Downhill training

  • Creator
  • #69497

    Hi everybody,

    It’s been 2 years training following the uphill Athlete book and i find it really good.

    There is just one area that’s lacking : the downhill.

    I search on internet and was quite suprise, there is very little content.

    Greg Vollet from Salomon did a few video but that’s it.

    When you read the data from Kilian in Zegama (so interesting) :

    You realyse that he is able to go really fast on downhill and his heart rate drop.

    So I came to the conclusion that you need specific downhill training.

    For now, i did 2 types :
    Full gas downhill when doing my Zone 2 training
    Interval downhill 5 set of 2 min

    What do you think ?
    Any tips ?

    Thanks !

    Trail runner on short distance (20-55 km)

Posted In: Mountain Running

  • Participant
    Mariner_9 on #69500

    “Any tips ?”

    This topic has been covered a few times on the Science of Ultra podcast. From memory, the advice was you should train for the downhills but not too often due to the stress imposed. If I can remember which episodes covered downhill running, I’ll post them here.

    brianbauer on #69542

    fast downhill running requires exceptional technique in order to do it efficiently. many people tend to “put on the brakes” every step going down, this is inefficient and slow. work on your technique. also, downhills, like uphills, are all different. on “runnable” downhills I push my effort as much as I do going uphill, but I am going much faster. in races, I am looking for a flat HR curve which means a consistent effort going up and down. this takes a lot of practice and is different than “hammering up” and “recovering” down.

    Charlie_LECOCQ on #69543

    I am like you Brian, my heart rate is steady whether i am going up or down.

    My point is : it’s not the case with Kilian !!

    And you cannot say that he run downhill slowly because he dropped Davide MAGNINI ^^

    That’s why i am looking for training tips for downhill.

    I want to get better and for now my only way of improvement that i see is to push back the moment of “put on the brakes”

    My focus is on technical downhill because like you said when it’s not you just let everything go.

    Jane Mackay on #69544

    Charlie, this is something I’ve been working on for a while too. Like Brian describes, I tend to brake on the downhill, esp. on more technical terrain, which kills the quads! Have you seen this blog post + video from Kilian?

    These are a few notes I took from it:
    – rocky & steep (technical) = small, close steps (short steps); small steps pushing into the ground so as to dislodge the rocks as little as possible
    – use arms and hands to keep pelvis level (centre of gravity)
    – wet = flat feet and small steps
    – glissade = lean torso forward to balance forward angle of legs (i.e. keep centre of gravity stable)

    Jane Mackay on #69545

    Mariner9, if you remember which podcast episodes those were, I’d love to listen to them too.

    Mariner_9 on #69548

    Episode 72: Downhill Running And Field Studies Of Ultra Runners With Gianluca Vernillo, PhD

    Episode 59: Neuromuscular Control And Fatigue With Roger Enoka, PhD

    Episode 40: Biomechanics And Energetics With Rodger Kram, PhD

    I’m not posting the links; in the past, when I tried to post a comment with external links (i.e. not to UA), the post simply didn’t show up. I presume this is a cybersecurity filter.

    Jane Mackay on #69552

    Thanks, Mariner9. Here are those links:

    Episode 72: Downhill Running And Field Studies Of Ultra Runners With Gianluca Vernillo, PhD

    Episode 59: Neuromuscular Control And Fatigue With Roger Enoka, PhD

    Episode 40: Biomechanics And Energetics With Rodger Kram, PhD

    Mariner_9 on #69553

    Thanks, Jane. It’s possible some of the interviews with runners also touch on downhill running though I haven’t listened to those.

    brianbauer on #69554

    on steep technical downhills it is basically impossible for me to run fast enough to have a HR above Z1/AeT. but on “runnable” downhills( eg Broken Arrow) it is entirely possible for me to push above LT. eg. if you look at the last few miles of Zegama, its net downhill but so runnably fast that it is a big effort…the upper portions of the same race are so technical you simply can’t push beyond Z1/AeT.

    rich.b on #69557

    Similar to others, my HR downhill will never come up to what it is on the uphill. Separate from that, as to getting faster downhill, obviously downhill training is key. However, I find that regular speedwork training is also essential. Despite more vertical in recent years, I have actually gotten slower on the downhills because I have gotten lazy about speedwork — both intervals and tempo sessions. (I will admit there is also an age factor.) That kind of speedwork without adding the technical component of trails and downhills was essential for me for developing good leg speed and efficient turnover, which I could then apply to downhill running on trails once winter ended.

    Charlie_LECOCQ on #70445

    Thanks you all for your answers. I will listen to the different podcast !

    I also heard Mathieu Blanchard post UTMB talking about his training.

    He said that this year, he added one thing : Downnhill training. Easy pace going up and hard pace going down.

    He didn’t give exemple of reps and timing but i will keep up to test 5 sets x 2 min.

    niall f on #70601

    I enjoyed this recent webinar on downhill running with sports science and coaching experts:

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