Racing Downhill

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 14 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #2001


    I’m running the Diamond Valley Lake Half Marathon on Saturday (11/20). I thought it was going to be a course with rolling hills, but it turns out that it’s mostly flat with a significant downhill finish. I’ve run a lot of hills to prepare for this race but haven’t run hard on any of the downhills.

    I’m sure there’s a proper technique for racing downhill that will allow me to take maximum advantage of the hill/gravity; I just don’t know what this technique is. In the past when I’ve run downhill in races, I’ve tried to keep my effort the same as on flat ground, and I’ve tried not to brake when my foot hits the ground. Is this a good technique?

    Below are links to the elevation chart and the course map. Any advice will be appreciated.


    Elevation Chart:

    Course Map:

  • #16745

    Bart wrote:
    I’ve tried not to brake when my foot hits the ground. Is this a good technique?

    Yes, not braking is good.

    I like to take short quick strides when going down hills. That way you can keep your footstrikes under your center of gravity and focus on not braking. You can also try to lean forward at the waist a little. That’ll help gravity “do it’s thing.”

    Here’s another thread you can check out…

    Looks like a fun, fast course.

  • #16746


    I actually prefer to stretch out my stride a bit but do so by going almost into a sprinting motion. I still make sure I’m not putting on the brakes. Also, I learned to lean from the ankles, not the hips or waist. I have found that, by letting gravity pull me down, I can get going faster than I could in an all-out sprint on the flat while working no harder than racing 10k pace on the flat. It’s hard to describe the technique, though. It’s much easier to demonstrate it. Also, it takes practice to get really good. With this short of notice, I’d say make sure you don’t overstride and put on the brakes and try to lean as much as you feel comfortable doing so, which will help you let gravity do its job.

  • #16747


    I also like to stretch out my stride on downhills. I focus on stretching out the “backside” of the stride and avoid braking on the “frontside”, if that makes any sense. I’ve always heard you should lean forward at the waist, but as I’m sitting here thinking about it, what I actually do is lean the waist forward. I’m not actually bending at the waist, but at the ankles as Ryan suggests.

  • #16748


    I guess the whole “lean” thing to me comes down to the fact that it was beaten into my head that, if you lean from the hips or waist, you are placing strain on your lower back which you don’t want. I have always learned lean “with” the hips, not “at” the hips. By that, I mean leaning by pushing your hips forward. When you do this, you are essentially leaning “at” or “from” the ankles, not the hips or waist.

  • #16749


    I don’t have a technique, I just bone chip down the hill the best I can. The one thing I will do is free lance down hills fast pretty consistently in training. It’s free speedwork.

  • #16750


    I try to think of it as shifting my body weight forward. I do this, of course, by shifting my hips forward, but the thought process alone seems to do the trick for me. Another point… I feel like it’s important to make sure you stay light on your feet. It’s easy to pound on the hill which can be hell on your leg muscles, and this pounding can be a sign that you’re braking. An older thread on this subject…

  • #16751


    Thanks for the replies/advice. I’ll definitely have to practice the downhills a little before my next race. However, at this late stage, I’ll just do what feels natural for this race.

    I’ll let you know how it goes.


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