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Trail Running Help needed

I'm going to be doing some trail runs this year that have some steep downhill sections. I've noticed at least as compared to others at races in the past, my downhill's are quite poor. Is there some type of recognized technique for tackling steep downhill sections?

AaronWebstey
WTC Free since 2010


Comments

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    Stop, drop & roll
    M_Wareidking90
    Resident Genius.
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    Let it go. Be athletic. Try not to "brake" as you run downhill.
    Sometimes, yes, sliding on your butt can be the best option on a steep, loose descent. But that's rare.
    Are we talking roots and rocks, in which case experience is the best teacher
    AaronWebsteyfyrehaar
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    edited April 14
    Here is a legitimate example from XTERRA Chile, I did the same thing in that spot. It was part mistake, part intentional on my part.


    I think this is the same descent but the photographer had moved by the time my slow ass got there. Notice my hands are out a little for balance, even ready to grab onto a branch if need be. I have next to zero control here and my quads were wrecked until like the Thursday after the race because there was a lot of this sort of hellishly steep downhill. I'm still braking a little bit here, which is evident in the way my upper body is leaning and how my leg is hyperextended and I'm about to land on my heel. That's what made sense here because I couldn't just go totally out of control or else I'd have ended up running into a bush or tree or something. But sometimes you can just let it fly and deal with the aftermath with your quads and IT bands later.


    GasBombAaronWebsteyfyrehaar
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    My trails are all tree roots and branches and some rocks. Once I'm fatigued I can barely lift my feet which catch the roots. That is one of the problems!
    ccochrane
    WTC Free since 2010


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    Seriously, just find a good trail that has some good downhill sections and start running. Your body needs time to adapt and it will figure out how to run down as fast as it is able to.

    Much of it is balance, but balance is muscle strength, specifically muscles that you likely haven't worked on a lot. The best way to build that strength is by actually doing lots of downhill running.
    AaronWebsteyfyrehaar
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    strength the quads, get some good shoes and let it roll. takes practice and confidence, plus you need to know the course and which turns are coming up
    fyrehaarAaronWebstey
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    I find it is a bit like skiing trees too - always looking ahead a few steps and picking out where you are going to land helps. I find I get into trouble if I am too focussed on just the step I'm making. That's a big part of the fun of doing long runs on trails - definitely gets rid of the boredom as you are constantly changing pace, direction and picking out your course a few steps/turns ahead. Being young and not afraid to fall helps (and I'm neither of those)
    AaronWebsteymbrekk44fyrehaar

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    edited April 14
    @WadeCutter if it's twisty, rocky, and rooty, just practice, be confident, accept you're occasionally going to eat it, move on from it when you do. Knowing the course in advance certainly helps because you can also find better lines but you'll gradually just get better at seeing in front of you. Knowing the course is also beneficial because you might know there's a technical downhill where you'll be forced to slow down a bit and inevitably catch your breath, so that enables you to push an uphill or flat section a bit more. Often this isn't practical though, so you deal with it. Downhill running doesn't typically do as much for fitness (unless you go super super fast) but it is oh so hard on the body, so that's always a struggle.
    Increased turnover can help too, because each step is an opportunity to readjust as needed. Longer strides keep you more "locked in" to a particular line. Downhill or flat ground strides on fire roads or actual roads are helpful in this regard.
  • Options
    I'll definitely concentrate on the higher turnover- something to practice to make it more natural.
    idking90
    WTC Free since 2010


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