Friday, November 11, 2011

The "Woo Hoo!" Downhill Method

Me, doing it all wrong, even on
a small hill.
I've been struggling to run down hills since I switched form and began running with a mid-foot landing in minimalist shoes. Every time I attempted to run down hills, the pounding would simply destroy my knees, hips, quads, and self confidence. So, I went downhill slowly. Very, very slowly. You could walk downhill faster than I ran down hills. It was sad. But, it was easy on my old body, and that was good enough.

I had no intention of solving this problem. I was running just fine, even with the turtle paces going down the hills. But as Fall settled into my part of the world, and the trees began to blaze with oranges, reds, and yellows, I found myself very relaxed and happy while running my normal trail runs. Something about the beautiful Fall colors and the cooler air, seemed to trigger a change in my running.

I found new speed on hills I would have previously crawled down. And all I did was RELAX. Relax and move with the force of gravity. Legs at ease. Knees bent. Body leaning into the fall of the hill, instead of pulling backwards in tension - in fear.
My son, Ryan, relaxed and flying downhill.

My son, Alex, doing it the right way.

I've discovered that if I am able to yell "Woo Hoo!", and really mean it, while running downhill, then I am truly relaxed and flowing with the hill. And I fly!

(Possible next post, "How I Broke My Face Woo-Hoo'ing Down a Hill")