Hey guys, just looking for some opinions on the best way to tackle moderate downhills - at the moment I'm alternating between shortening my stride and quickening my pace to counter the additional momentum, or keeping my pace more constant and allowing my stride length to increase, trying to figure out which is more comfortable. Is there an agreed, definite answer or is it each to their own? Whaddya reckon?
Thanks Bobby, that's really encouraging - what kind of cadence do you normally hit downhill? Do you open up your stride more or take shorter, quicker steps?
Thanks man, that's actually really useful - sounds very similar to what I've been doing and finding out while I've been experimenting. It's good to know that I'm kind of ticking the same boxes in my thought process as other people :)
/What has worked for me... shortening my stride, quick steps, trying to continue to keep my feet under me. I pissed of my IT band from doing long moderate downhills overstriding. I also invision someone with a rope around my waist pulling my hips forward a bit, that has helped open up my hip flexors and eased some hip/ass aches and pains I've struggled with.
Thanks Lori, that's useful to know - in a couple of days I'm off on a route that includes a good solid couple of kilometres of moderate downhill, so I'll keep an eye on what I'm doing. Trouble is, I'm about 6'7" and I sometimes find it difficult to gauge whether my 'small paces' are actually great big galloping leaps - I can imagine what you mean about the rope pulling though, I'll give that a shot.
yes, I am 5'3 so slight difference in size, but still feet should not be out in front of you. Same form principles hold true, your cadence might be a little faster, but really not much. land mid-forefoot drive knees-they wont be as high, and don't reach or paw out in front of you. Let the trail/road come to you. AGAIN, I am NO expert, but have struggled with downhill and these are things that have helped me and eliminated pain triggered by downhill running. Has eric taught you how to count your foot strikes/minute? Do you know if your cadence is good in general?
No, no instruction at all so far, so I'm kind of flying blind there I guess - over the last month or so, I've reined in my stride a lot and found it's felt a lot better, but I'm still kind of figuring it out by making mistakes and correcting them. I can say my cadence FEELS good, but I know this doesn't necessarily mean it IS good :)
General rule is around 180-200 foot strikes per minute. you can break that up into 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to find out what your foot strike/min is. It's not a hard and fast rule, but the closer you get to that the better. If you have like a garmin watch, usually you can get a foot pod...it will count your cadence for you. I think they are around $20, but may not be worth the cost when you can count yourself. I have one and early on in my training it was nice to see on a graph how my cadence changed running fast/slow, up/down, tho I haven't used it in some time as my cadence has pretty much stayed the same and doesn't change now that I've got it close.
Oh cool, ok, I'll get counting - thanks very much for your help with this Lori, I'll see how I get on :)
This is a great read. I run in San Antonio on the north side and currently spending more time on sidewalks/street than trails. The downhills have been killing me. When I try to keep my stride short and not loose control of rate of descent, I find my toes are sliding deep into the toe box and my quads get really tight. The massage therapist told me last week that the muscles on the tops of my feet were really tight and knotted up. I am going to take some of the comments here out on the road.