Races with a downhill profile may tempt you with the idea of a new PB or a qualifying time for an upcoming race. It’s true that gravity will help you get down the hill faster, but if you’re unaccustomed to it, a slower time or a running downhill injury may be your result. Try these training tips to avoid a running downhill injury.
Running downhill is easier on your cardiovascular system, but puts additional strain on your quads, knees, hips and lower back. It’s common to hear that runners allow the slope to do the work in the first half of the race, resulting in a very slow second half due to muscle fatigue. If you are training for a marathon distance, factor specific quad strengthening exercises into your cross-training days. You should also arrange for some of your training runs to be on a similar gradient to the one you’ll encounter on race day. Start with shorter distances to begin with and be prepared to take an extra rest day in between as your muscles take on the new workload.
Find your form
Hill climbs require a focus on cadence and body position and running downhill requires a similar approach. Depending on the gradient, you may find yourself leaning backwards as you run, but this will slow you down. Maintain your gaze around 10-15 feet in front of you and allow yourself to run upright. Your cadence should increase while running downhill. Aim for a light footfall on the midfoot and leave a little flex in the landing to avoid straining your knees.
Use the right shoes
Avoid a downhill running injury by selecting the right shoes for the task. Minimalist footwear may not give you the support you need, as the impact stress will be narrowly focussed on the front/midfoot. Don’t hesitate to invest in shoes that have a bit more padding in this area to lessen the shock of impact. Alternatively, you may like to use an orthotic insert to provide the extra cushioning.
About Enertor Advanced Technology Insoles – Enertor insoles are designed to prevent a number of common running injuries and provide more comfort. Designed by leading podiatrists to reduce your risk of injury, the unique design features support your foot throughout training. Enertor insoles are enhanced by PX1 impact protection technology, which means they can provide more shock absorption than any other insole. Our expertise, combined with the patented PX1 shock absorption technology, enables Enertor to deliver the most advanced injury prevention insoles on the market today.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.