Author Topic: Downhill running/strength training  (Read 6477 times)

Donald Stong

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Downhill running/strength training
« on: July 22, 2015, 08:56:31 AM »
I'm a flatlander from Oklahoma and literally blew up last year running down during the marathon. Destroyed my quads ~4 miles down from the summit and after crashing hard, gimped it to the finish. Am curious of those that run competitive race times in the PPM do regular strength training in the gym. What exercises or pointers do you suggest? Thanks in advance.

Seth Jayson

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Re: Downhill running/strength training
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 09:29:46 AM »
I can't claim to be all that competitive, but I've had to take a hard look at my own training for PP and a Swiss Ultra I just ran (half of, had to DNF for a random issue unrelated to legs). That downhill really tears up the quads, so the only solution I have found is making them stronger. It's tough to replicate the eccentric contractions without having an elevator to a large hill. I have coped by doing a few things:

stick treadmill rear up on a 4x4 and downhill run. Risks the treadmill motor, so only for light folks with heavy duty treadmills who keep them well lubed and don't mind changing out a motor

increased long run mileage? I found that the ultra work I did naturally strengthened my quads and should help with the downhills

box jumps and lunges

step ups/downs on the garden wall or similar with a loaded backpack

better cushioned shoes. A thick Hoka like a Stinson really attenuates a lot of that initial shock. I got a huge and immediate reduction in DOMS when I began running in them.

hillclimber

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Re: Downhill running/strength training
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 11:29:53 AM »
I'm also not competetive, but the best way I've found to train my downhill muscles is by dragging a tire a la Marshall Ulrich.  Here's a link to Marshall's how-to:  http://marshallulrich.com/blog/tire-drag/ and another post about it:  http://ultrarunnerpodcast.com/tire-pullin/  In addition to just pulling on flat surface, I will do hill repeats, power-hiking the up and running the down.  Great way to get the quads burning without a lot of impact!

Ed Kitchen

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Re: Downhill running/strength training
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2015, 12:21:30 PM »
I had the same problem when I first started training some downhills. My quads ached pretty bad. I didn't run the PPM competitively, but I'm a flatlander too. There are a couple 6% grade downhills I used. I finally researched technique, and used this website for advice. http://running.competitor.com/2014/07/training/perfect-your-downhill-running-form_52804 It helped me immensely. It took me a while to get used to, but it paid off when I ran  the marathon as I never had any problems with the quads. Now, if you can't find any hills in your area, hopefully the other suggestions here will help. Personally, I didn't use any strength exercises, just practiced on the few hills I could find.

Seth Jayson

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Re: Downhill running/strength training
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2015, 06:53:54 AM »
I will add another trick I heard from a world-class mountain runner. Run like a duck, toes outward. This takes some practice and is not easy to do without thinking about it BUT, with your toes out that way, it is nearly impossible to roll your ankle out and over, something that's otherwise very easy on Barr trail, IMO, because it's mostly smooth, lulling you into a false sense of security, until you hit that small root or rock, and ouch. I've been using this technique in technical sections (even flats) of trail races lately, and it's helped a lot in reducing rolls.