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3499 Views 44 Replies Latest reply: Oct 11, 2007 10:33 PM by waltrb RSS Go to original post 1 2 3 Previous Next
  • Kitrin Rookie 38 posts since
    Sep 24, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    30. Oct 9, 2007 1:54 PM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    I just came in from my longer run route (ha ha, 3mi), which involves a few downhill portions.  I tried implementing some of the advice given here and I think I can see what you mean when you say, "smaller steps, faster turnover" and "levitate."  I did not attempt anything much longer than 10-20 steps because I do not want to tempt fate, but the advice really helped.  I could definitely tell a difference in how it feels.

    Thanks to everyone,
    Kitrin

    PS I had a couple fun experiences on the run.  A gray squirrel raced me for about 30 yards and won.  I also had to jump over a very small but beautiful black and green snake.  I had a great time.

  • Gregolowe Rookie 324 posts since
    Jul 6, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    31. Oct 10, 2007 10:22 AM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    The imagery I like to use is that of a unicycle rider. Keep your torso erect and your feet under your body and let your legs turn over at the knee. Short choppy steps get er done. You can also try little switchbacks or zigzaggin down steeper stuff. It may add a little bit of distance, but if it does it's infintesimal and may allow you to get down quicker than if you had to slow down.

  • mudrunner040 Rookie 375 posts since
    May 27, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    32. Oct 10, 2007 11:07 AM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    quote:


    Originally posted by exciton:


    Short circuiting yourself right off the bat by presupposing your limitations is not opening up. It's shutting down. But as I already said, I find nothing wrong with running easy and enjoying scenery as opposed to racing. My opinions on this are addressed only to people who want to race well.

    If you want to be fast, train (and race) in such a way that you are able to spend more time running fast on more and more kinds of difficult terrain. Your development as a runner will take years.


     



    But to some people...especially a novice ultrarunner....a personal goal of covering a once-inconceivable distance is the expression of ultimate potential. I wouldn't poo-poo people as "Short circuiting yourself right off the bat by presupposing your limitations is not opening up"...I call it running smart.
    Your own words exciton..." development as a runner will take years". How is it that a new-to-ultra-distance runner should reach their ultimate potential in their very first race?

    The entire point about running vs. walking is irrelevent unless we talk specifics. There are too many generalizations in this sort of discussion -incline, distance, experience, training, natural ability - all factor into the equation. The fact that we are limited by our aerobic system, dictates the speed at which we cover ground. On a mountainbike, we simply reach for an easier gear when we get anaerobic. Since bipeds don't have a granny-gear, we walk. When this happens depends on the aforementioned factors. If we are talking about achieving a personal best, heart rate is the only way to gauge true effort & in some cases that means holding back (& walking if necessary).

  • exciton Rookie 317 posts since
    Nov 2, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    33. Oct 10, 2007 3:15 PM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    quote:


    Originally posted by mudrunner:

    But to some people...especially a novice ultrarunner....a personal goal of covering a once-inconceivable distance is the expression of ultimate potential. I wouldn't poo-poo people as "Short circuiting yourself right off the bat by presupposing your limitations is not opening up"...I call it running smart.
    Your own words exciton..." development as a runner will take years". How is it that a new-to-ultra-distance runner should reach their ultimate potential in their very first race?

    The entire point about running vs. walking is irrelevent unless we talk specifics. There are too many generalizations in this sort of discussion -incline, distance, experience, training, natural ability - all factor into the equation. The fact that we are limited by our aerobic system, dictates the speed at which we cover ground. On a mountainbike, we simply reach for an easier gear when we get anaerobic. Since bipeds don't have a granny-gear, we walk. When this happens depends on the aforementioned factors. If we are talking about achieving a personal best, heart rate is the only way to gauge true effort & in some cases that means holding back (& walking if necessary).




    I'm not poo-pooing anyone, first of all. I think you must have misunderstood something I said. I never said someone should reach their potential in the very first race. Maybe another poster said something like that.

    What I mean with 'short-circuiting yourself right off the bat' is that some people early in their running careers, often following the advice of other supposedly seasoned ultrarunners, get it in their minds that they should always take it easy on hills and certain other kinds of technical terrain. They erect a mental wall that holds them back. I train with people who consider themselves avid runners. They are good friends, too. But we'll be out training and every time we come to a challenging hill, they stop and walk (in training!). They claim they want to be fast and to run well, but they have it in their minds that 'you should always walk the hills'. Other guys I train with, who have no more innate talent than these hill walkers, attack the hills in training. Guess who gets faster. Guess who is able to run most of those big, nasty hills on race day and get well under five hours.

    I hear that bogus piece of advice all the timethat you should just take it easy or even walk all the hills.<br /><br />As for your second paragraph, I agree completely, except that I would point out that you do have a running granny gear that is faster than walking. But sometimes you do just have to walk. This weekend at Stump Jump it was danm hot and I had to do a fair bit of walking. But I did push the hills early while it was cool and I pushed later in the race the best I could. The result was a top ten finish and I scooped up several places in the last stages of the race.<br /><br />Being smart in the short term means walking when it's absolutely necessary. At times like that, walking itself will feel difficult. Being smart in the long term (for an avid racer) means erasing presupposed limitations and learning to be strong on difficult terrain.<br /><br />--



    My Profile[/URL" target="_blank">

  • Currently Being Moderated
    34. Oct 10, 2007 7:07 PM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    anyone know a good diet to keep the acids at bay?

  • rustyboy Rookie 112 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    35. Dec 27, 2007 2:11 AM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    quote:


    Originally posted by exciton:



    I hear that bogus piece of advice all the time--that you should just take it easy or even walk all the hills.



    ...

    Being smart in the long term (for an avid racer) means erasing presupposed limitations and learning to be strong on difficult terrain.


     



    As far as "running and attacking all hills" goes, even for elites, like Jurek (from his Hardrock RR):

    +So up we go on this monotonous dirt road towards Governor Basin, mile 64, with Nate playing games to

    get me to run

    . “We’ll start running at that rock.” “We’ll run to that tree.” I think it’s still early in race to push, but Nate is motivating me. <br /><br />Also:<br /><br />I let out a holler to those that have come to catch me cross the creek, then make my way up the climb.

    I try to run, but manage a combination of running and walking.

    +

    His pace? A "blazing" 15:30 mn mile. Guess what that means? Yup. His downhills were (likely) 7-9 mn/mile, and his ups ranged between 12-20 mn/mile. Aka - walking.

    Scott is not an "avid" runner: He is arguably one of the finest 100 mile runners on the planet. And he walks when it gets tough. Even in "easier" races than Hardrock, like mudrunner said, Western States.


    [http://This message has been edited by rustyboy (edited Oct-11-2007).|http://This message has been edited by rustyboy (edited Oct-11-2007).]

  • dinkwod Rookie 13 posts since
    Feb 7, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    36. Dec 27, 2007 2:11 AM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    I think you guys are taking what exciton is saying out of context.  I'm sure Jurek runs plenty of the ups.  If you want to improve your race times then you should learn to run more ups.  If your satisfied with your performances then you can continue to walk the ups. Yes, your uphill aerobic capability can be improved with practice.  In part, it comes down to whether your goal is to race or to finish.

    [http://This message has been edited by dinkwod (edited Oct-11-2007).|http://This message has been edited by dinkwod (edited Oct-11-2007).]

  • exciton Rookie 317 posts since
    Nov 2, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    37. Dec 27, 2007 2:11 AM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    quote:


    Originally posted by rustyboy:
    * As far as "running and attacking all hills" goes, even for elites, like Jurek (from his Hardrock RR):

    +So up we go on this monotonous dirt road towards Governor Basin, mile 64, with Nate playing games to

    get me to run

    . “We’ll start running at that rock.” “We’ll run to that tree.” I think it’s still early in race to push, but Nate is motivating me. <br /><br />Also:<br /><br />I let out a holler to those that have come to catch me cross the creek, then make my way up the climb.

    I try to run, but manage a combination of running and walking.

    +

    His pace? A "blazing" 15:30 mn mile. Guess what that means? Yup. His downhills were (likely) 7-9 mn/mile, and his ups ranged between 12-20 mn/mile. Aka - walking.

    Scott is not an "avid" runner: He is arguably one of the finest 100 mile runners on the planet. And he walks when it gets tough. Even in "easier" races than Hardrock, like mudrunner said, Western States.


    [http://This message has been edited by rustyboy (edited Oct-11-2007).|http://This message has been edited by rustyboy (edited Oct-11-2007).][/B]





    I could easily turn this anecdote around to support my own ideas. In both cases he is talking about pushing the big hills as best he can (and running as much as he can). As for his WS times, which are run at under 10 minute miles, you can bet he is running all the hills that he can from start to finish.

    It just comes down to this: If you want to get fast, you have to learn how to push and you have to have the confidence that you can and will get stronger if you practice. If you resign to the hills from the very beginning, though, then don't expect too much in the way of improvement of race times in mountain trail running.

  • thr3ee Rookie 20 posts since
    Sep 12, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    38. Oct 11, 2007 2:10 PM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    I hate to jump in here and agree with exiton's controversial comments, but I think there are a few things he says that ring true and perhaps a view from a little further back in the pack will elucidate :-). Having short legs with big stump-like thighs, I am primarily a downhill runner. In fact, I can often keep up with people who are a lot faster than me on the downs, especially if things get technical.

    That said, I actually do more "running" on the uphills than most of the mid-packers around me. It may be partly due to the fact that my short stumpy legs are not great for power hiking, but I have also worked to perfect my slow, uphill shuffle-jog. It is definitely faster than a walk for me (though others may walk faster). However, I am convinced that it actually is less taxing for me, especially if I were to attempt to walk at a similar pace. The other thing it does is to make transitions easier. When I switch back and forth between walking and running as the terrain changes, I often have difficulty setting my pace appropriately after a transition. However, if I can maintain a gait that is more similar to a run up a steep hill, I find it MUCH easier to move into a run once I crest. I personally almost never walk hills in training runs especially if they are 20 miles or less. I either practice conserving energy uphill while still running or I push it uphill knowing that it will make the hills easier come race day. In fact, I would rather take a break at the top of a hill during a training run than walk up it.

    Finally, I have to say, that I do force myself to walk hills early in a race if the race is 50+ miles and hilly. However, I don't consider it as saving myself for the downhills as they use very different muscles if run correctly. I do it to save myself to be able to run UPHILL later in the race. I did my first 100 a couple of months ago and I was able to run all of the final 10-12 miles including some very steep uphills.However, I did do quite a bit of walking in the middle of the night.

    I'll leave you with the following conversation which was had between me and a biker who passed me near the end of a 50K race on a long steep hill:

    Biker: "Way to go! Everyone behind you is walking at this point."
    Me: "That may be, but everyone in front of me is running."

  • harryw Rookie 24 posts since
    May 29, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    39. Oct 11, 2007 2:33 PM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    quote:


    Originally posted by pushthepin69:

    anyone know a good diet to keep the acids at bay?


     



    what acids? lactic acids? there is no such diet.

  • thr3ee Rookie 20 posts since
    Sep 12, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    40. Dec 27, 2007 2:11 AM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    OK, and now to return back to the original topic of this thread about downhill running. Following is some cut-and-past of advice I gave on another thread on a different forum about a similar subject. Take it for what its worth:

    -<br /><br /> Downhill technique is definitely something you should read about, but also something you will need to experiment with yourself to really "feel" on different types of terrain. There are some universals like not leaning back and "breaking" with your heals as that will basically jar your knees. I am like Rick in that I use a short, quick stride, stay as perpendicular to the slope as possible and let gravity set my speed. However, I have practiced this for years and I am also a short, compact runner with big thighs. I know some of my taller, lankier friend's bodies simply won't let them move downhill the way I do (but, d**n, if I could keep up with their uphill power-hiking stride!). You will need to find what works for you and practicing on different types of hills is important. I run with different strides depending on whether the hill is moderately steep or really steep, has switchbacks or goes straight down, is rocky or is smooth, is singletrack or fire trail...you get the idea.<br /><br />...<br /><br />I'm not sure I can accept Beat's statement of me as a downhill "authority", but I do appreciate the sentiment. I always say that I simply did not come equipped with brakes so the only way for me to run the downhills without hurting myself is "all out" (I make up for it by being very slow at running anything else   !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|border=0!).<br /><br />One other technique that I can recommend to practice is something that I use on steep, wide fireroads. I will often weave back and forth as I run down the hill. Think about how you go down a hill when you are learning to snowboard or Rollerblade. You have to be willing to look a little silly and not mind a little extra distance to get down the hill. I also use this technique to slow myself down if I have gained too much speed and feel like I am getting out of control. Of course, doing this along with the raised arm method of "braking" means that I sometimes look (and feel) like a little kid running down the hill making like an airplane  !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|border=0!.<br /><br /><br />--



    -Steve
    http://mountain-man-steve.blogspot.com/[/URL" target="_blank">

    [http://This message has been edited by thr3ee (edited Oct-11-2007).|http://This message has been edited by thr3ee (edited Oct-11-2007).]

  • harryw Rookie 24 posts since
    May 29, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    41. Oct 11, 2007 2:37 PM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    also, please be aware that Steve's quads make up 2/3rds of his body weight!

  • exciton Rookie 317 posts since
    Nov 2, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    42. Oct 11, 2007 2:44 PM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    quote:


    Originally posted by thr3ee:

    I hate to jump in here and agree with exiton's controversial comments ...


     



    Yes, be careful. Your reputation could suffer irreparable damage!

  • Sarah108 Rookie 133 posts since
    May 10, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    43. Oct 11, 2007 3:29 PM (in response to waltrb)
    Re: Descending Tips

    One point that I have not seen mentioned in this discussion about uphill running is the fact that walking uphills represents critical time that should be used for EATING and DRINKING during the race.  Other than simply conserving energy, this is the single most important reason to walk at least some uphills.  I agree with the general notion that running more uphills should be a goal of training and racing, but it should never come at the expense of maintaining nutrition and hydration.

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