Joe Beer running uphill
Training > Run

Run technique advice for climbing and descending off-road

We look at why running on rough surfaces can trigger many training gains for triathletes, and how to make the most of it

Now that we've covered the benefits of running off-road, let's take a look at the specific techniques needed...

Technique: climbing

Step one

Run close to upright – the posture will aid your breathing. Keeping your head up and looking ahead allows you to change direction smoothly, so you can save oxygen and keep running efficiently:

Joe Beer running uphill

Step two

Drive your arms to set your breathing tempo and help you up the hill. An accentuated arm action lifts your body and helps you coordinate your legs. Keep your hands at the ready to push off things or scrabble up severe inclines:

Joe Beer running uphill

Step three

Test yourself to see how small slopes and changes in gradient can be dealt with – do they need to carefully paced or can they be powered over. The more you run on varying terrain the better you’ll become at adjusting your effort to meet the demands of the trail:

Joe Beer running off-road

Technique: descending

Step one

Look ahead to scan for your best route options. Where you’ve been is not important so keep looking forward. Adjust speed to match your alertness level – if you’re too tired to pay full attention, take it slowly:

Joe Beer running downhill

Step two

Keep light on your feet and use your arms and upper body to adjust your balance. Think of it like running in 3D, instead of simply going forward and back, and left and right, you’ll be moving sharply up and down. And to handle this you’ll need four-limb drive:

Joe Beer running downhill

Step three

Go back and re-trace your steps to see the various approaches you could have taken to get through technical sections. You can’t turn a nature trail into a tidy, consistent track but you can become more skilled at dealing with the inconsistencies you find along the way:

Joe Beer running downhill

(Images: Jonny Gawler)

For our guide to essential equipment for running off-road click here


 
 

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