Have you ever run trails with someone who can fly on the downhills? Like a swift gazelle as they float over obstacles, light and fast.
I look up, and the distance between us is increasing as they dance the downhill.
How do they make it look so effortless?
I feel sluggish, heavy and nervous. I don’t want to roll an ankle but I feel like I’m putting on the brakes and my legs are burning!
Going up is hard enough, how can I conserve energy on the way down?
Unlike running on a flat road, trails provide us with a whole new set of inputs. Tree roots, logs, rocks, uneven surfaces, overhead branches and even wildlife – all reasons why we love to head off-road, but these can also mean new challenges, technique tweaks and a whole new level of attention when we run.
Here are 3 technique tips to help you float down that sweet, sweet single track.
As we move over uneven surfaces and absorb what’s happening underfoot, how we carry ourselves is important. Keep an upright and strong posture and try to keep your core engaged and stable. Chest tall, shoulders back and eyes forward.Your pelvic floor is part of your core unit too! Holding a strong core without bearing down on your pelvic floor can help with symptoms when running hills or increasing your speed and is a big focus in the Her Trails programs.
- LOOK AHEAD
Look down the trail. Your body will follow your gaze, so pick your line with your eyes. To start with, look 4-5 steps ahead. As you get more comfortable, you can explore gazing even further down your path. This will give you more time to notice and assess obstacles, adjust your turnover and pick your safest line of least resistance. More time to adjust means more confidence! Look ahead and you’ll be less likely to trip on a tree root or collide with a low branch.
- USE YOUR ARMS
Have you ever seen a little kid run down a hill with wild arms? It’s perfection and it’s time to channel your inner child! Your arms act to counterbalance your legs so we want to allow them to be relaxed and free. If you’re moving wildly to hop over a log or around a muddy patch, your arms will be moving wildly too.Practice holding a strong posture, but letting your arms be relaxed do their thing. With light, quick feet and floating arms, you can be swift and nimble down those hills.
Most importantly, practice! We’ve heard from so many in the Her Trails tribe that the more they practice trail technique, the more comfortable they feel and the more they love it. Find a section of technical trail to explore and use as your training playground.