your quads and fatigues the legs a whole lot quicker.
- Foot placement: Mid to fore-foot landing is best here. Be light. Run like a fairy. Try not to bring your feet out in front of you, you still want to be running ‘over your legs’. Lead with the front of your body.