Incline/Decline V Flat

I live in what I would call a hilly area and do most of my runs 'out and back' so for all the inclines I get the same decline. My question is (as in the title) does the decline negate the incline and become the same as running on the flat?

Am currently HADDing so running to HRR rather than pace.

For example, the flattest 10k run from home has a 183 metre incline/decline and today managed to run it in 63:17 @68% HRR. On a flat course at the same HRR would I be faster? or even slower?


  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Definitely not.  You lose quite a lot more time on the uphills than you gain on the downhills.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Wales is correct. You can never make up on the downs what you have lost on the ups.
  • ChimneyChimney ✭✭✭

    Just to chuck a bit of muddiness in, for me personally I run faster on a course with a bit of ascent than on a flat course. Think I get bored if there's no hills!

    If reality matched intention I'd know I was dreaming
  • A lot of people can't run downhill properly and lose so much time in races on downhills.
  • Txs for the replies, swings and roundabouts springs to mindimage Have signed up for the Loch Ness Marathon in September and (if I remember correctly) it's a net decline and something like a 1,000 feet incline and almost a 2,000 feet decline. Am HADDing at the moment so might throw in some hill training @ 80%HRR (both up and down).

    Cougie, I know what you mean about not having proper form when running downhill and often (mainly at the end of a run) get the olde foot slap.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    I have run flat 10k and halfs expecting a pb from living and training in a hilly environment and failed. I am comparatively very good at downhill and make more than I lose on the climb. Flat races can get tiring as you are using exactly the same muscles in the same way the whole way.

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    Make sure you train on reasonably steep downs for LN- the first few miles are quite tiring on the legs if you're not used to it- the uphills come later on, and if you've knackered yourself at the beginnig they' re not good, but I don't think they are actually as steep as the earlier donwhills.

  • Txs all image

    tricialitt, I did look at the profile but can't find a route that matches LN very well, all my runs have a climb for the first couple of miles (so a decline back). I do seem ok on downhill sections but struggle uphill, not least because I'm (sort of) following HADD.

    And yes, will do my best to run to pace and try not to rush off in the first sectionsimage I seem to remember it's about 1,000 ft uphill and 1900 ft downhill.

  • I googled a paper and here is a quote from the discussion:

    "1) the minimum in energy cost is similar in walking and running at ∼0.10–0.20 downhill gradient; 2) the optimum gradient for mountain paths is close to 0.20–0.30, both uphill and downhill, for the two gaits; 3) a better progression economy is expected in mountain-running athletes in the downhill range; and 4) the running speeds adopted in downhill competition are far lower than metabolically feasible, mainly because of safety reasons. If athletes wish to improve their performances in competitions alternating ascent and descent phases, they should pay greatest attention to the training of movement coordination during downhill running."


  • StewartCStewartC ✭✭✭

    @ Andi, park your car at the top of the hill run down continue your long run then run back up the hill to finish, it is what I'm going to do for my upcoming 20 mile lsr's

  • Steve C, thanks for the info, I think I understand what the article is on about image

    Stewart C, I actually do that sometimes but not always as I prefer to run straight home to get showered changed and not drip in the carimage

    Steven O, am planning on trying more downhill jogbacks and have found an undulating route where I can jog up then run down 4-5 smallish hills over a 3 mile run then jog down and run up the hills on the way back

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