Why You Should Not Ignore Running Downhill And How To Do So Properly

Hi there! I hope you had a terrific weekend! One thing I can tell you for sure, my weekend was absolutely AMAZING! Not only was spent with my little family and a company of our friends in the mountains, but… DRUMM ROLL… my cold is GONE! Which means that I can finally resume my training!!! YIPPEE  KI-YAY!!! *Yup, I am this happy!*

Here are a few pictures from the weekend.

At the chalet up north

The air was super fresh and the nature breathtaking!

Snow and trees

And obviously Bella was ecstatic to jump in the snow and run around. *Isn’t she beauty?!*

IMG_20140202_093453

I LOVE the feeling of being fresh, healthy and full of energy! But then, who doesn’t?! Haha!

Last week, I mentioned the importance of running downhill while training for the Spartan Trifecta. To be honest with you, I’ve never thought much of it. I’ve always focused on training running UPHILL like everybody else. Even though running downhill seems to be a much easier task than running uphill, it’s very simple to get injured (especially, quads) if you don’t train properly.

just run

Source

I found some great advice on how to avoid downhill disasters on Runner’s World. Here is a quick summary:

  1. Prepare your body: Peripheral conditioning (“mild lunges, negative or reverse squats, light plyometric work (in which you absorb eccentric shock), hopping and bounding so your muscles get used to the eccentric contractions”).
  2. Run downhill: Long runs with significant amounts of downhills.
  3. Run uphill: To take some of the load off your quads when you run downhills by strengthening hamstrings and glutes.
  4. Work on your form: As a surface slopes downward, you need to adjust your body position with a forward lean to keep you from hard heel striking, McGee says. Step down to the surface with each stride instead of stepping out to avoid overstriding and excessive impacts. Also, try to reduce upward oscillation (or bounding) and run softly with short strides and a high cadence.When you’re running downhill workouts of any speed, concentrate on your form to make sure you’re not overstriding or hitting the ground with too much impact, McGee says. “Think about trying to quickly cycle your legs under your pelvis,” he adds. “The duration of each footstrike should be very short and very light. With higher turnover and shorter, more frequent steps, you’re absorbing less shock per footstrike.”

Don't limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.

Source

Here you can find another excellent article with tips for excelling on declines from Runner’s World.

Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait on my running downhill until it gets warmer. Too bad they haven’t come up with a reverse incline on a treadmill! Please, do let me know if someone did! Haha!

As to my today’s workout, I’m going to cross train. According to the guide, some may find this workout difficult to swallow. *Gulp!*

Repeat 5 times:

  • 20 push-ups
  • 20 burpees
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 1 minute sprint
  • 1 minute rest

Finish with a steady state 4 miles run: run in zone 2 and low end of zone 3.

How was your weekend? Have you ever trained to run downhill? If so, what are your tips on training in winter?

xoxo
Olena

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12 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health

12 responses to “Why You Should Not Ignore Running Downhill And How To Do So Properly

  1. That snow is gorgeous! So is the puppy 😉 I lived on a hill back in my old house so I had to include both a long uphill and long downhill in every loop which is probably why I had much stronger legs then!

    • Haha! At the cottage where we went, there was a little hill in front, so I would throw my pup a stick and run with her up and down maybe 5-10 times every time I walked her outside every other hour. It made me feel good 😀 xoxo

  2. Glad you are feeling better! Great idea to think about running down hill! Any tips to make a run easier are always welcome! Enjoy the snow!

  3. Your pics are beautiful and your puppy is so cute! I am glad you are feeling better! I am currently working on downhill running since I am running Boston this year and it has long stretches of downhill running.

    • Hi Sara! It’s great that you are working on it. I heard that Boston marathon is mostly downhill. So it’s easy to be fooled and get injured afterwards. Are you incorporating any exercises specific for that? Please, do share! xoxo

  4. I’ve always been a strong downhill runner, and weaker uphill runner (unlike my husband who is good at uphill and not so good at downhill!). It’s definitely important to train, though, as it can really trash your quads otherwise! Thanks for the tips!

    • You are very welcome, Megan! How did you become good at it? Any specific exercises? I know that the core is important, but I wonder if there are any leg exercises. I would assume that working on hamstrings is crucial. xoxo

  5. runawaybridalplanner

    This is a great post! Being from Utah both downhill and uphill running are what we do here, because we really don’t have anything flat:) It’s funny because I have friends that come in town to run and they can’t run downhill, not well. I’ll coach them on it a little, but people from flatter areas have a really hard time with this. But with a little practice it can be done, and people can learn to love downhill running, without killing their quads:)

  6. I never thought about downhill training! My favorite place to run is this super hilly park, so I run up this massive hill (it’s literally 1 mile long) and then most of the other 3 miles of the trail is a gentle downhill. I always just zone out during that part but I’m going to pay attention to my form now!

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