Learn 2 Run: Week 7

Run: 2:00
Walk: 1:00

Week 7 and we reach the end of the 10 seconds of extra running.

If you’ve made it this far, you are in the top 50% of people I’ve instructed.  Generally, I will have lost half the class due to injury, time constraints, the program got too hard or they found out that running wasn’t for them and they drop out.  Usually it’s because they haven’t been doing the program consistently 3 to 4 times a week.

If you’ve made it this far, then the tough part is over.  Your body has and will continue to adapt and you are going to start improving noticeably week to week from this point.  Keep doing what you are doing. You have already figured out that consistency and the training habit are working it’s magic.

Running down hill… Simple isn’t it?  Or is it?   If you have been applying the running form that I’ve been instructing (upright body, head and shoulders back, relaxed arms, feet landing under your center of gravity), then the modifications in your form for running last week should make sense.  If you have put them into practice, you’ll find that going uphill, while not easy, isn’t that hard.

Running down hill should be easy after that, right?  Well, most people when running down hill, instinctively slow down, drop back to heal striking, feet landing in front of their center of gravity, effectively braking.

If you think about it, on a down hill the ground is dropping away from you, so it naturally pushes your landing zone forward, unless you modify it.  If you don’t modify it, you heal strike.

Proper down hill running technique on moderate hills entails you doing something not only counter intuitive, but totally opposite to what your body wants to do.  If you’ve been following me, you probably have already guessed it.

To go down hill the most efficiently, you lean into the down hill not away from it.

I repeat, lean down the hill not away from it.

Try this our yourself.  Pick an easy down hill, at the top lean, pushing the hips forward (not your shoulders).  Do not increase the effort or push your pace on the down hill.  Increase your leg turn (how fast your steps are) over to match your speed. Gravity will provide the force that will pull you down the slope. You will maintain a mid foot (neutral) landing zone or even be pushed forward to the balls of your feet.

Please note that if you are doing this technique correctly that it is going to feel extremely uncomfortable and even scary.  You’ll feel like you are going to fall on your face, but if you can keep the leg speed up, you’ll be fine.

This has always been my secret weapon on hilly roads and trail races.  The combination of spinning up hills so you don’t waste all your energy and are forced to recover at the top and then letting gravity pull you down on the other side will let you smoke the competition that tries to stay with you.  Form and technique will win out over brute strength almost every time.

This technique will take a lot of practice and patience.  When you do get it right, you’ll find yourself flying down hill with no effort, taking advantage of Mother Natures speed boost.

L2R Week 7 Workouts

  • Warm Up: 3-5 minutes of brisk walking.
  • Interval Training: 30-40 minutes
    • Run: 2:00
    • Walk: 1:00
    • Do exactly the interval times listed, slow down if you have to.
    • Practice good down hill technique on a few easy hills.
  • Cool Down: 3-5 minutes of brisk walking.
  • Stretch: 2 minutes

Learn 2 Run: Basics
Learn 2 Run: Week 1
Learn 2 Run: Week 2
Learn 2 Run: Week 3
Learn 2 Run: Week 4
Learn 2 Run: Week 5
Learn 2 Run: Week 6
Learn 2 Run: Week 7
Learn 2 Run: Week 8
Learn 2 Run: Week 9
Learn 2 Run: Week 10