Running Technique Tips

The Art of Downhill Running: Technique and Training

Downhill running – a fascinating discipline in the sport of running! The challenge of mastering steep slopes and enjoying the breathtaking surroundings magically attracts many of us runners. But how exactly does running downhill affect our bodies? How can we improve our technique and prepare ourselves optimally? In this blog post, we will explore these questions in depth.

How does downhill running stress the body?

Downhill running is not simply a faster descent from a mountain. It is a complex movement that engages different muscles and joints. While running downhill, our thighs, knees and ankles have to cope with a greater impact load than when running on flat terrain. This stress can lead to muscle soreness and injury if we are not prepared for it.

In addition, running downhill also challenges our balance and coordination. We have to constantly shift our weight and adjust our stride length to avoid stumbling. This requires strong core muscles and good body control.

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How to improve your uphill running technique?

The right technique is crucial to make running downhill more efficient and safer. Here are some tips to help improve your downhill running technique:

  1. Steps and stride length: Run actively by consciously placing each step and maintaining a slight tension in the leg muscles. When catching the stride with extended legs, the higher “drop” increases the force impact compared to running on the flat or uphill. Take smaller steps accordingly and roll them over the midfoot.
    More about stride length
  2. Shifting your centre of gravity: Leaning your upper body slightly forward shifts your centre of gravity closer to your legs. This allows your body weight to be better centred over your feet. On steep slopes, you tend to shift backwards quickly, leading to an increased risk of falling. By tilting your upper body forward, you maintain control of your position and minimise the risk of tipping backwards.
  3. Running position: On steep and technical slopes, run slightly wide-legged and seated to better manage bumps and maintain balance.
  4. Active use of arms: Keep your arms slightly bent and let them swing in a natural movement. This supports your balance and stability and allows you to react more quickly to bumps.
  5. Conscious breathing: Keep a steady breathing rhythm to prevent side stitching when running fast downhill.
  6. Looking ahead: Make sure to look ahead and let your gaze swing between near and far targets to avoid dangerous situations.

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