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  • Writer's pictureMary Marshall

Coaches Corner: Are you Struggling with Uphill or Downhill Running? Check out my Top Tips Below...

Trail running is a challenging and exhilarating pastime that can be taken to the next level by mastering the techniques of uphill and downhill running. Hills provide a unique opportunity to challenge not only your physical but also your mental toughness. In "The Uphill Athlete," authors Steve House, Scott Johnston, and Kilian Jornet provide valuable insights and techniques for effective uphill and downhill running.




Uphill Running Techniques:


1. Shorten your stride length and maintain a high cadence - According to "The Uphill Athlete," shortening your stride length and maintaining a high cadence of 180 steps per minute can help conserve energy and prevent early fatigue. This technique also ensures that you maintain proper form, preventing injury.


2. Lean forward - By leaning forward from the ankles, you shift your center of gravity and use gravity to your advantage. This allows you to take advantage of the incline and use less energy to climb the hill.


3. Avoid overstriding - Overstriding, which occurs when your foot lands too far in front of your body, can cause unnecessary impact and injury. Focus on taking smaller, quicker steps and landing your feet directly beneath your body.


4. Use your arms - Your arms can help you power up the hill. Keep your elbows close to your sides and pump your arms back and forth, almost as if you were skiing.




Downhill Running Techniques:


1. Lean back - When running downhill, leaning back helps you slow down and maintain better control. This prevents you from going too fast, which can put you at risk of injury.


2. Shorten your stride length - Shortening your stride length when running downhill helps prevent you from overstriding, which can cause unnecessary impact and injury to your ankles and knees.


3. Use your core muscles - As you lean back, engage your core muscles to maintain good balance and stability. This will also help you maintain proper form and avoid tripping or falling.


4. Avoid braking - Braking, or slowing down too abruptly, can cause unnecessary strain on your knees and quads. Instead, focus on quick, light steps and use the incline to your advantage.


To finalise, by following the techniques outlined in "The Uphill Athlete," you can start to master the art of uphill and downhill running and take your trail running to the next level. Remember to focus on proper form, conserve energy, and listen to your body. With patience and practice, you'll be conquering hills and reaching new heights in no time!

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