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?

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Hey Ben, I kind of just flow with the terrain. I tend to lean forward a little more because if your on your heels you're going to load your back up real quick. So I just lean forward and let gravity do the work . Im aware of my footing(forefoot strike) because you don't want to set the brakes by landing on your heels, or you'll wear your quads/knees out .Your HR will come down as you go downhill so dont be afraid to let loose .The super steep hills are pretty gnarly, I pretty much ski down them. Hope this helps, and good luck, have fun on your journey.

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?

Good question, but I don't really keep track of my cadence at all. When I approach a downhill section of the trail if its short in distance like 200m or less I will open my stride up. If its a long downhill I try to find a comfortable, controlled pace with short steps. You kind of have to experiment with the downhills see what works best for you. What I have noticed is that the higher you get the knee up the more distance you will cover in your stride but there's more of an impact . So the less I drive it up the less distance, softer landing on feet. I focus more on my footing more than anything. Because you will come across ruts, rocks ,slippery surface etc.

P.S. I think Eric is going to come out with a video on downhill running.

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 :)

Anytime Ben!

/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.


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