"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Trail running...it's all about ascending and descending

Blogathon post 22/30

I wrote about my stair climbing yesterday and how important I find it as part of my training for the trails.In general we think hill climbing when we talk stair training and that is absolutely right. Stairs build the legs for the climbs on the mountains.

However, 99% of the trails we run have a descent to equal all the climbs we do. I find the descents just as important and just as hard as the climbs. Just as important as strong legs for the climbs are, good downhill legs are a must as well. I've learnt over the past years how much time I save and make up by knowing how to tackle the descents on the trails.

Where do I get a lot of these skills...? The stairs! Running down stairs definitely gives me better descending skills on the trails. The key is to lean forward a bit and go with your momentum. I practice this on the stairs and love flying down without slowing down anywhere.

Tim Long (Footfeathers) is one of the trail descent masters. I've read a lot of his articles and watched videos to learn how to descent better. On the road I am a terrible downhill runner and I am passed by many runners when we run downhill. On the trails this is the opposite and I descent really well, passing many and making up lots of time.

Footfeathers on the run.

Footfeathers gets his nick name because he makes it looks so easy as he floats over the trails. Light as a feather and that is the key. I practice this as I run down the stairs with my coffee. No spilling...by keeping it light under foot. This also ensures that your back and knees don't strain while going down.

You need to work at this, just as with anything else. Train for climbing and train for descending. That's what trail running is all about.

1 comment:

Paul Rodman said...

Yup. Too true!

All about strength-to-weight ratio unlike road running.

So besides working on big leg muscles the other thing that is really important on hilly courses is to lose as much fat as possible.