Running downhill

I had a good 5K race today.

A pb.

However, i noticed that, although I would generally pull past most runners during the race's several inclines, they would, frustratingly, fly past me on the downhill.

Any tips for downhill running?



  • Don't hold back when running downhill, relax and run down it. If your quads are fatiguing, suggest you do some squats as this exercise trains the quads to work nicely on the lowering part.
  • Lean forward and don't overstride and don't land on your heels you're just applying the brakes doing that.
  • I think I do hold back due to concern about my knees. its just confidence I suppose.

    Squats ok good. Not the first time that has been recommended to me for my various niggles.

    Thanks image

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    Well done on the pb!

    This is what I was told to do on hills: going up, lean back to maintain posture relative to the surface, head up and shorter paces while maintaining effort. Conversely, going down, lean a bit forward for the same reason and pick up cadence while not overstriding and go with the flow.

    It's counter-intuitive and I haven't quite mastered it on downhills because I find it hard to maintain control. See if it works for you?

    Edit - Marshallini beat me to it.

  • marshallini - I focus on being a ball-striker when I am running these days so I just have to try to continue that with the downhill. easier said than done but you are right.

    I am not really getting any recovery benefit from my easing back on the hills either.

  • Muttley - Thanks. First sub-20. I suppose bottle comes into it too.Just to let yourself flow.

    I remember trying a bit of hill running with some good runners from my club. They were out of my league but I could just about keep pace with them going uphil with short strides but going down they were away from me.

    Half superior echnique and half they were just bonkers who weren't afraid to die image

  • Downhills I love, I can pass people while taking a breather on downs, it feels natural to me.

    You can find you legs turning over very quickly which can feel a bit out of control and a little scary. I can run them completely out of control as well, that helps with down hill finishes.

    but Uphills I can't do at all. I've tried everything to improve and all I've acomplished is to be able to plod up them for hours.

  • tI'm not a great one for technique (aside from advising you to adopt obvious short strides), but I feel the key with uphills is, in my experience, aggression.

    The only way to get up a hill is to attack it. If you back off and show hesitancy, it will beat you, or reduce you to a plod, as you put it.

  • I think a lot of it is mental now, in a recent race I'd passed loads on the downhill and thought I was home free only to round a corner to find a bu99er of a hill in front of me, I was expecting to get caught and passed here, but instead of plodding up as usual I took it aggressively and held everyone off, tbh I'm not sure how close anyone was as I didn't look back just gave it some.
  • Oh heck i'm so confused!

    Marshallini, I love too love downhills. It feels so free and natural. Don't mean to sound like a hippy but it's true. But my technique is totally the opposite the what you've suggested. I like to really stretch my legs and stride out, landing on my heels (i think) and also straightening up my torso. Now i'm doubting myself and wondering if it's a bad idea.

    Conversely, going uphill i slow to a shuffle and seriously struggle no matter how hard i try or practice. On the hills i find it more confortable to run on my toes with short strides and lean forward just a little.

    Can anyone help? Surely your posture and heel strike should be different when running up and down hills?

     PS. Dude, i love your attitude regarding hills. I'll remember that next time i see one. Attack attack attack!

  • I forefoot strike when I run and try and lean forward it's a sort of pose/chi style but not quite.

    I find a slight downhill emphasises "my" ideal posture and I run well here.

    A proper downhill I still lean forward and can up my turnover easily to accommodate the extra speed gravity provides.

    I can and do sometimes over stride but I still land forefoot with my weight pretty much over the landing foot.

    On uphills I still lean forward and try and keep my hips level. and I run on my forefoot. If I shorten my stride and try and increase the turnover rate but I find this just tires my legs out.

    I'm going to have to analyse my technique more fully tomorrow.

    Whatever works for the individual is what's best i guess.

    Watch this Video it's Paula Radcliffe, Cara Goucher and Lyudmila Petrov at the New York Marathon.

    As far as I'm concerned Petrova's style is awful, but she's still one of the top runners in the world, Paula's is more my ideal.

    dave scott on ups and downs

    some good points but a bit dull

    some good points early on
  • Did a nice hilly run today and tried to analyse my technique.

    Uphill - On gentle climbs I could hold my form but then came a point where I started to lean forward, bending at the waist, rounding my back, my pelvis would tilt back and my bum would stick out and I was in plod mode. I worked on this and sort of sorted it, but it took a fair bit of concentration and effort, but the tweeks deffo made a difference.  Then there came another point when the hill got so steep that my form came back automatically, really don't know why that should happen.  Anyway there are some things there to work on.

    Downhill -  couldn't really work out what I was doing on the descents, I was just doing what comes natural, I was landing forefoot or very occasionally a bit mid foot/flat footed. Sometimes my strides where long, not by overstriding but more by being in the air longer?

    No real help there for anyone but meimage

  • Doing what comes naturally is perhaps the best bet. although we all have bad habits I suppose (like spending all of sunday in the pub image

    Slight side issue but you may be able to help Marshallini.

    I have recently (last 12 months) been trying the pose/chi technique to aid efficiency and reduce injury and it is working so far (touch wood). Faster times, less injury and better stamina.

    However, I find it difficult to maintain my form during quicker races like a 5k. The tendency is to stride out.

    Is this just a case of....if I persevere with the technique the pace will eventually come? or are pose runners just not suited to short distances?

    Thank you for those links. I will check them out when I have a laptop that works image

  • I haven't looked that closely at the whole pose thing.   I discovered my new style of running whilst doing 1km reps, it just sort of happened and felt right and since then I've tweaked it and refined it a bit. It isn't pose or chi but it sort of encompasses the basic principles (I think).

    the dude abides wrote (see)

    However, I find it difficult to maintain my form during quicker races like a 5k. The tendency is to stride out.

    When the going gets tough and I need to push on I now run faster instead of running harder, ie quicken my stride instead of pushing off harder (this is something I picked up from cycling) it seems to work for me. But saying that in the last few hundred meters of a race I do tend to go back to using power.(and then there's the sprint finish which is different again)

    I've also noticed that when I run of road I tend to run harder (more powerfull strides, slower turnover) than when I run on road.

    I don't know if any of that makes sense or if it's useful?

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