The aim of this blog is to provide you with some simple tips to help improve your downhill running technique.

At the recent UK and Ireland Frontrunner’s meet near Aberystwyth, Wales, I decided to go full gas down a steep and muddy hill as a bit fun. The odds were always stacked against me to stay upright, and I didn’t disappoint with my tumbling skills – see photo series for evidence!

Despite the comical outcome, I surprised myself with how long I managed to stay on two feet. With this recent experience, it got me thinking about some simple tips that may help improve downhill running technique. Hopefully, the following three tips will be useful for those of you who don’t want to end up face-planting anytime soon:

    1. Try to maintain a short and fast cadence.
      A short and fast cadence should help you keep control as you descend. The aim is just to keep the feet moving fast, without too much thought about what the foot striking pattern looks like. If it feels natural and you’re not over-striding, just go with it.
    2. Use your arms for balance. 
      Getting your arms away from your body will help with balance when hurtling downhill. I tend to liken this to how monkeys use their tails for balance and weight distribution. Like the first tip, don’t worry about how it looks!
    3. Wear the right trail shoes for the conditions. 
      Different trail shoes are designed for different conditions. The most obvious difference is often in the size of the lugs on the sole of the shoe. For muddier conditions, bigger lugs are typically best, as seen on the GEL-TRABUCO 11. Wearing the right trail shoes will help you feel more confident when tackling downhill sections, which is always half of the battle in the first place.

Enjoy taking on the downhills at speed!


The GEL-TRABUCO™ 11 trail running shoe combines protection and comfort for a grounded trail run. It's a great all-round trail running shoe and is designed so you can explore the trails without holding back. And thanks to its extra cushioning, yo...

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Photo Credits: Andy Astfalck, Pete Stables, and Geoff Ridout. 

written by

Robert Mann

Postdoctoral Research Fellow from Exeter

Club: South West Road Runners / Exeter Triathlon Club
Coach: Phil Wylie

10k triathlon half marathon marathon Strength Training trail