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Training for downhill running can make the difference in Ultra Trail races and more, you can rank better different and, furthermore, protect yourself from injuries and inflammation.

There are various types of training for downhill running whose objectives can vary from the improvement of muscle strength and endurance to an increase of your ability to push hard.

A right mix of the different types of training will put you in a position to better manage fatigue during Ultra and Endurace Trails, allowing you to run downhill for a long time even in situations of challenging slopes and for many hours.

An innovative training session for running downhill is represented by the microcircuits. The microcircuits alternate, in sequence, uphill-downhill-flat phases in a trail track of 600-800 meters.

The athlete must maintain a constant Heart Rate (HR) (on average between 85 and 88%, more or less corresponding to your anaerobic threshold) in all phases, even during changes in the slope of the terrain.

Execution (example):

  1. 3-4Km warmup + 4-5 sprints of 10″ 
  2. 3 x 6′ or 3 x 8′ up to 3 x 15′ or 3×20′ for the most advanced and trained athletes
  3. The recovery phases between the fractions can be carried out in different ways such as 50% of the duration of the effort or 25% (for the most trained athletes) at a low intensity equal to that of jogging; or, in the case of Elite athletes, at an intensity of 75%.

Benefits obtained from heart rate monitoring and sessions:

  • Use of heart rate data to highlight strengths and weaknesses during the session
  • Ability to use a constant parameter (benchmark) to analyze your improvements over time
  • Field experimentation, useful for gradually memorizing the athletic gesture

If you feel ready, start training! Remembering to proceed step by step to allow your body to make the necessary adjustments.

More info about the downhill running technique? Read the Tips for Descent

Looking for info or other advice? Email us:

Do you train by yourself? Have a look at our Trail Running Guides: Training & Nutrition for Trail Runners

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Cristina Tasselli

Digital Strategic Marketing Director - certified Innovation Manager - in multinational companies, she is still today the only Italian female athlete to have ran 900 km and 55,000m D+ in the mountains in a single stage race (Transpyrenea 2016, 3rd women overall). She counts numerous Podiums and international Victories on races over 100k. She holds a SNaQ CONI certification as a Trail Running Coach, Athletic Trainer and in Nutrition and Sports Supplementation. Since 2014 she is President and sports executive of innovative technology startups and companies, including Trail Running Movement and Digital Sport 360. She trains elite trail running athletes and she teaches in trail running coach certification courses. She is an author of sports articles on training, nutrition and supplementation in trail running and running, both in Italian and in English and Spanish. She manages relationships and collaborations with Federations and Race Organizers.