Learning to run downhill efficiently, with confidence and speed takes practice. If you don't make time to practice you won't see change, so try to choose one or two of these points per run and really think about it until you get it and then move on to a new focus point.
I still have to remind myself sometimes to look ahead, or take shorter strides. It's something that can make a huge difference to your performance, not only in speed but as you build more confidence, it also contributes to you enjoyment and faster recovery!
- body weight is stacked. shoulders, over hips over ankle which help prevent you from over striding (reaching the foot out in front of your body).
- lean into the hill via the ankle joint while staying stacked.
- avoid leaning back or pressing your hips back like you're sitting in a chair. "pump it" with your hips stacked.
- shorten the stride and take smaller, quicker steps which will help keep your feet underneath your hips and help keep the weight in the forefoot **not the heel**. This will also help eliminate ankle rolls.
- arms help you maintain control and steer.
- if you pump your arms you'll go faster
- if you stretch your arms out they will act as a lever and work with gravity to help slow you down.
- relax your upper body and shoulders. Staying relaxed helps you build confidence opposed to heading into the downhill stressed and tense.
- practice looking 6 feet ahead and then glance closer to your feet and back out again to anticipate obstacles.
- if you are looking down you will not only tend to run slower downhill, however you increase your risk for injury because you won't be able to see and anticipate what's ahead.
- weight should be in the mid-foot and avoid weight in the heels.
- weight in the heels will cause you to heel strike which is not only inefficient, however you're almost alway guaranteed to slip/fall this way. (see my slip in the video when I had my weight back and in the heel as a good example)
- practice scuffing the earth on a non-technical downhill to get a feel for it before you practice on technical terrain.
- if you hear a slapping sound, you're 100% heel striking. Try to run downhill quietly :)
This space will essentially become a diary for the spring clinic. I will be uploading weekly videos to share information, motivation and instructions on particular workouts or the new clinic format.