MASTER DOWNHILL RUNNING
Can you train to make yourself better at running downhill? Yes, of course. Confidence and practice will always make a difference. I used to do downhill reps at the end of a session in the off-season to get my legs used to it. They would only be short reps, around 30 seconds. I wouldn’t do downhill reps in the main season, but you can practise downhill technique efficiently in any downhill runs. You don’t want to be running hard on descents all the time, as this breaks down muscle fibres quickly and you’ll end up with sore legs.
■ Be confident in your ability.
■ Lean slightly forward (depending on the gradient), look a couple of metres ahead and not at your feet.
■ Try to pick a line down a trail, without too much weaving around.
■ Use your arms as brakes. You’ll see people looking like a windmill waving their arms all over the place. This is helping them to stay in control, so you don’t have to use your legs as brakes all the time, which will wear down the muscle fibres. Have a go – it really works!