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Learn to Love: Running Downhill

As much as I love running uphill (it makes me feel so strong), I really don't enjoy running down the other side. With my heart rate lowering, it seems like a lot of stress on my joints with little payoff. I run in a hilly area so I have decided it is time to learn how to love running downhill.
Coach Jenny at Runner's World says, "Running downhill is really all about falling gracefully." You have to allow gravity to pull you down the slope rather than fighting its inevitable pull. To work with the hill you need to lean into the hill a bit. Relax and let it pull you down.

Your stride will change as you run downhill, try having the foot strike just behind rather than just under this hip. This takes practice - make sure to try this a little at a time to avoid injury.

Pay attention to your effort level rather than your pace. Try to keep your effort level the same while running up or down. This way you don't blow out your quads with all the uphill effort.

These tips about hiking downhill are helpful for running too. I may never really "love" running downhill, but at least I now have some tools for the task.


Join The Conversation
allthingsgrow allthingsgrow 9 years
As a cross country runner, running downhill is a GREAT place for an injury to occur. MANY knee problems arise from running down hills too fast! The most important thing about running downhill is to take tiny, TINY steps. This prevents knee injuries. I cannot stress enough how important this is! Other than that, have fun with it!
JBlondie JBlondie 9 years
I have always felt clumsy when I run downhill. Like my legs and body are just out of control, if that makes sense. And I am with you Fit, I love running up empowering. I will try these tips and see if I enjoy running downhill more.
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 9 years
Great advice! I actually love running down hills; it's definitely a relief from struggling to get UP the hill. However, I do feel the wear and tear on my joints all the way down. Thanks for the tip!
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