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5 Trail Running Tips For Surviving Technical Downhills

rocky-trail-runningDirt, Rocks, Roots, and a  Steep Grade – And you want to run down it.

Here are five trail running tips that I have used to help navigate a technical decent and remain on two feet (most of the time).

1. Watch The Trail

You hear some noises or look further up the trail, then down you go. It takes but a split second to look like Superman exposed to kryptonite and be spread across the trail. I like to keep my focus on the 5-15 feet (depending on the trail conditions) in front of me to be aware of the immediate trail approaching and to help pick the most efficient/safe line.

2. Light, Happy Feet

You want those light, agile boxer’s feet so they can become very responsive to the changing trail conditions that may be coming at you fairly quickly. Shorten the stride and think turnover, turnover, turnover.

Stay up on your feet, you will be happy. Go down, not so happy.

3. Spread Your Wings

Extend your elbows to a 45 degree angle from your torso. This will help provide additional stability as you glide down the terrain.

4. The V Foot Formation

Angle each foot (toe box)  slightly outwards. I am not sure what it is about this, maybe the fear reduction of twisting an ankle, but I am able to move down hills much quicker. A trail running buddy told me about this and it worked for me.

5. Control The Throttle

Stay in control. If you feel yourself flailing down the trail, tap the breaks a little bit. Keep it smooth and if you have to – walk/hike it. Technical downhill running is not the time to take a digger.

What other techniques have you used to survive those tricky trail descents?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

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