Top tips for running downhill

sunny hills

Running downhill can be exhilarating, but it can also be challenging if your technique isn't sound. Here are some tips for running downhill:

1.      Wear the correct footwear with good traction especially if weather conditions are liable to change. Consider trails, grass, mud, boulders and how long each section of terrain is.

2.      Lean back slightly: When running downhill, it's important to lean back slightly to maintain your balance and prevent yourself from going too fast too soon. Experienced descenders will run tall and flow effortlessly.

3.      Take shorter strides: Avoid over striding when running downhill, as this can cause you to lose control and put extra stress on your joints. Take shorter, quicker steps to maintain your balance and control your speed. The longer your stride the greater the vertical drop with each stride – this will increase the impact and possible muscle soreness.

4.      Use your arms: Your arms can help you control your speed and maintain your balance when running downhill. Keep them at your sides and use them to help control your movements.

5.      Look ahead: Look ahead of you to anticipate changes in terrain and adjust your stride and speed accordingly. This will help you avoid tripping or stumbling on uneven surfaces. Avoid running too closely to other runners as they may impede your view of upcoming terrain.  

6.      Increase your cadence: Increase your cadence (the number of steps you take per minute) when running downhill. This will help you maintain control and reduce the impact on your joints.

7.      Relax your body: Try to stay relaxed and loose when running downhill. Tension in your muscles can waste energy and make it harder to maintain your flowing technical form.

Remember to start slow and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable with running downhill. With practice and proper technique, running downhill can be a fun and rewarding experience. Smooth grassy hills are a great place to start and as you improve increase the steepness or technical terrain challenges.