The term "hill training" can conjure up memories of gut-busting uphill intervals—those quad-killing, lung sucking workouts that leave athletes in dire need of a recovery day. The traditional uphill routine, however, has a more attractive counterpart: the downhill workout.
"While less popular than uphill training, including some downhill running can help muscles adapt better to the demands of downhill running, reduce delayed muscle soreness, and give you an advantage come race day when everyone tuckers out at the top of a hill," says Christine Hinton, a Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach based in Annapolis, Maryland. "You'll be ready to fly past everyone on the way down."
For races that feature loads of downhill sections, such as the Boston Marathon, it's particularly important for runners to prepare for the decline-heavy course. Downhill sections are especially trying on the quadriceps muscles and without the proper training can become fatigued quickly. The upshot? Downhill training today will give you greater power on race day.
More: How to Run Downhill
Practice Makes Perfect
Proper running form is important regardless of the terrain. And downhill sections are no exception. Folks who haven't practiced proper downhill-running technique often lean back to brake, lock their knees and stick out their legs. It's a recipe for an injury.